Ex-House leader warns against defeatism

Jan. 22, 2004 at 10:01 PM
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ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey told a gathering of political activists Thursday that victory in November 2004 lies in their hands.

"The Democrats always get 110 percent of their vote out," the former Texas GOP congressman told UPI. "The only way a Republican president can not be elected is if our vote stays away" from the polls.

Armey wants the Republican leadership to be aware that issues like over-spending have political consequences, especially among the people whom the party needs to turn out if they are to maintain their majority.

"The conservative base has a proven track record of getting discouraged and staying away. They did that in 1992 and they did in 1998," Armey recalled.

"In '98 we almost lost the House -- and over what issue? The base was angry about what they saw as excessive, uncontrolled spending. In 1992 they were angry because of the tax increase," Armey said.

"There is a tendency of people, once they're in office, to believe that our base is made up of Tammy Wynette-lookalikes," Armey said, alluding to the singer's famous "Stand By Your Man" hit record.

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