Back in 2006, Marvin Olasky of World magazine was one of the few conservative Christian evangelicals willing to criticize Ralph Reed, then a candidate for lieutenant governor, for his involvement with Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Today, Olasky has a Q&A with former U.S. House majority leader Dick Armey, whose group FreedomWorks is a major financial backer of the tea party movement.
Armey alleges that there was some moral – or immoral – collusion between President Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the U.S. House and a Georgia congressman.
Update: Gingrich was at a Gwinnett County rally this afternoon for Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal. He told my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin that he was aware of Armey’s comments. “It’s just not true,” Gingrich said.
An excerpt of the Armey interview:
Olasky: What went wrong in 1994 after Republicans won Congress by pledging to “restore bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives”?
Armey: We went from trying to balance the budget to using the budget as a pork barrel. We went from entrepreneurs to bureaucrats, from the great ideas to the selfish ideas. But I also refine my understanding-there are two kinds of bureaucrats: benign bureaucrats and malevolent ones. The benign bureaucrat was Denny Hastert. He meant no harm to anybody. He just wanted life to be easy.
Olasky: And the malevolent bureaucrat?
Armey: A malevolent bureaucrat is a power maximizer: I’m in business for myself, and willing to do harm to other people to get what I want, for me. Tom DeLay….
Olasky: In 1998 during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a reporter asked you what you would do if you were in President Clinton’s position. You’re said to have replied, “I would not have gotten a chance to resign. I would be lying in a pool of my own blood with Mrs. Armey standing over me saying, how do I reload this thing?” True?
Armey: True. By the way, she outshoots me with a handgun and knows how to reload it.
Olasky: Who did know?
Armey: When I heard that Newt had been carrying on an affair for all the years that we’d worked together, I went home and said, “Honey, I had no idea about this.” She said, “Of course not. You’re the last person in town Newt would have wanted to know about this.” Newt was scared of me. What I discovered: Clinton found out about the Gingrich affair and called Newt over to the White House for a private meeting between the two of them. Clinton said, “You and I are alike.” Which meant, shut up about Monica or I’ll start telling your story.
Olasky: Was it blackmail or bonding?
Armey: Newt and Clinton actually developed sort of a bond over it. They had many meetings that we didn’t know about where they’d drink wine and smoke cigars and talk about their girlfriends. It’s fascinating; why would you confess to your mortal enemy what you wouldn’t tell your closest friends?
Olasky: Why did he?
Armey: Politicians are fascinating. If you ever want to do developmental psychology, use them. They are much, much, much more skillful at developing rationalizations than developing rational thought.
Olasky: Is the psychology, “I’m important, I’m getting adulation, I can do what I want?”
Armey: It’s a prudent thing for a man to know his limitations, but when you’re in a position of authority like public office, it’s a moral imperative. There wasn’t a lobbyist in town who didn’t laugh at my jokes: How in the world did I get so funny? I’m amazed at how little introspection I see from privileged people.