Dick Armey and Cokie Roberts Make a Fool of Arianna Huffington
Liberal internet publisher Arianna Huffington on Sunday went on ABC's "This Week" to spout some of her typical left-wing nonsense about the significance of the previous day's Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally in Washington as well as what a Republican victory on Election Day means.
Fortunately, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and ABC's Cokie Roberts were there to refute her inanities (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Let me go to Dick Armey, who is joining us from New Orleans. Dick Armey, thank you for joining us. You obviously a big supporter and organizer of the Tea Party. Do you think that there's anything wrong with common sense and civility? Because a lot of people have said that the Tea Party is really helping the extreme end of the spectrum.
DICK ARMEY: No, obviously we need civility. I agree with George Will. You don't be confused between having sharp and sincere differences of opinion and being civil with one another.
I thought yesterday was a fun day. I was quite amused at watching these very important national comics stand up and decry with such sincerity that which they do every day on their shows. And, you know, I said -- I thought it was so remarkable, I want you all in America to quit acting like we do on our show every night with our militant vilification of everybody with whom we have a disagreement.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Actually, Dick, I don't know when was the last time you watched the show, but that's precisely what they are not doing. And I would highly recommend -- I'll send you a reel of their last good shows just to see how they don't do that.
What they vilified in a civil, reasonable way, was the fact that the media have stopped being what they call -- what Jon Stewart calls (ph) the unity (ph) of our democracy, and that is something that goes back to Jefferson. That--
HUFFINGTON: One second, Dick. What we choose to do with our magnifying glass in the media matters. If we only magnify the extremism, that's going to be amplified.
AMANPOUR: Let me turn to --
ARMEY: And I am so certain that makes all the sense in the world to you, Arianna. But the rest of us don't believe it.
Fortunately, that was just the beginning, for a few minutes later, Amanpour asked Armey another question:
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask Dick Armey, though, because obviously some of the candidates that you're supporting are challenging the establishment. That's the whole point. And former Republican Leader Trent Lott has said that once the election is over, we have to co-opt the Tea Party. Is that going to happen?
ARMEY: Well, I think the paradigm shift that you see, for too long the American people have said we're tired of having Washington squabbling with one another and telling us what we're going to get. We have decided to assert our citizenry, be involved, and tell Washington what we require of them and what we must have or they will lose their jobs. This is a great day where America is returning to its foundation root of the citizenry telling the government what we will tolerate from you, what we expect from you and what we require from you. It is an enormous return to the foundation roots of this great country.
HUFFINGTON: Dick Armey is making the mistake that a lot of people are going to make on Tuesday night, which is over-interpreting the results. This victory by Republicans, which I fully expect -- I fully expect them to take over the House -- does not mean that the nation is rejecting Democrats and affirming Republicans. It means that they are rejecting the way our institutions are working, that they have deep mistrust of all establishment, that basically our system has not worked for them.
Roberts was having none of this:
COKIE ROBERTS: We hear this every time we have a president of one party and a Congress of the same party. The people in that party say, oh, this isn't a rejection in the midterm election. And it is, of course, a rejection.
ROBERTS: A midterm election is a referendum on the president.
ROBERTS: That's what it is.
HUFFINGTON: -- positive view of Republicans is to (inaudible).
AMANPOUR: How did the Democrats --
ROBERTS: It is a disaffirmation of Barack Obama.
HUFFINGTON: Absolutely, I said that. But this is not an affirmation of Republicans or a smaller government or of cutting spending, all this stuff that Dick Armey wants you to believe it is. It is not.
ROBERTS: Well, certainly the polls say people want smaller government and cutting spending.
Indeed. Nicely done, Cokie.
Now, for dessert, George Will moments later explained for what seems the millionth time why gridlock isn't a bad thing:
AMANPOUR: George, Senator Cornyn pretty much told us that they didn't expect to win the Senate. Made some news here.
GEORGE WILL: Doesn't matter, though, because if Mitch McConnell has 48 senators, he will always have 41 senators for whatever he wants to have 41 for.
Let me just say this. The Republican Party is being told to be the party of no. No more stimulus spending. No cap-and-trade. No card check. None of this other stuff. Gridlock is not an American problem. It's an American achievement. The framers of our Constitution didn't want an efficient government; they wanted a safe government. To which end they filled it with slowing and blocking mechanisms. Three branches of government, two branches of the legislative branch, veto, veto override, supermajority, judicial review.
(CROSSTALK) ROBERTS: And we added to that the partisan rate (ph) so that we not only have institutional gridlock, we have partisan gridlock, which the voters overwhelmingly voted for.
WILL: What I'm saying, Cokie, is that when we have gridlock, the system is working.
ROBERTS: No, I understand, I understand that.
Now THAT'S entertainment!