Dick Armey Is Living The American Dream of Getting Paid Millions To Not Do Anything

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Dec. 26 2012 11:42 AM

Dick Armey Is Living The American Dream of Getting Paid Millions To Not Do Anything

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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 02: Former U.S. Representative Dick Armey speaks at 'Tea Party' a panel discussion at the 2010 New Yorker Festival at DGA Theater on October 2, 2010 in New York City.

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images the New Yorker

Amy Gardner has a great piece on how Dick Armey tried to seize control of FreedomWorks but ended up losing out and getting paid off by a top-dollar donor to leave and let Matt Kibbe and the donor run things.

The only criticism I have of the article is the that she says that "by nearly all accounts, including from those loyal to him, Armey handled his attempted coup badly." But look at the outcome. Instead of the pain-in-the-ass job of running FreedomWorks, Armey now has $8 million and zero responsibilities. That's a pretty sweet outcome. It's wrong to look at the political advocacy game as a 100 percent cynical undertaking—genuine passion and idealism is the fuel that makes the whole machine run—but you should be at least a little cynical about it. Armey's 72 years old and has no prospect of regaining the level of real world political influence he had in the late 1990s. A huge retirement payoff is exactly what he needs. Matt Kibbe is younger and his influence level and prestige are on an upward trajectory, institutional and financial backing is what he needs. Armey took a dispute in which there was some chance of him ending up with nothing, and ended up with a sack of money far larger than anything most people will ever see. He did pretty well.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.