Jonathan Chait

An Armey Of None


Dana Milbank catches Dick Armey attempting to lecture on American history, and brings his A game snark:

A member of the audience passed a question to the moderator, who read it to Armey: How can the Federalist Papers be an inspiration for the tea party, when their principal author, Alexander Hamilton, "was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government"?

Historian Armey was flummoxed by this new information. "Widely regarded by whom?" he challenged, suspiciously. "Today's modern ill-informed political science professors? . . . I just doubt that was the case in fact about Hamilton."

Alas, for Armey, it was the case. Hamilton favored a national bank, presidents and senators who served for life and state governors appointed by the president.

As a historian, Armey was all hat and no cattle. But at least he had a good hat -- a "downright stylish and manly" Stetson 200X beaver, which he donned for the audience.

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