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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"What makes Armey an effective advocate is how he uses his status as a learned professor and a plain-spoken man to deliver the message his audiences want to believe: that various Democratic initiatives are not just wrongheaded policy but also flagrant violations of the Constitution and affronts to traditional American values. In his telling, the Constitution is elevated to something like a sacred religious text, written by Christian believers, possibly divinely inspired and intended to be read in the most literal way. It contains solutions to any civic problem faced by modern Americans, including those brought about by the tangled health care system. To Armey, the Constitution is not a “living document” — a phrase he mocks at rallies, to laughs and great applause — and is in fact so straightforward and speaks so directly to this era that it’s reasonable to wonder why we need the nine justices of the Supreme Court to interpret it.

At the Harley dealership [where he was speaking to a large crowd of conservative activists], he emphasized that everyone must stay focused on the polestar, the nation’s essential document. “What should be your guide?” he said, pausing for a beat before shouting out the answer. “The Constitution. This ain’t no thinkin’ thing.”

From "Dick Armey is Back on the Attack", New York Times Magazine, Sunday, November 8, 2009

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