Most of the posts I have written in the past about Dick Armey have revolved around his attacks on the social conservatives in the movement, starting back in 2006 when he blasted the Religious Right for trying to make things like the Ten Commandments and Terry Schiavo issues on which the GOP was expected to take a stand, with Armey lashing out at “[James] Dobson and his gang of thugs,” calling them demagogues and “real nasty bullies” and saying that “being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid.”
Needless to say, the attack did not sit well with the Religious Right, which lashed back at Armey and set off a fued that continued for years … until President Obama was elected and then the Tea Party leaders like Armey and social conservative leaders like Tony Perkins decided that they should all try to work together. But that truce tended to focus mostly on letting social conservatives sign on to Tea Party activism, and not with Tea Party leaders adopting the issues that social conservatives care about.
Given this history, you’ll have to forgive my amazement at the fact that Dick Armey is now suddenly touting the importance of abortion at an issue for Tea Party candidates:
When asked Monday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters about the possibility of a truce on social issues going into the presidential campaign, Mr. Armey said, “A truce? No. These are issues of the heart. People are not going to turn their hearts and minds away from things that they have so heartfelt.”
Armey, who served as House majority leader, added, “the fact of the matter is there is sort of a question of first things first priorities. If we lose this nation, if it falls into insolvency, then all of these issues pretty well fall by the wayside too, don’t they. So i think there is a setting of priorities.”
He specifically referred to the abortion issue. “Since President Obama has been elected, there has been extraordinarily high levels of funding for international abortions through what is called the Mexico City language. That fight hasn’t been had for a few years. Now that fight will be had with this majority,” he said, referring to his stated expectation that Republicans will win control of the House, and perhaps the Senate. He added, “these issues are too important to be left behind and they won’t be left behind.”
Presumably, Armey is trying to reassure the Religious Right that they still have a place in the conservative movement in order to quell their fears that the GOP is ignoring their issues.