In Health Battle, Dick Armey Rides Again

Ex-House leader strides back onto national stage over health care
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2009 3:10 AM CST
Then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey gestures during a speech at the Christian Coalition's ''Road to Victory 2000'' conference September 29, 2000 in Washington.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – This year's battle over health care reform feels like the early '90s all over again to Dick Armey. The former House majority leader and his FreedomWorks foundation have been at the heart of protests against the Obama administration, channeling conservative power in the same way the Christian right used to, Michael Sokolove writes in a detailed New York Times Magazine profile of the Republican.

Armey—who plans to carry the fight over to cap-and-trade—isn't shy of bucking the Republican establishment, Sokolove writes. In speeches up and down the country, he has been using his folksy style to push a hard-edged, libertarian-leaning message that Democratic initiatives are not just wrong-headed, but unconstitutional and un-American. "Armey understands that while the Republican brand has been damaged, most people in this country still lean center-right," one former Bush adviser says. "And he taps into the innate fear most Americans have about government activism and overreach."