The Other McCain

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Dick Armey on Newt Gingrich: ‘Taking a Second-Rate Campaign and Turning It into a First-Rate Vendetta’

Posted on | February 5, 2012 | 30 Comments

The Hill has a short story based on what Dick Armey said today on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, but CNN sent me the complete transcript, so here’s more from the interview, excerpted to focus on Armey’s answers (Tony Perkins of FRC was also a guest):

CROWLEY: If you look at strong tea party supporters, South Carolina , Mitt Romney got 21 percent of these strong tea party support, but by the time we got to Nevada , it was 39 percent. He bested everybody in the field.
So my first question, as Mitt Romney’s support among tea party conservatives, among the very conservative, seems to be growing, and certainly is besting others in the race, could you — and let me start with you Congressman Armey, could you see your way clear to support a Mitt Romney nomination?
ARMEY: Well, first I’ve got to point out, South Carolina was an aberration because Newt Gingrich had — was likely to be in final analysis his best moment in South Carolina. Now the fact of the matter is we know we’re not going to get a…
CROWLEY: Do you think that Newt Gingrich is done in terms of the nomination, getting it?
ARMEY: I don’t think Newt will be able to replicate that magic moment he had in South Carolina, because he had a confluence of circumstances that came. And he had just one masterful moment where he transformed himself from perpetrator to victim, attacked the media, which, Candy, as you know, is always popular with our base, and just sort of took that momentary surge. But I think he has played that string out. Now in the meantime, Mitt continues to work along. The governor continues to work along at a steady pace, and we are left with a dilemma that we are not going to get a reliable, small government conservative out of this nominating process.
That’s why we’ve focused our attention on the House and Senate. Our notion is, we will get the legislative initiative coming out of a conservative-dominated House and Senate, we will build a legislative wall.
We’ll either be walling a Republican president in or walling a Democrat president out. But we will — our aim is to make the legislative initiative come from the House and the Senate, not wait upon the White House. . . .
CROWLEY: Congressman Armey, could you support Mitt Romney? Could you work for Mitt Romney . . .
ARMEY: Oh yes.
CROWLEY: . . . in whatever way you could be helpful?
ARMEY: If he gets the nomination, remember this, whoever is in the White House always is going to be drawn to his base. We would rather have a Republican president that’s not fully the guy we adore wanting our affections than a Democrat president who despises us and covets the affections of our mortal enemies on public policy.
So clearly it’s in the best interests to our policy objectives to support whatever Republican president might want to take the office and then seek our respect and admiration. . . .
CROWLEY: I want to play both of you something that Newt Gingrich said last night in the news conference he held after the results were in, in Nevada.

GINGRICH: If you can’t tell the truth as a candidate for president, how can the country possibly expect to you lead as president? And I frankly was stunned, I make no bones about this, in the second Florida debate, I had nothing to say because I had never before seen a person who I thought of as a serious candidate for president be that fundamentally dishonest and it was blatant and it was deliberate and he knew he was doing it.

CROWLEY: He being Mitt Romney. Congressman Armey, I know the party line is oh, this kind of primary, no matter how long it goes, it just strengthens us but I cannot believe that you believe that this sort of rhetoric aimed at Mitt Romney is at all helpful for you all in the fall.
ARMEY: I don’t think it’s helpful even to Newt. I feel bad for him. I think he’s digressed into a state of taking a second rate campaign and turning it into a first rate vendetta. And I think he’s putting himself out of the game because he can’t get over his obsession about his own hurt feelings over the campaign in Iowa . He needs to get beyond that and get to the nation’s people’s business, if he expects to have any chance whatsoever.
I thought that last night was really sad for him, and quite frankly, again, so much of Newt’s whole life is overstates. He overstates the case is in a hyperbolic fashion, it just looks vindictive. . . .
CROWLEY: OK. And Congressman Armey I am totally out of time, but I want to make sure I gave you a chance, was I correct in the way I described your relationship with Newt Gingrich because I sort of said it and left you. And I wanted to make sure, you’re not close friends, let’s put it that way.
ARMEY: Well we worked well together during the time we worked together. But you know I’m sure we both had disappointments in one another. But I think right now the question is, is Newt going to have an effective campaign that presents the best of his ideas for America , or is he just going to have a constant patter of attacking Romney.


30 Responses to “Dick Armey on Newt Gingrich: ‘Taking a Second-Rate Campaign and Turning It into a First-Rate Vendetta’”

  1. richard mcenroe
    February 5th, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    Gingrich Warns the World!

  2. richard mcenroe
    February 5th, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    As for Armey’s statement, THAT’S OUR NEWT!

  3. Serfer62
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    Say is this Establishment jerk the guy who claimed he started The Tea Party?

  4. Thomas L. Knapp
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    I can’t understand why the media is playing Nevada as some kind of huge victory for Romney.

    In 2008, when he was not the front-runner, he took 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties (Ron Paul won Nye) and 51% of the caucus vote.

    This year, as “inevitable front-runner,” he took only 14 counties (Paul won Nye again and added Esmeralda; Gingrich won Mineral) and 4x% of the vote.

    Five contests in, and in every state more than 5 out of 10 Republicans continue to say “not Mitt.”

    It’s still not looking like a very good November for the GOP.

  5. Drek
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    And Armey wouldn’t know anything about a vendetta?

    Nothing at all!

    It’s not like he’s trying to stick a shiv and repeatedly stick that shiv through Newt Gingrich’s bleeding carcass, nothing like that.

    That observation about vendetta from Dick Armey is what is commonly known as “projection.”


  6. Drek
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Meanwhile, from the guy that wasted everybody’s time with Herman Cain, and then went on a tirade against somebody for supposedly wasting everybody’s time by pushing Governor Rick Perry, {you know, that guy with the best job record in the country right now…} ———————— we’re STILL getting our time wasted with updates on the campaign that was NEVER going to go anywhere, that would be that of former Senator Rick Santorum.

    Isn’t it way past time for Santorum to give up politics altogether, take up his studies at whatever seminary of his choice, get himself ordained a Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, and then start moralizing to empty pews about the wonders and glories of the family?

  7. Edward
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:29 pm


    1. Dick Armey?  Really?  I’m supposed to get my “outraged!  now!” clues from Dick Armey?

    2. So.  How would Dick …. Armey … describe Romney’s attacks on Gingrich?  First rate campaign and turning it into a 5th rate vendetta?

    Frankly the more I hear from these tools the less impressed I am with Romney.  And that bar doesn’t have very much further to drop.

  8. Drek
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    Whenever I hear the name Rick Santorum anymore, ——— I immediately think of PEG LUKSIK!

    For those of you don’t know her, never heard of her, ——- she was a uniquely Pennsylvania problem, for she was a pro-life crank that that constantly stole votes from worth the while opponents of Democrats.  So, in all of her pro-life, pro-family, pro-smugly moralizing way, she accomplished NOTHING but helping Democrats.

    Santorum is Peg Luksik writ large!

  9. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

     I know exactly the kind of person you’re talking about, although I am not familiar with the name Peg Luksik. But I know her type all too damn well and I despise them. These are the kind of people that will campaign against any Republican that would allow an abortion even if the woman in question would most certainly die a painful death giving birth to a baby that would in all likelihood be born dead, for the simple fact it is lacking a brain.

    But I’m sorry, that’s just not Rick Santorum. Yes, he’s pro-life, without exception, maybe a little too much so for my tastes, but I just can’t see him as the Lupsik type. He has even been criticized for supporting Arlen Specter in gratitude for Specter supporting his own candidacy. If anything, Lupsik would probably oppose Santorum because of this and other things where he has shown he’s not quite enough like her.

  10. Guest
    February 5th, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    If you want to take your political cues from “Big” Dick Armey… it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  11. Anonymous
    February 5th, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    Good choice of handle there, perfectly summarizing your post.

  12. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

     He voted against Medicare Part D.  What did your guy do?

  13. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

     Are you new to American politics?  In multi-candidate races, the nominee usually only begins to get majorities once it’s clear he will be the nominee.  Here we have four candidates who will go as far as they can, two will certainly have the resources to go to Tampa with an active campaign.

    Unless you are familiar with the outstanding precincts in Nevada, it might be prudent to avoid drawing any conclusions from the current numbers.

  14. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

     I hereby call upon Stacy McCain to cease and desist forcing you to come here and read his posts so you can get your head back into its dark, cozy home.

  15. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    How about Victor Davis Hanson, then:

    Gingrich is the average person’s idea of what a very smart person should sound like.   Hanson is what a very smart person actually sounds like.

  16. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    After this, we’ll never have to hear of Newt Gingrich again, and that’s a good thing.  His dagger is thickly encrusted with the dried, caking blood from conservatives’ backs going back 20 years.

    For the saps who believe he’s a conservative, go read one of his speeches to the Toffler’s Institute.  He believes the information age means we must surrender some national sovereignty, and he’s just alright with that.  You’d never know some people have been fooled into thinking he’s a “true conservative” after reading some his drivel.  Or his books.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp
    February 5th, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    “Are you new to American politics?”

    “New” is relative. I’ve only been an activist in American politics for 20 years or so, but I’ve been following it for more like 30.

    “In multi-candidate races, the nominee usually only begins to get majorities once it’s clear he will be the nominee.”

    Romney got a majority in Nevada in 2008 when it wasn’t at all clear that he would be the nominee.

    And that is my point: Romney did worse in Nevada this year, when he’s already been crowned “frontrunner,” than he did back when he was the underdog versus McCain.

    “Unless you are familiar with the outstanding precincts in Nevada”

    I was unaware that there were any outstanding precincts in Nevada.

  18. Anonymous
    February 5th, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

    Huge difference.  Rick Santorum actually won elections in PA.

  19. Sunday Roundup 2/5/12 TOM BRADY Edition
    February 5th, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    […] Dick Armey on Newt Gingrich: ‘Taking a Second-Rate Campaign and Turning It into a First-Rate Vende… […]

  20. Dave
    February 5th, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    You realize that about a third of the votes are not counted yet, all of which are in a county Romney has 58% of the votes counted so far, right?

  21. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

     Adj-Please. Get over yourself. We get it. You’re for Romney. Evidently what you consider a “true conservative”. Forgive those of us, please, who aren’t quite as smitten with him as you are.

  22. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

    Yeah there are some, or were at least, but that’s almost not the point. What nobody seems to want to talk about is voter turnout. The GOP was expecting 70%. They got more like 40%. Maybe. So even if Romney got over fifty percent, hell even if he got over sixty percent, its still a piss poor showing for the GOP.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp
    February 5th, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    Um, no. That’s what I meant by “I was unaware that there were any outstanding precincts in Nevada.”

  24. Newt’s Narcissism Problem (and Ours) : The Other McCain
    February 5th, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    […] – Victor Davis Hanson, National ReviewSome commenters have been dogging me out over my negativity toward Newt’s campaign, but I insist that this is Newt’s fault, not mine — and I also say in my defense that […]

  25. Thomas L. Knapp
    February 5th, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    I suspect we’ll hear of, and from, Gingrich pretty regularly until some time after his funeral, regardless of whether he ever becomes POTUS or not.

  26. Bob Belvedere
    February 5th, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

    I think it’s a perfect handle, especially compared to the half-dozen or so others he uses.

  27. Bob Belvedere
    February 5th, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

    I get that feeling too.  Folks like Greta and Hannity like him too much [like they like Trump].

  28. Anonymous
    February 5th, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    Your boys are going down, Danny. I can’t stop it anymore. 
    Capt. Ross from Few Good Men

  29. richard mcenroe
    February 5th, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    We would rather have a Republican president that’s not fully the guy we adore wanting our affections than a Democrat president who despises us and covets the affections of our mortal enemies on public policy….”

    The trouble with Armey’s statement is that we have seen no evidence that Romney wants our affections and has enthusiastically embraced our enemies on public policy in the past.  As has Newt.

  30. K-Bob
    February 6th, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

    By Armey’s logic, then, no one should ever respond to negative ads and mudslinging.  Even though it’s been shown to work.

    OR maybe, somehow, he doesn’t see Mitt’s onslaught of negative ads against Newt as a vendetta?  Just good, clean politics, eh?

    Sounds about right for Romney-land logic.