Here’s another instance of Dick Armey’s egregious lying — straight from the Talking Points oppo research department.
As described on this web page (and more exhaustively in a February 21st, 1995 article in the Washington Post) Armey used to pepper his speeches with a cloying tale a mildly retarded university janitor who lost his job and got tossed onto food stamps because those heartless congressional Democrats went and raised the minimum wage.
Turns out there never was a Charlie. Armey made the whole thing up. As James Carville said a couple years later, “if a man is willing to lie about a retarded janitor, what would he tell the truth about?”
P.S. Special thanks to the member of the TPM oppo research department that clued me in to this gem.
I’m not saying he’s responsible for what’s happening. There have been numerous concrete factors leading to this downturn — energy prices, trillions pulled out of the economy by the burst stock market bubble, ill-considered interest rate hikes last year.
But there’s almost no way to figure that the president’s promiscuous pessimism hasn’t further depressed the quickly dropping rate of consumer confidence. (This column by Paul Krugman gives a good run-down of the delicate competition of forces now operating in the economy — and, implicitly, how susceptible the economy may be to small influences, even to the president’s jaw-boning.) Bush’s influence may be a major cause of the problem or a minor one — we can’t really know. What’s significant, though, is that he’s making the situation worse in order to fulfill the short-term political goal of generating support for his tax cut.
Presidents’ soothing words in times of economic difficulty may not have much effect. But when a president throws gas on the fire he takes on a certain responsibility for everything that happens afterward because he was part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. And we can’t really know how far his malign influence has spread.
The fact that we can’t know how much damage his recklessness has caused doesn’t obsolve him, it implicates him.
Doesn’t this self-serving recklessness suggest a character flaw, a lack of seriousness, some failure of judgement?