Roughly 15 years after he helped lead the charge against Hillary Clinton's attempt to revamp the health care system, former Majority Leader Dick Armey finds himself once again in fierce opposition to a White House's reform effort.
On Wednesday, the group FreedomWorks, which Armey chairs, launched a major campaign against what it deemed to be the "secret socialized medicine provision" in President Barack Obama's budget.
Pointing to the hundreds of billions in funds allotted for a "down payment" on health care reform, FreedomWorks warned that: "this money would no doubt be used to centralize health care decisions with bureaucrats in Washington and expand bankrupt entitlements programs."
"Knowing that it will be hard to socialize medicine, Congress is seeking to avoid a debate by inserting language in the budget bill to circumvent traditional debating procedures in order to sneak government-run healthcare through Congress."
It is a different type of opposition effort from the one Armey helped spearhead from inside government -- in which he famously deployed confusing, Byzantine-like charts to underscore the bureaucratic growth inherent in Clinton's plan. Nevertheless, there is historical symmetry.
FreedomWorks will be robocalling its member list, as well as launching a lobbying campaign to fight the inclusion of the health care reserve fund in the budget and the use of reconciliation to pass reform.
The targets included Blue Dog Democrats in the House and moderates in the Senate. Names listed include Democratic Sens. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Byron Dorgan (ND), Kent Conrad (ND), Tim Johnson (SD), Ben Nelson (NE), Claire McCaskill (MO), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Mark Pryor (AR), and Jim Webb (VA).
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