As Norquist Tries to Kickstart Tea Baggery 2.0, Dick Armey Jumps Ship, Resigns As Head of Freedomworks

Translation: ‘Funding is about to dry up. I am out of here!’

Grover Norquist, the Republicans’ austerity czar, has issued a call to arms. It is time, he suggests, for tea baggers to get their tired old fat asses back up off their couches, dust off their poorly spelled, crypto-racist signs and hit the bricks again. The issue that will drive tea baggers into their patented spittle-spewing rage fits this time, Norquist claims, is Pres. Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy:

“Tea party two is going to dwarf tea party one if Obama pushes us off the cliff,” Norquist said on one of the Sunday shows last weekend. “Let’s not pretend who’s pushing us over the cliff.”

Meanwhile, in back in Realityville, there is no better evidence that the Koch brothers and other billionaire advocates of American oligarchy are done astroturfing tea baggery than the announcement that Dick Armey abruptly resigned as head of Freedomworks, the billionaires’ lobbying group:

In a move not publicly announced, former Rep. Dick Armey, the folksy conservative leader, has resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, one of the main political outfits of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party…

Armey … tendered his resignation in an memo sent to Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, on November 30. Mother Jones obtained the email on Monday, and Armey has confirmed he sent it. The tone of the memo suggests that this was not an amicable separation… Armey demanded that he be paid until his contract ended on December 31; that FreedomWorks remove his name, image, or signature “from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter”; and that FreedomWorks deliver the copy of his official congressional portrait to his home in Texas.

“The top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive, and I thought it was time to move on with my life,” Armey tells Mother Jones. “At this point, I don’t want to get into the details. I just want to go on with my life.”

Read: “Funding is about to dry up. I am out of here!”

In the email, Armey indicated that he wants nothing to do with FreedomWorks anymore. He asked that all user names, passwords, and security-related data created in his name be emailed to him by the close of business on December 4. He even insisted that FreedomWorks—”effective immediately”—was “prohibited” from using a booklet he authored. Was Armey’s resignation a reaction to the recent election results? “Obviously I was not happy with the election results,” he says. “We might’ve gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction. But it isn’t that I got my nose out of line because we should’ve done better.”

Armey declined to specify his disagreements with FreedomWorks. Asked if they were ideological or tactical, he replies, “They were matters of principle. It’s how you do business as opposed to what you do. But I don’t want to be the guy to create problems.”

Yeah, right. It was Armey who jumped out ahead of the tea party parade back in 2009, and among others, drove it to a sweeping victory in the 2010 midterms.

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