Judas? Former House majority leader and leading figure in the tea party movement Dick Armey suggests that Republican candidates should avoid identification with the movement. Armey heads FreedomWorks, a nonprofit group that advocates “Lower Taxes, Less Government, More Freedom“. He is described as “a leading voice of the Tea Party movement.”
Politico gives the details of remarks by Armey made at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. Though the dust-up between Armey and Keith Olbermann is titillating, the practical aspects of his campaign advice are most relevant to Virginians. Candidates running on a one-trick philosophy take a risk of utter embarrassment when they allow themselves to be taken off script. Generally, tea-party backed candidates are vulnerable to scrutiny by members the media who have not shared the kool-aid. He suggested that local media and Fox News are more a suitable environment for “conservatives.”
“Fox News for many of us, we believe is more accurate and reliable than most news most of the time, and we are quite comfortable (and) enjoy when we’ve given interviews there.” – Dick Armey
Armey’s advice will not sit well with Virginia partiers. But it acknowledges the fact that the set of voters who identify with these “patriots” are on the fringe of the electorate and is finite. The problem for Republicans is how to keep them in the fold without identifying with them. They represent the margin between failure and success in some districts. Alienating them is as risky as embracing them.