I was reading the first page of this article on Poor Widdle Rich Boy Dick Armey’s being booted as chief mouthpiece for the FreedomWorks piece of the Big-Business-financed Astroturf called “the Tea Party” when this passage stopped me cold:
It was 1983, and Dick Armey needed a new job. He had once been happy at North Texas State University, whose faculty he had joined in 1972. He began economics classes by reciting: “Armey’s Axiom Number One: The market’s rational; the government’s dumb.” He spun dry academic concepts into engaging lessons—using, for example, Al Capone’s crime syndicate to explain market-sharing cartels. Students voted Armey their favorite professor.
By the early 1980s, though, North Texas State’s campus in Denton was growing increasingly liberal and politically correct, and Armey felt out of place. “I had to get out of there,” he says.
So Dick Armey says “political correctness” drove him from academia to politics. Is that his euphemism for the fact that a growing number of female students were complaining about what they considered his grabassery and the fear that he would not grade their papers fairly if they didn’t submit to his advances?
From Miriam Rozen’s 1995 Dallas Observer article on the subject (h/t Salon):
Susan Aileen White, who earned her master’s in economics from North Texas in 1976, says she took offense at what she regarded as Armey’s inappropriate behavior with female students. Armey often flirted with undergraduate women before and after class, she says. Two other economics graduate students at the time, Anna Weniger, now an economist for the New Mexico legislature, and Anne Marie Best, now an economics professor at Lamar
University, echo those complaints.
Weniger is now the mother of two. But at the time she studied at North Texas, she was an attractive single woman in her early 20s. She had contact with Armey as a graduate student in the economics department. She recalls that Armey’s behavior toward her was “inappropriate.” She says she does not remember the details of what Armey said or did. But she left the university for several months beginning in the spring of 1976, partly because of Armey’s behavior. (She also says she was distraught because her father was ill and her parents were going through a divorce.) Her mother confirms that her daughter left school abruptly, citing problems she had with a “Professor
Armey,” and considered not going back. Weniger recalls she complained to a fellow student about Armey. The colleague conferred with a professor in the economics department, Bullock Hyder, now deceased. Weniger recalls speaking to Hyder on her telephone from her mother’s home in New Jersey and that when she told him about what had happened, he said, “Oh, is that Dick Armey bird-dogging again?”
Armey’s marital history hints that he doesn’t think of women as anything other than objects put on earth for man’s (and especially his) personal use and pleasure. Again, from the Observer article:
Dick and Jeanine Gael Armey had met in college in North Dakota, and married the day he earned his bachelors degree. (She declined to talk about her ex-husband for this story.) She filed first for divorce, citing “discord and conflict of personalities…”
Armey’s brother Charley, who has stayed close with his first wife, says Jeanine Gale, who had a master’s in education and taught school, was “a women’s libber” who didn’t put Armey’s needs first. Armey’s second wife, Susan,
his brother says, is nearly the opposite.
Just in case this wasn’t entirely clear, the article provides the following information:
[E]conomists, including the well-known liberal Harvard professor John Kenneth Galbraith, had referred to housewives as “crypto-slaves,” whose work was undervalued in American society.
In a paper entitled “A Realistic View of the Relative Income Shares of Male and Female Homemakers,” Armey offered a contrarian point of view: that a housewife was overpaid.
The notion that housewives are slave labor is “a complete misrepresentation,” Armey wrote. Because a housewife, in
theory, receives half her husband’s income, she makes out like a bandit, he concluded. After all, half the median income of married couples amounted to more than the “market value” of the hours a homemaker logged as a nursemaid, cook, dishwasher, and laundress, he concluded. Because the theoretical housewife’s husband probably chipped in and performed 25 percent of the household chores, Armey wrote, there was even more reason to believe the woman was overpaid by the measures of the outside world.
Armey conceded his theory ran into a problem when a couple divorced, and the husband-’employer’ abruptly left the housewife in the lurch. “Unfortunately this is the chance she takes when she elects marriage and non-pecuniary employment,” he wrote.
Dick Armey, living up to his name. Remember, this is the guy who, like Henry Hyde, Dan Burton, and Helen Chenoweth had the hypocritical effrontery to get shirty about Bill Clinton’s sex life.