August 17, 2009

Mario Solis-Marich at Nuestra Voice managed to get Steve Forbes -- the chief cohort of Dick Armey at FreedomWorks, the outfit that has been organizing the teabaggers' disruptions health-care town halls -- to sit for a 15-minute interview, ostensibly to talk about Forbes' new book, Hey, Son, Do You Like to Watch Gladiator Movies? Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between Great Leaders of the Ancient World and Today . . . and the Lessons You Can Learn.

In a quick few minutes he claimed that people in England over 65 years of age could not receive dialysis, that Obama wanted single payer, and that Freedom Works displayed video of the almost violent Doggett town hall on their web site so that politicians can “see what happens” when they lie about financial matters.

Solis-Marich played along for awhile, letting Forbes talk about the need for credibility if you want to be a leader. (One of Forbes' favorite gladiator Ancient Greek hero tales involves a Spartan "outsider" who has to prove himself constantly to his charges through transparency and honesty.) Then he unloaded on him for FreedomWorks' unhinging attacks on the health-care town halls by using patently false propaganda, wondering if that was the kind of leadership he had in mind.

My favorite part was this exchange:

Solis-Marich: The leader of FreedomWorks -- you know, and I'm sure, you just wrote a book about leadership, so that's why we're talking about the leaders -- Dick Armey just had to quit his job today at DLA Piper. DLA Piper is a huge lobbying firm that, you know, represented organizations just like AIG, and in fact helped AIG get its massive bailout from the federal government. He quit today because of pressure that, people were basically saying, "Lookit. Of course he runs FreedomWorks. Many of the clients of AIG in fact benefit if this health-care reform does not go well."

Do you think that it would be proper and good leadership for Dick Armey and yourself as a member of the Board of Directors to finally disclose to the American people who actually is funding FreedomWorks?

Forbes: [long pause] I think it's, uh, it's very clear in terms of funding -- and, and, and by the way --

Solis-Marich: OK. Who funds you?

Forbes: If you want, if you want, full disclosure in terms of the lists of donors of any organization that takes a public position, go ahead and advocate it and make it the law of the land.

Solis-Marich: I'm not asking about law. We're talking about leadership. You said that it's very clear who funds it. Then tell us! You said it's very clear. Mr. Forbes, please tell us, who funds FreedomWorks?

Forbes: You have, uh, most of it is from citizens, and that's something we're proud of.

Solis-Marich: What is the percentage of corporate money that FreedomWorks gets?

Forbes: I don't know offhand, but uh ...

Solis-Marich: Even as a member of the board of directors?

Forbes: The exact percentage? Not right now.

Solis-Marich: How about close? Give me a guess.

Forbes: I have no idea.

Solis-Marich: No idea. And what are the corporate names that we would recognize that give corporate money to FreedomWorks?

Forbes: Look, if you want to get into that, you can call Dick Armey, and they can provide you with the information. Appropriate information.

Solis-Marich: So do you think it's good leadership not to publicly disclose to the American people who's actually funding FreedomWorks?

Forbes: [long pause] I think that, uh, well, let's turn the tables. If, uh, if you, uh, want full disclosure in terms of who gives everywhere, do it with the labor unions as well.

That's right. Because, as you know, the unions get all that money not from union dues but from secret funding by an unholy cabal of conspiring Communists, space aliens who want to eat us, and Satanists.

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