April 15th, 2010
08:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Armey warns against third party politics

Former Majority Leader Dick Armey said Thursday that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with.
Former Majority Leader Dick Armey said Thursday that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with.

Washington (CNN) - Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey said Thursday that the Tea Party movement won't be fading away any time soon.

"I think they're already a force to be reckoned with," Armey said in an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "They have maintained a very consolidated commitment to the big issues of our time."

But the FreedomWorks chairman warned there would be consequences for conservatives if third-party Tea Party candidates siphon votes away from Republicans in 2010.

"In New Jersey, if you take a look at the third party candidate in that race, that candidate had polling numbers going into the election week, that had they met on election day, would have assured a re-election of the incumbent liberal Democrat," he said.

Asked to reflect on 1994, when he helped usher in an era of Republican majorities in the House, Armey said GOP successes were owed in large part to the "Contract for America" and a feeling of unease with the Clinton administration.

And he warned that the same feelings are on the rise again.

"It was a year of massive anxiety on the part of the voters at large. And they were looking at the Clinton administration saying, 'Oh, my goodness. What are they going to do to my country?' That level of anxiety today while the same is larger than it was with the Clinton presidency," he said.

Armey added that House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor are the right leadership team to guide Republicans heading into November.

"This is not the leadership team that broke your heart three years ago," Armey said. "Those folks are gone. So you need to probably be a little more generous in giving these guys a chance to - to demonstrate where they are."


Filed under: 2010 • JKUSA • John King USA • Tea Party movement
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    No need for a third party – just cleanup the Republican party – all those fence sitters need to go along with all the demon-craps.

    April 15, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What a buffoon this guy is! The GOP is in shambles, I LOVE IT!

    April 15, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. guy from NM

    That is all the republicans want from the tea party: vote. Just paying lip service to them like all the other politicos on the right. And yes Boehner and Cantor will be burying them even deeper

    April 15, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Gil

    At 18% of the mostly republican party of NO they are just sore losers and are going to still be a part of the far right nut case vote for republicans. If not they will destroy the party. Which sounds fine to many!

    April 15, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. John Seiling

    Check out the forest from the trees:
    We have a great rivalry between political parties whipped up by 24 hour news and c-span congressional coverage. It’s like a game similar to the Ohio State vs Michigan football rivalry. However, in spite of polls showing people upset and angry with their government, the real facts show that the people’s confidence in their government is extremely high. Perhaps higher than at any time in the last half century as evidenced by low interest rates.

    Through out history the measure of a nation’s citizen’s confidence in their government is reflected in the people’s confidence in their government’s currency. Through out the world, America’s currency is respected and sought after. People value American dollars. We are like a family having an argument, but we are not even considering a divorce. We just like to argue much like sports fans. Politics has become a sport in America, but don’t be misled. Americans believe in and like their country and their democracy.

    April 15, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Navy Vet

    Remember at the beginning the tea partiers swore up and down how their movement was a bipartisan effort that supported smaller government and lower taxes?

    Not any more, if it ever truly was. It has been hijacked and you can't tell the difference.

    The tea party movement has become nothing more than an extension of the GOP, period.

    April 15, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. jbakaregit

    Let me get this straight, he promotes tea parties, which they say is separate from the GOP. And in the next breath, warns that these same parties putting up candidates of their own (i.e. NY-23 congressional election) will hurt the GOP.

    What should be clear then is that the same people who fund & work for the GOP also fund & work for the tea party, which makes the tea party the GOP base.

    The GOP (and the pep-rally station Fox Noise) created this monster and can't control it now. It has a life of its own and is turning on its master and causing problems for it. Sowing and reaping.

    April 15, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Dano

    I'll bet you are scared to death that the tea baggers will field their own candidates, aren't you Dickey-boy? There is no way any person affiliated the the tea party will ever vote for a Democrat, but any candidate they offer will syphon votes away from your group, dont you think? You'd better get this bunch of malcontents into the fold and quickly or the GOP will have a bleak future for sure.

    April 15, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    It's up to the GOP whether there's a third party.

    The GOP is shrinking or, at best, just barely holding on; the Tea Party is growing. Unless the GOP quits harping on internally divisive issues like abortion and starts concentrating on things common to all conservatives, they're going to drive the Tea Parties away and lose any chance they might have of taking back Congress in November.

    April 15, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Greg

    At least the useless John King brought on the true face of the teabaggers. Grassroots my behind. This was started and is funded by the the man who's goal is to see the health care industry take your paycheck. Man doesn't get any lower than Dick Army. Wake up people. You complain about your taxes? Look at your paycheck again. Health Insurance takes more than the federal government. When will the uneducated teabaggers realize this. Let me repeat. More of your paycheck goes to Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield etc... than the federal government.

    April 15, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. RTB

    He here goes again.

    Old Dickie Boy is delusional.

    The Tea Party movement is partly a group of misinformed citizens.

    But for the most part they are sour grapes Republicans like himself who could care less about what is good for this country.

    April 15, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Michael

    Its unfortunate that the tea party activist who revolted against the democrats in the 90s made the economy stronger with budget surplus,untill republicans took over and put this country and the world in,unprecedented finanial catastrophy. The democrats are physically resposible. Americans are wiser now than before. The tea party is full of racist,hatred people treating the life of the innocent people.

    April 15, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. Nini

    This independent is very impressed by the TeaParty.

    April 15, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. Marty, FL

    Fall in line tea partiers! The GOP expects you to be obedient followers.

    Just ignore the leaked memos showing how these Republicans are only using tea partiers to "be a little more generous in giving" $$$

    Don't do the research to uncover the lies behind Dick Armey's rhetoric...Cantor was definitely part of their leadership 3 years ago: Chief Deputy Republican Whip, the highest appointed position in the Republican caucus since 2002. Boehner was also part of the heartbreaking as House Majority/Minority Leader since 2006.

    Oh, but the GOP wants you to believe the party has somehow miraculously changed. Give me a break.

    April 15, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  15. Bill

    Another Dick from Texas.

    April 15, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. Aspen Professor

    Dicky - Lets hope you are right and that the Tea Party gives the right-wing controlled Repubs a shove down the toilet of history.

    April 15, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Reggie from LA

    Congratulations Mr Armey. You've purchased yourself a just a passel of roaming nonsense who are very effective at convincing folks that they've somehow lost America. Where'd it go?. Quite the puppet master, I must say. If the party is so grassroots, why do the shills have to travel around? The grass ought to just pop up wherever you want to put on a show because so many people are in support of your ideologies. Or do they have to be riled up? I'll bet if you'd cut out that travelin' roadshow it would dissipate. Can't have that now can we?

    April 15, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Mickey, NY

    Get a clue, DICK...Boehner and Cantor are just like all GOP politicians. They are domestic terrorists.

    April 15, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. rethugliKKKLAN

    They are in the minority let's make sure they stay there.3 years ago that mean we should forgot about what they did and put these idiots back in power. The majority of these idiots are still in office so this november we're gonna make sure that they're extinct for real

    April 15, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  20. Richard Marks

    The Tea Party movement is not about a THIRD party; it is about a two party system. What we have now is a one-party system – just one poisonous snake with two heads. There is not one thin dime's worth of difference between Republicrats.

    April 15, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Dick Army now has his own Army of anxiety fear based worriers !

    No wonder he went into lobbying !
    Why can't the great Republican party have leaders that do more then just blow hot air!

    April 15, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. JR

    They're a force for the republicans to recon with, does the GOP turn it's back on long time republican moderates and embrace radicals that would destroy the country or do they fight back against the baggers? We all know what they'll do, they're gutless and will cave, thereby handing their party over to nuts and crazies that the independents won't support. Democrats WIN!!!!

    April 15, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  23. liz the First

    'a force to be reckoned with.' actually, it's a fundraising force of the republican party, and that's all they intended Dick Armey's Dick Army to be. they're devolving into fascist goon squads. they do not represent the majority of Americans, thank God!

    April 15, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  24. m smith

    Anxiety, fear and hate . Thats what this group runs on. Scare the older people into thinking they will loose retirement money and health benifits and keep telling younger people they are loosing their freedoms. If you let these nut jobs take hold you will loose your freedom and have to cow to their adgenda . which is less taxes for the rich more freedom for big business to run over it's employees. No health care for 30 million people. No seperation of church and state. The religious nuts will tell you what you can and can't teach in school. Creationism will be the law Free speach will only work if you argee with them and we will be at war with half the world before they are through. Abortion will be banned and gay's and Lesbians will all have to go back in the closet or be stoned by these crazies. Only guns booze and screwing around on your legally married partner will be tolerated. People of color any color will have to revert back to pre 1950 standards.

    April 15, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Now that you have "astroturfed" the redneck racists, your afraid you will not be able to control them?

    So now your afraid they will not support the same RINO's the cons have been raling against this whole last year?

    Perhaps if the republikkkans had not become the "christian cabal" militia group, you would be able to herd the sheep a bit better.

    As it is, they want "real" con values, you know, no blacks in the White House, other than as paid help.

    April 15, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
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