“The small-government conservative movement,” asserts Dick Armey, “is about the principles of liberty as embodied in the Constitution, the understanding of which is fleshed out if you read things like the Federalist Papers.” The tea party honcho and former House majority leader was, of course, trying to ground the populist movement in one of our most important political documents. If only he had read it.
The problem with Armey’s interpretation at the National Press Club yesterday, writes Dana Milbank at the Washington Post, is that it is entirely wrong. Wasn’t author Alexander Hamilton “widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government?” an attendee asked. “Widely regarded by whom?" Armey huffed. “Today's modern ill-informed political science professors?” Yes. And those of yesterday, and yesteryear. Armey also called the Jonestown settlers “socialist.” In 1607? Why not? (Read more Dick Armey stories.)