Armey in Iowa pushing politicians to tackle “big” issues

Former US House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s in Iowa today, due to speak this evening at an event hosted by Iowans for Discounted Taxes.  Armey called in to the Radio Iowa office earlier this afternoon, joking when I answered the phone that "I was about half-scared to dial" when he saw the digits "1984" at the end of our number.  I assured him it was not Orwellian, but 282-1984 was Gary Hart’s 1984 Iowa campaign phone number.  (Radio Iowa started in 1987, and we were assigned the Hart digits.)

Armey has this new FreedomeWorks group (an off-shoot of Citizens for a Sound Economy) that’s targeting politicians, through the voters.  Armey’s here to encourage Iowans to pester presidential candidates on domestic issues like tax cuts, the fixes for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, and how to cut federal spending.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story about it all.

At the end of the interview, I asked Armey what his advice might be for Republicans who currently control congress since he used to have that job.

"Well, I think they have to get back to the fundamentals of who we are as a party.  We’re a party that stands for freedom.  We’re for a strong, free America leading in the nation with respect to other nations and restraint in terms of our own activism in international affairs, but still a positive influence and I guess my advice to Republicans in all things is when we’re like us we win and when we’re like them we lose."

Armey, a former economics professor at a Texas college, was a main author of the "Contract with America" that helped Republicans seize control of congress in 1994.  He was elected Majority Leader by his GOP colleages in 1995 when the Republicans took control and "The Hammer" took his place in 2003 when Armey retired.  Armey was there for the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, which sort of came up when I mentioned Hart.  "You know it’s amazing to me that Hart got fried for one photo of a girl on a boat and Clinton comes back later and gets away with everything under the sun," Armey said.  "It’s just amazing. I always said Clinton was the luckiest guy I ever knew in politics."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.