June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
1 year 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. JohnRJohnson

    Dick Armey. A shining example of altruism, pragmatism, and effective governing. Wish we had more people like him - in the slammer.

    June 4, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. baa

    Shouldn't the first rule of politics be "do the right thing". Today's politician (both sides) don’t know the real ‘rules’. This is why we are where we are.

    June 4, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. welshgirl2

    I am actually pleased that he did this – it shows that he is trusting the people of the state of NJ to pick who they want to represent them. That is how it SHOULD be done.

    June 4, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. t3chn0ph0b3

    Why do hardc0re GOPers hate democracy?

    June 4, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. TheTraveler

    "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."

    This is politics in America. Don't do what might be good for the people, do what's good for you and your party.

    June 4, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. MCJNY

    Democracy according to dick armey. "debilitating stupidity". Could it be that christie might actually want the people to decide who represents them? hmmm Or maybe he see what the rest of us see. There is going to be purge of republicans in this mid term election. This entire country is tired of a congress that does nothing.

    June 4, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. mikeretired

    Don't forget that he is the one who started the other half of the repub party. Remember the moronic candidates they put up for elections.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. noneedforaname

    I mean, he's really in an impossible spot. If he appoints a republican, democrats will get crazy. If he appoints a democrat, republicans will go crazy. He did really the only thing he could – and essentially removed himself from the process all together.
    Not only is it a good move politically – but it's the right thing to do. The people of NJ have the right to elect their representatives.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. JohnRJohnson

    Dick Armey. What a shining example of humanity. A beacon for all those who want to see this country led over a cliff by right-wing politicians who no longer believe that governing is their primary job.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    The political question is one thing. The legal choice was between 2013 regular election time and sooner. 2014 was not an option. Armey is not very informed.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Joseph B

    Good for you Governor Christie! Let's hear it for standing up for democracy and our citizens! And to Mr Armey, just because you can do something does not mean you should.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "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. 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."

    I enjoy the fact that Dick Armey realizes and publicizes that his suggestion isn't democratic or "fair" as he put it...and then calls someone else stupid. What's so wrong with doing the right thing? Maybe Christie is doing the smart thing, only time will tell. But, if your fellow Republican talks about you like this, then extending the olive branch across the aisle may not be a bad idea. Mr. Armey's mom sure did know what she was doing when she named him.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. JCDavis

    It's a crazy world. Christie acts like a Democrat and Obama acts like a Republican.

    June 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. granny4life

    Talk about and Idiot, this guy is one big one. I think Christie is right let the people decide....Republicans are not making wise statements at the moment. I think Dole is correct....Shut down and regroup...What a mess you guys are

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Al Peaston

    A politician doing the right thing! I am impressed! Good for you Gov. Christie!

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. chuck kasabian

    So he's not supposed to think, just vote party? This, my friends, demonstrates precisely what's wrong in Washington.

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. blakenaustin

    Not stupid, just a RINO with presidential aspirations. The GOP needs to distance itself from Christie.

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. tweeddemon

    If Armey thinks is debilitatingly stupid, it must be brilliant!

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. I Am God

    Want to know the number one reason why the GOP can't control the Senate or win the Presidential election? People like Dick Amrey. This is why you are losing Republicans. Get back to your moderate ways and not your extremist ways.

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Bryan

    I would think this is more of a "policy" decision than one of "politics." As Gov, he can make the appointment and he will. But as a leader for (all) the people of NJ, Christie recognizes the public's right to elect their representative. Sen Armey is just going to have to take his chances with the voters of the Garden State and leave it up the public who will serve as Senator. Perhaps Armey should be more concerned with the reputation of his own Party. If the GOP has proven to serve the will of NJ, then they should have no trouble getting their candidate elected. That's Democracy. Even if Armey presumes some hypothetical Democrat Governor would use his office in such a way, shouldn't he be congratulating Christie for this show of Personal Integrity and Faith in the System, rather than criticizing him for not using partisan, back-room, hand-shake, political manipulations/appointments to thwart the will of the people?

    June 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Steve

    I couldn't disagree more with Armey's comment: "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."

    The politician who plays fair rather than takes a political opportunity to further his own party agenda has my vote any day.

    June 4, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Joe

    I am pleasantly shocked by the decision. No reason to not be fair in politics...isn't that why D.C. is broken?

    June 4, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Jason

    I don't know, seems to me like Christie is doing what is right by calling for a special election and letting the people of New Jersey decide who will represent them. This whole "they wouldn't do it so you shouldn't either" mentality is the very problem with Washington and this two party system.

    June 4, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. felix

    Armey clearly only sees in one color. What a fool.

    June 4, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. tweeddemon

    If Armey thinks its debilitatingly stupid, it must be BRILLIANT!

    June 4, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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