The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.It resulted in this:
Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.
The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.It is remembered on the Tea Party side this way:
“There was a coup during the election, and it was powerful,” Beck said. “They were trying to get rid of the libertarian, Tea Party-minded power players, and first and foremost on that hit list was Matt Kibbe and his allies. They didn’t like the fact that FreedomWorks was cleaning house in the GOP…that they were targeting people like Orrin Hatch. It didn’t sit well with the Karl Roves of the GOP world…”This may explain why Dick Armey was willing to go on record making fun of the Tea Party and its lack of foresight during the shut down.
I will predict this: When they agree on a spending bill, it will speak not at all to Obamacare and it will be at budgetary numbers higher than the sequestration level. And so in the end, the Republican conference will lose ground on the budget, they will lose ground on health care, they will lose ground politically, and they’ll be in a worse position than where Boehner had them going into this process. And they’ll all blame Boehner, bless his heart.