June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
8 years 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. Sniffit

    Reality is, once the polls start rolling, the GOP/Teatrolls will probably vote for whoever seems to have the best shot in 2016, just like they did with Mittens, and that's likely what Christie is relying on. If he can continue to present himself as center-right and doing the correct thing instead of just playing partisan politics, he might be able to lure enough independents to his cause in 2016, particularly after 8 years of a Dem in the WH...solely on the theory that independents love the idea of "give the other side a chance now too" and "compromise means the middle...no matter how far astray one side went before we measured where the middle was."

    June 4, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Reality Check

    Dick Armey? Isn't he that Tea Party leader who sued to keep his government healthcare plan? Christie and Huntsman are the type of conservatives Dems may at least listen to because they do not suffer from the debilitating stupidity of the majority of their party's leaders.

    If Christie is acting as he thinks the people he represents want and not the way his party or Dick Armey want, he is doing the right thing.

    June 4, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. No support

    Dick Armey sounded crazier than usual, spouting things that aren't true, calling people names who don't march to his drum. He is a washed up old man who tried leading a group of radicals and lost control. Christie did the right thing and my prediction is that it will help him if he chooses to run for president.
    We all know that the citizens of the United States are tired or this right wing, left wing and no middle road allowed congress.. he will be seen as a social conservative with an ability to work both sides.

    June 4, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. Jules

    As a Democrat, I like Chris Christie as long as he has the guts to stand up to the far right before he runs for president or while in the primaries. If he doesn't, he won't get a look, but if he does, he will surely get a look from me.

    June 4, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Gary

    Mr. Armey's statement crystallizes why there is no longer hope for Congress. Party above country at any cost!!

    June 4, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Jax Kearney

    Why is the "correct" thing to do appoint a republican? The people voted in a Democrat, the "correct' thing to do is replace him with a fellow party member and if the New Jersey people disagree, they can vote him out.

    June 4, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. DJ in Texas

    So, the will of the people of NJ be damned according to Armey. The state "normally"elects a Dem, but you wantedto Gov to "appoint" a Republican just becuase that's his party. He's basically saying that NJ will "never" elect a Republican, so let's get one in with this appointment. He would then "follow his fellow GOP" vs doing the will of the people of NJ. i think Christie did it right. Let the people decide who will represent them vs. a politician deciding.

    Bravo Gov Christie.

    June 4, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Armey -going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy. That statement spells out politics today... Don't do what is right do what will advance your party agenda regaurdless.. Both sides have the same problem and it is getting worse...

    June 4, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. JoJo

    I'm a moderate conservative, the kind that are no longer allowed to exist in the Republican Party, or at least its leaders. My respect for Christie has gone up considerably since he decided to become a reasonable human being in the last few months. I will indeed vote for a Republican for President, as soon as the Republicans put up an intelligent, honest, and actually morally, ethically decent (not necessarily religious) candidate, and not an incompetent, sociopath or miliartistic, hypocritical plutocrat.

    June 4, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. epenguin

    You mean Christie is acting like an American and that offends Dick? Maybe if Dick tried being an American rather then drinking his partys chowder, he too, would get respect and be referred to as an American rather then a Dick.

    June 4, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Robert

    Bravo for Christie. He has done the right thing and put the power in the hands of the people of his state. This is as it should be. Christie is to be commended. He didn't play politics as usual. It doesn't matter what Obama or anyone else would have done in his place. It matters that he did what was right. That is a sign of true leadership and integrity...do the right thing even if it is not the most politically expedient thing or the popular thing. I'm a Democrat, but I would consider a vote for Christie if I was ever in a position to make such a vote.

    June 4, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Jake

    Armey sincerely showed his stupidity when suggesting doing the right thing was the wrong thing. I vote for the person not their political agenda, those people that put what is right for the people before what is right for the party and finally for those people that don't talk a good game, but deliver. This is one Democrat who will most certainly vote "Christie for President"

    June 4, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. Cyprustree

    This is a 'can't win for losing" situation; if Christie had appointed a Republican, the Democrats would have been the ones ranting. Go with a special election and the GOP isn't happy. What's he supposed to do – wash it all away with a magic eraser? Those work well in the kitchen, but not so much in politics. . Armey' comment "All he has to do is appoint a Republican"... doesn't matter about the person's beliefs, experience or track record, it'll be fine, just so long as he's red, not blue. Way too much partisan politics today.

    June 4, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Joseph D'Amico

    Its about time a politician does what's right rather than do what his party "thinks" is right. Screw Dick Armey
    and his saddle full of Tea Party A–holes!

    June 4, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. hotpatata

    Ah, Dick Armey. Probably the most appropriately named person in Western history.

    June 4, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. BobE

    An election is always better than an appointment. Prevents the cronyism.... Let the people of NJ decide. And Armey needs to go..... If only my vote counted I NJ – dude would be working on his resume by now.

    June 4, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. Peter T

    Christie is just acting as a clever politician. He expects clear victory in his next election as governor, supported by his wise decision to have an election for the US senator, and, if the Republicans loose in 2014, which seems possible today, Christie is the obvious choice for Republican candidate for president. The election of the US senator seems to be at the same time as the governor election, and Christie could even give a Republican candidate wind in the back. Compared with all Republican leaders who don't know what to do, Christie stands tall.

    June 4, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. us_1776

    Armey, it is you and the rest of you GOP dinosaurs that are "debilitatingly stupid".


    June 4, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Thomas Nation

    A good point directly from the elephant posterior.

    June 4, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Bill

    Soooo... doing what the people want is "debilitating stupidity".

    Got it.

    June 4, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Join the Army, Armey!

    Dick Armey, the same guy who says the man who has 8 an 8 year term limit as commander and chief is a "tyrant..." accuses Christie of "Debilitating stupidity..." Pot, meet kettle...

    June 4, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Kevin

    Yes, how dare the people of New Jersey elect their officials instead of have them appointed.

    June 4, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Alina77

    Christie acting like a man that was elected "by the people for the people".. Not many politician can claim that status.. Dick just another example of failed morals in the GOP, its all for themselves .

    June 4, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Clear and Present Thinker

    Dick (Dr. No) Armey should welcome a Republican with "debilitating stupidity." That way, Armey will have company in the stupidity camp.

    June 4, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. CAWinMD

    The politics are simple - if Christie appointed a Republican to replace a Democratic senator, then he would be accused of playing politics rather than fairly representing his state's wishes. Having a special election to fill that slot is a very fair way to make sure the people's wishes are respected. That is a great political move. The fact that Armey can't see it speaks more about Armey's debilitating stupidity than Christie's. But remember - Armey is a tea party favorite. 'Nuff said.

    June 4, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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