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. AreYouKidding?

    Don't sweat it, Governor. The fact you're taking flak from both sides of the isle should tell you you've made the right decision! Rule of thumb: When you hear the word "bipartisan" in regard to this particular Congress, RUN! Something completely senseless and destructive is about to happen.

    June 5, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. GSL

    Armey's actually dead wrong. For example, I know a lot conservatives who vote Democratic simply because they are waiting for a conservative candidate to come along who isn't a party-politic extremist tool. Saying that no Democrats will ever vote for or work with Christie ("the friends you're never going to get") is a depressingly shortsighted view to take.

    What the Republicans should have learned in the last election is that this move by Christie represents the sort of reasonable governing that people actually want. Well, that and that they need to stop trying to appeal to extremists if they actually want to win. Sure, giving the seat away to a candidate within the party is the obvious move to further strengthen the party, but the vast majority of voters DO NOT CARE about the strength of the party. They care about their personal political stance, i.e. if a candidate intends to govern from a conservative or liberal point of view, but this "putting the party before government" stuff is exactly what voters are sick of.

    June 5, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. CJG

    I am proud of the man in my home state!

    See, this, this is the sort of politician I want. He is doing what is best for his state, not his party.
    We might not see eye to eye on everything, but at least you know you are getting an honest person.

    If the republican party has any brains whatsoever they will realize that this is the sort of politician the country needs. not a hyper partisan or a back room dealer.

    June 5, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. keith

    I I am an middle of the road registered republican. Its time BOTH parties and ALL politicians realize that this guy and the attitude he brings with him are what the majority of the people want and WILL Elect!. We are flat out sick of the old entrenched lieing cheating stick it to the little guy and protect the wealthy corporate BS that is the norm. Its time to vote for integrity and honesty so we can reverse the toxic corporate owned government tax, and legislation from the past 50 years.

    June 5, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. brian in denver

    Mr. Armey is obviously an expert when it comes to "debilitating stupidity".

    June 5, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. AndyDaniel

    " 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."

    Well, I'm a Democrat and I respect his choice to let the people decide. I think that most Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, prefer "play fair" or partisan.

    June 5, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. AreYouKidding?

    Weird. You'd think someone already saddled with a name like "dick" would try a bit harder to be less stupid.

    June 5, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. CT

    I guess Dick Armey hasn't been following the news. There was a special congressional election in Missouri just this week that contradicted his statements.

    Democratic Governor Jay Nixon called for a special election after Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson stepped down in a heavily conservative district. He easily could have "taken advantage of the political opportunity" and put a Democrat in the seat, but he called a special election and the Republican candidate won easily.

    June 5, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Mary

    "All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said.
    ********************************************
    Since he is replacing a democratic seat, the "correct move" would have been to appoint a democratic replacement to insure continuity of representation for the people who had elected the man who died.

    June 5, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. dave

    Dick Armey is right! Never play fair, winning is all that matters, if Charles Manson is running as a republican, you must vote Manson! Win, Win, Win! If you have to juice up to win, then juice, ask A-Rod. I am sure Al Davis was correct when he said, "just win baby", to hell with rules, laws or morals, go "Dick Armey"!!!!!

    June 5, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. patrick

    This is the truest statment and defines the whole Republican party agenda/mentality: "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"

    Dear Repulicans, our government process is not about what is best for the few, opportunistic, & self-centered. Believe it or not, people actually RESPECT individuals who are willing to compromise. The "my way or the highway" game plan may have short term wins, but in the end (as you are seeing) will lose to rational thought.

    June 5, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. VA Teacher

    I believe that what the Republicans are concerned about is the excessive amount of money it will cost for a special election: money that is truly not available.

    June 5, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Deez

    Republicans, please take note! Christie is being blasted by the Republicans for working with the Democrats. Working with your colleagues is a GOOD THING! This is called "reaching across the aisle"!

    June 5, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Kfaz

    I agree with Mary's post. I would vote Christie in on the sole basis he doesn't seem to lie.

    June 5, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. CB

    "Love him or hate him, Christie clearly is more interested in doing well by his state than any polticial concern. To me that is what a politician is supposed to be."

    --–

    I respected Christie for doing what was best for his state, but this decision is clearly not in the best interest of his state. The special election is going to cost them around $12 million dollars, where it could have need added to the ballot
    for the already scheduled November election. This decision was made with the interests of only Chris Christie in mind.

    June 5, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. lottie

    The republican party has become a joke. Christie did the right thing letting the voters decide some thing the rest of the party should do.

    June 5, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. Marie

    They get you from the left and they get you from the right. Washington is all about "criticism" . The word "work" is not in their vocabulary. Gov. Christie made a decision. Lefties and righties please say THANK YOU. At least someone in WA is working for the people.

    June 5, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Jackie Whitt

    Christie is a real true Republican, He speaks the true, I am a democrat voted for Obama, I would vote for Christie also. He is honest and cares about all the people not the party. The Republicans need more Christie's in their party. Huntsman was another good Republican the far right and tea party cannot see what is good in front of them. They are very uneducated on government, very way off on their rants and raves. They really should not be in Washington, Vote them out.

    June 5, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. captiosus

    What this boils down to for me is the fact that Christie put PEOPLE ahead of PARTY. Instead of exercising unilateral power granted to him, he deferred the choice to the PEOPLE of the State of New Jersey. That says a lot about the character of Christie and his view on governance, just as Armey's comments show the modern GOP's utter contempt for "We the People" in favor of protecting the party at all costs.

    June 5, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. JamesT

    Christie should have appointed a Democrat, as Democrats lost their elected Senator. I don't see why you folks are applauding him.

    June 5, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Harold II

    Really interesting that a GOP bigwig believes that letting the people decide who should represent them in the US Senate is stupidity.

    June 5, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. David

    Gov Christie – Popular, enjoys bipartisan support, is a governor and is on the shortlist for President WITHOUT even suggesting he wants the job.

    Dick Armey – Deposed Speaker/Representative, leader of a near universally despised dissident movement and unpopular to the point that he needs to make a clown of himself for people to recognize his name.

    Dick, it's YOU who sucks at politics.

    June 5, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. james

    "People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity..."

    Wouldn't appointing a Republican over allowing the electorate to choose be a political decision?

    June 5, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Think for yourself

    I think Armey is forgetting the fact that there are a lot of us looking for someone just like Christie. Someone HONEST and FAIR. Someone who actually wants what is good for the country and not just themselves and their "friends." If you ask me, Armey is the one suffering from "debilitating stupidity" by putting comments like this out there.

    June 5, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Founder

    Dick Armey is a pathetic hack who is desperately trying to maintain relevance, plain and simple. Seeing as NJ hasn't elected a Republican Senator in forever, Christie is in a no-win situation no matter what path he chooses. I think he did the right thing.... let the people of NJ decide their Senator.

    June 5, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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