(CNN) - Gov. Chris Christie's decision to set a special election this year to fill New Jersey's vacant Senate seat wasn't met with open arms Tuesday by a fellow Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead," Armey accused the governor of trying to curry favor with Democrats by not appointing a Republican to the seat until 2014. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.
"All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said. "Now, I put it down as debilitating stupidity. The first rule of politics is 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.' And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."
A Democratic governor would have "seized the opportunity" and appointed a senator from his own party, Armey argued Tuesday.
"People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity," Armey said. "Most often it's done by the left, but frequently done by Republicans as well."
Until last year, Armey served as the chairman of the conservative, tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks.
My brother and I talk all the time about how there are no statesmen left in American politics... well maybe Chris Christie is on his way to becoming one.
Armey's comment are right on. Just ask yourserf "What would Obama do?"....
If the gov thinks that Dems will vote for him for Pres he is stupid. He's far too conservative for me.
Dick Armey just should never, and I mean never, accuse ANYONE of "debilitating stupidity."
Although Christie is certainly not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Armey has always personified "debilitating stupidity."
Armey is a politician through and through. He cares more for his club than he does about the people that elect politicians. Don't see too many people claiming to be friends of Armey these days, as well as the GOP.
Imagine if he switched parties ? think he would get more DEM or GOP votes ?
If Dick Armey is peeved about this decision, that means Christie did the right thing! BWAHAHAHAHA! Christie should wear Armey's 'insult' as a badge of honor!
Christi should switch parties. Republicans are stupid in themselves. I admire Gov Christi's honesty and integrity. If Hillary Clinton does not run for President and Gov. Christi does, he will get my vote. He does what is right, not what is political.
Too much fat on the brain.
Maybe he should ask OBummer what to do since they are hand holding buddies.
The Republicans, represented by Dick Armey, are unlikely to win any more national elections. Old white people like him are dying off and being replaced by a multicultural society, represented by the Democrats. The Republicans have no clue how to change to meet the new voter market.
Their only hope is to control one or both houses of Congress.
Christie is brash, and not suited for President who must deal with people around the globe with respect, but I like him.
He does what is right for the people he represents. Period.
He may not be Presidential material, (yet?) but I'll support him strongly in just about anything else.
Christie has to be the smartest man in politics today. While he has slightly alienated his party, he is doing what no other politician has the guts to do. Cross party lines and do what is right for the people that voted him in.
As a true independent he is doing a wonderful job.
I find that in the cesspool of politics, two of the people I'm beginning to admire most, Christie and Bramnick, are on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from me. I wish they could see the light so I could actually vote for them.
Christie should absolutely pay attention to Dick Armey ... then do the exact opposite. This guy is an radical extremist and is partially responsible for the hyper-partisanship that exists today in American politics.
The GOP is ridiculous – They consistently pan their one candidate likeable enough to get votes from both parties. They really need to review their hateful demeannor. It is NOT pretty, and is very unlikeable
Armey's premise is valid though he might have chosen better words to express it. Christie's action is similar to Obama's foreign policy expecting the Arab nations to love us because he apologizes for our previous actions to protect our national interests.
I believe Armey is more representative of "debilitating stupidity." There would be no controversy if a Democratic governor appointed a senator from his own party as the seat is currently and has traditionally been held by a Democrat. It would not be "seizing the opportunity" but "continuing the status quo." Now Christie filling the seat interim with a Republican would be "seizing the opportunity."
He is a senior authority on debilitating stupidity so I believe we should take his word on it. Therefore, Christie is extremely stupid.
Hey, Obama, I've got an idea: Replace Holder with Christie. He's certainly qualified for the position and has no hope of winning his party's primary in '16.
Yes, how dare Christie turn to a democratic vote in order to determine who'll be senator!
Gov. Christie's policies are too conservative for my taste, but I respect the man deeply. If he were ever to be elected President (unlikely with the state of the Republican Party at present), I would at least be confident that he would promote policies that he genuinely believed were in the best interest of the country. The last Republican president who I felt really shared this philosophy was Gerald Ford, a truly decent man.
I remember way back when Dick Armey called Barney Frank "Barney Fag." Barney responded that someone with a name like Dick Armey shouldn't be calling anyone names.
Christie chose to let the people decide instead of imposing a political solution. Great for him and shame on those who think he should put politics above the people! Shame on them!!
Wow. What an incredibly naive statement from Armey. As a seasoned political player, he should know that Christie – as a man with presidential aspirations – is more correctly concerned with what the American people think of his decision than what players within the GOP think. Because regardless of whether or not he's particularly popular within the party, if he's a strong candidate to win the election in 2016 he will be nominated. Super smart move on Christie's part. Super dumb statement in Armey's.
Maybe the GOP/Tea is getting some payback for crapping on Mr. Christie over CPAC and Sandy aid?
Get bent Mr. Armey. Maybe he's just better than you and that makes you mad?
Well, actually, in the old days, the politically ethical thing to do was to appoint someone of the same party. But the GOP(and to a lesser degree the Dems) long ago forgot what "ethics" means.