Yikes. Dick Armey... this is not helping your cause:
A member of the audience passed a question to the moderator, who read it to Armey: How can the Federalist Papers be an inspiration for the tea party, when their principal author, Alexander Hamilton, “was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government”?(bold added)
Historian Armey was flummoxed by this new information. “Widely regarded by whom?” he challenged, suspiciously. “Today’s modern ill-informed political science professors? . . . I just doubt that was the case in fact about Hamilton.”
What the hell? This is now the second time in recent memory that a well-known Republican has come after political scientists. What's going on? Perhaps Armey -- an econ Ph.D. -- is trying to pick a social science fight. But if that's the best he can do than color me unintimidated.
Of course Armey is wrong about this. This whole point of the Federalist Papers was to make the case for a strong central government, ensconced in the Constitution, to replace the earlier ineffectual confederacy. That's why they're called the Federalist Papers. There's a whole other set of papers called the Anti-Federalist Papers that argues the opposite view. Perhaps the Tea Partiers could draw inspiration from them.
Via Krugman, who rightly adds that Hamilton also was anti-free market and was a mercantilist. Hamilton even went so far as to oppose the Bill of Rights. I have no idea what Armey is thinking.
Next stop for Armey: replacing Hamilton on the $10 bill with Reagan?