YOU DON’T KNOW DICK…. Many have come to expect a certain standard for decorum and decency from prominent Republican voices — that is to say, a very low standard — but former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) showed just how far those norms have slipped yesterday.

Appearing on “Hardball” and debating Salon‘s editor-in-chief Joan Walsh, Armey offered the usual palaver about government economic policy and “income redistributonists” who ruined Bush’s tax cuts. When Walsh tried to speak, Armey scoffed and growled at every word, interrupting with condescension like, “Give it a rest.”

By the time Walsh highlighted the inconvenient fact about Obama’s electoral mandate, Armey responded, “I’m so damn glad you can never be my wife ’cause I surely wouldn’t have to listen to that prattle from you every day.”

Once in a while, a politician drops the pretense and lets his true colors come through. In this brief interview, Dick Armey, perhaps best known for calling his then-colleague Barney Frank “Barney Fag,” showed just what he’s made of, before a national television audience.

Keep in mind, Armey isn’t just some random nut from right-wing radio. He’s a former Majority Leader, and as Digby noted, Armey is also “one of the foremost conservative economic gurus in the land and is one of the guys they turn to for serious policy advice. I’m not kidding.”

For what it’s worth, the New York Times‘ Bob Herbert appeared on the same program, and accurately described Armey’s comments as “sexist,” adding, “He owes Joan Walsh and your viewers an apology.” For his part, Matthews said, “Dick Armey … I like the guy but I think he went way overboard going after Joan.”

Will Armey’s on-air misogyny affect his chances of being invited back to “Hardball”? I seriously doubt it.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.