June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
11 months ago

Christie accused of 'debilitating stupidity' after election decision

(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.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Dick Armey
soundoff (1,230 Responses)
  1. mikeinmn

    Perfect example by Mr. Armey of what's wrong with the political system in the good 'ol US of A!

    June 4, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. Guy

    All I've got to say is that Dick has shown that he's more than earned his first name.

    June 4, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. abcd1

    If I was a Republican ,.now is not the time to add gasoline to the fire .

    June 4, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Jen

    How about "he did the right thing"? Do Republicans have no moral compass?

    June 4, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. ralphiec88

    So Armey thinks playing fair is the wrong thing to do. Thanks for clearing that up for us, Dick.

    June 4, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. paulripley

    Letting the people vote and decide just like we do in any election and not appointing someone of the opposite party of the man, the people voted for, who died. Christie is not the first governor following the election and government model of our country. Wow, let people vote and decide. That is what this nation is about.

    June 4, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. John

    Love how all the right wing zealots are attacking this guy for independent, non-sheep thinking. He's smart. I'm a moderate Democrat and I like this guy. Winning fans from the other side of the aisle? How in any political universe is that a bad thing?

    June 4, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. Europa

    Armey is exactly what's wrong with American politicians today - they put party before country and tune out voters. Christie, at least, has the fortitude to resist that. We need more like him.

    June 4, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Ellie

    Ahh – the very reason the GOP has lost my vote. Christie is someone who knows how to compromise & actually get things done. Is any politician free of stupidity? Not likely. But the GOP will continue to be flabbergasted at each loss in election by remaining unbending, unrepentant, and unwilling to meet somewhere in the middle. I pendulum swings back and forth and gets nowhere – meet our current political playing field – imagine if both sides (there are extremes in both cases) gave just a little, and decided to move forward instead of wallowing in their own inflexible outrage.

    June 4, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. David Wright

    Gov. Christie decision is a smart one. He is up for reelection this year and if he had not done this he might have lost either way. Mayor Booker is likely to be the Democrat choice for the seat and Gov. Christie would have a harder time being reelected with Booker's name on the ballot. This helps Republican across the state in races.

    June 4, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. Ted T

    Republicans eating their own. Voting for a republican is against ALL of our own self interest.

    June 4, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. darknesscrown

    "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."

    --Sooooo, what IF he's doing it in the best interests of New Jersians (or whatever they are called)? The correct move is to just appoint someone without any say in the matter? I thought public servants are supposed to do things in the best interest of the constituency? Is Armey new to this game???

    June 4, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. sidairfoil

    I think Armey said it quite well. Referring to Christie...

    "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."

    So, the ideological leaders of the GOP think that 1) Playing fair is stupid, and 2) that not taking every political opportunity available, no matter how unfair, is stupid. I think that sums it up quite nicely. It also puts into proper perspective Benghazi, the IRS, and the investigations of journalists. All of those things are important issues, but the GOP is only interested them because it would be "stupid" not to take political advantage of them. QED...if you have no ethics.

    Sid

    June 4, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. budgie girl

    What Dick Armey fails to realize is that Chistie serves the people of NJ first and foremost, not the Republican party. It he handpicked a Republican to replace a Democratic senator, then he would be going against the will of the people who voted in that Senate seat.

    June 4, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. Javier

    I would vote for him if he runs for President in 2016. A fair non-partisan politician is what we need. I hope he considers it. However, the Tea Party would never support him. The Tea Party will choose another looser.

    June 4, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Raoul Duke, Jr.

    A Democrat would have seized the opportunity to appoint a Democrat? And why the hell not? The guy who died was a Democrat, elected as a Democrat by the people of the State of New Jersey. What Armey is saying is "screw what the people want, only politics matters."

    June 4, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Chromigula

    "...if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity..."

    Yes, god forbid anyone decides to play fair for a change. Yeesh, what a Dick.

    June 4, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. Larry Craig

    What do you expect from a Dick?

    June 4, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Tom

    This is a move of class and integrity. I'm a Democrat and I would vote for Christie. Armey has got it all wrong. By operating and being guided by his Republican principles, Christie now finds himself in the rare air of becoming a politician that Americans can trust. Moves like this one insure that!!!

    June 4, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Parker

    Armey expects Chirstie to do the same thing old, obsolete, dinosaur Republicans to do, toe (tow?) the party line and damn anyone not a Republican. The problem with Armey is he hasn't and still doesn't get it. The electorate is interested in politicians that do what is best for the people, and not what is best for the politicians pocket, or the politicians rich friends. Christie is actually appealing to Democrats because he is his own man and makes decisions (so far) that are smart and make common sense, and not just the same old crappy politics as usual that Republicans STILL think will get them the White House next election. The sooner the GOP learns from Christie, the sooner a Republican gets back into the White House. In the meantime, I am voting for a Democrat next election and don't even know who it will be. Most certainly, it will be better than anyone the GOP has except Christie.

    June 4, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Guest

    Armey's comments highlight exactly what is wrong with politics in America. Now all the Democrats have to do is act in the same good faith that Governor Christie has shown and at least we'll have one example of where the two parties can start to work together again.

    Please, just once, let this good deed go unpunished.

    June 4, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. Mike

    First it was suggested the Republican Party should be "closed for repairs", then "open during repairs." For my money Dick Armey proves the Republicans are "beyond repair."

    June 4, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. spudnik56

    Dick Armey...idiot extraordinaire...

    June 4, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Donaldbain

    What an idiot. Armey is what is wrong with US politics. Christie could "take advantage" of this opportunity or he could do what is right, let the people decide who represents them. He did the right thing instead of the "right" thing. (slow clap) Well played governor.

    June 4, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. DJL

    "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."

    – It takes a real D1ck (Armey, that is) to point out what's wrong with politics in this country. I'm not a big fan of Christie, but if more of our elected officials would at least meet halfway and compromise, instead of viewing it as an all-out war to be won, then perhaps Congress' approval rating wouldn't be so low. And maybe we'd get stuff done, instead of the constant bickering and finger-pointing.

    June 4, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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