There was a time that we had at least the appearance of leadership in Congress. Today’s candidates for office, and the congressional field itself, leaves a bit to be desired, as America’s first foreign president rides roughshod over our liberties.
From time to time, I lament this or that politician leaving office, because they seem, well, decent. We could use more decency in Washington.
So it was that I slightly wondered why Dick Armey, R-Texas, retired in 2003, having served as House majority leader. I liked a lot of his positions, and he never seemed hesitant to stand up for what he believed.
After reading “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto,” I think I know why Armey is no longer in Congress: He can do more good out of it.
Away from the corrupt confines of Capitol Hill, Armey is able to fill the role of citizen-patriot, and his vast knowledge of our country, and his experience, make him one of the chief spokesmen for the tea-party movement. Written with economist Matt Kibbe (also CEO of FreedomWorks), “Give Us Liberty” is a fair comparison to those firebrand papers published by our Founding Fathers.
While liberals have heaped scorn on the tea party, Armey and his army are undeterred; he writes succinctly: “We are a new and permanent force in American politics.”
Perhaps the most fascinating chapter in a fascinating book is “Bailout.” The authors make so secret of their disdain for the machinations in 2008, orchestrated by the Democrat Congress and the White House. Interestingly – correctly – they note that it was President Bush’s government expansion and bailout package that provided the “fuel” for the tea party, putting the lie to the assertion that the movement is somehow the brainchild of Republicans.
Armey and Kibbe make it clear the current dueling parties in Washington are not part of the solution.
There is an interesting bit of detail in “Bailout,” illustrating the disaster that then-candidate John McCain brought about by giving his stamp of approval to the bailout: “This unconstitutional abomination has since morphed into a many-tentacled monster, devouring two of the big three American auto companies and blurring the once bright line between good and bad financial institutions.”
And if you still wondered whether the president and his cabinet had your best interests at heart, half-cover your eyes before reading this: “The treasury secretary first funneled money directly to small and large banks and other institutions such as insurers and consumer lenders. Then he shifted the bailout’s entire approach from purchasing assets to purchasing equity ownership stakes in troubled institutions.”
If that sounds sinister, that’s because it is sinister.
“Give Us Liberty” is actually a quick read, but the authors don’t waste a word getting crucial points across. In Chapter 7 (“Why We Must Take over the Republican Party”), Armey and Kibbe lay-out a powerful case that the “alternative” to the Democrats is not much of an alternative at all.
First, they assert that the political elites in this country fundamentally don’t understand what the tea party is and is not (“It is leaderless. No particular nominee, no executive director, no national chairman is in charge of this party. How this all works is literally lost on the cognoscenti of the Beltway establishment.”).
Besides pointing out the primary problems in language anyone can understand, the authors of “Give Us Liberty” also explain how we got into this predicament – just one example is the influence of so-called “progressives” who influenced both FDR and Lyndon Johnson to re-distribute wealth through the New Deal and Great Society.
Well, the country can literally no longer afford that. It’s time for the people to get back to the business of monitoring the governing bodies closely so that American ingenuity can reign supreme again.
In the book’s appendix, “FreedomWorks Grassroots Activism Toolkit,” there is invaluable information for everything from organizing a tea-party protest to the use of social media and fundraising. As in other parts of the book, there are also spotlights on individuals, such as activist Bob MacGuffie, who successfully organized town hall encounters in which real Americans challenged the talking points of Washington elites.
Such extraordinary examples will absolutely energize readers of “Give Us Liberty” and set off a chain reaction response to Washington that will thunder in Obama’s ears: “Yes, we can!”