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. earthshoes44

    "All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said.

    Umm. No? He he not opted for an election, the correct move would have been to appoint a democrat as that was who held the seat previously.

    June 5, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  2. rs1201

    christie may just want to change party affiliation...make it simpler. This way he just looks underhanded and sneaky!

    June 5, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  3. Jc

    Dick Armey is a bitter old coot that should have been put down years ago. Christie's decision was the right one. If he appointed a conservative, then the democrats would block it. He had no choice. Plus, what's wrong with playing fair? Did Armey forget that some people play fair because its the right thing to do? As a conservative, it's embarrassing to have a guy like that be leader of anything. Big props to Christie. Moderates love this guy.

    June 5, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  4. JD

    What a crabby old man Armey is. Last time I checked Republicans and Democrats were part of the same country and government. Armey acts like Christie wants to give a terrorist the job. "We have seen the enemy Dick and they is us!" to paraphrase.

    June 5, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  5. Hilikus

    This guy went on record saying it was stupid to represent the wishes of the people? Instead, he should take every opportunity to "stick it to them" if it gave him an advantage? He is the one calling someone "debilitating stupid"?


    June 5, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  6. John G

    Christie represents the worst of all political parties. He is a man who makes decisions for nhis own political advancement rather than thinking about what is best for the people. He is a dramatic media hog who does not care about his state or the country. The fact that everyone following politics can so easily see he is after the presidency makes him unfit to be president or governor or hold any high office.

    June 5, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  7. doc77

    speaking of debilitating stupidity, Armey should look in the mirror occasionally. What else could Christie do better than to give the decision to the people...uh...I thought that's what you did in a democracy...

    June 5, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. M

    Obama has appointed more Republicans that any President EVER !

    June 5, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  9. Rick

    Armey calls it "stupid" because it goes against the typical Washington grain, which most Americans consider beyond stupid. Therefore, by definition, what Christie has done may in fact prove to be smart. My hope however, is that he is doing this because he realizes that Senators and Representatives are SUPPOSED to work for the people and NOT for the governor or political parties. Dick Armey is simply living up to his first name

    June 5, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  10. Skeeve

    Well, clearly, there is a difference between a person of principle and "dibilitatingly stupid" Dick Armey – a personification of modern republicans.

    June 5, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  11. some guy in New Hampshire

    It's all about party loyalty uber alles with the right wing. Anyone who doesn't serve the party interests before and above everything else is stupid, a traitor, yada yada. Parties be damned. The interests of country and the public come first always. Party hacks and zombies are scum, wherever on the political spectrum they fall.

    June 5, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  12. dave

    Think about it this way – the good people of NJ elected a Democrat. Dick Armey – the Imam of the Tea Party – wants Christie to subvert the clearly expressed will of the people and appoint a Republican? How ironic.

    June 5, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  13. Rich

    God forbid we support democracy instead of party allegiance.

    June 5, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  14. lisa

    So as the tea party senator stated making a fair decision instead of a political one was wrong and stupid. Is this how the tea party thinks? If political gain is more important than what is right and fair which is truly american then the tea party is a greater threat to freedom than any group of terrorists. If a senator should die then a special election should be held. No decision to fill such a slot should ever be governed by political gain that threatens us all.

    June 5, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  15. stuid idea

    If the people in NJ elected a democrat to the seat, how is it the "correct" move for him to appoint a republican? I may disagree with Christie on almost everything and think overall he hasn't been great for NJ, but I'm not going to even go there and question that at least he is doing what he thinks is right, not just what will curry political favor with others.

    June 5, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  16. Will

    What Armey calls "debilitating stupidity", the rest of us would call "honesty and integrity". I'll take his attempted insult as a badge of honor.

    June 5, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  17. RobGinChicago

    New Jersey statute 19:3-2 states the following:
    "19:3-26. If a vacancy shall happen in the representation of this State in the United States senate, it shall be filled at the general election next succeeding the happening thereof, unless such vacancy shall happen within 70 days next preceding such election, in which case it shall be filled by election at the second succeeding general election, unless the governor of this State shall deem it advisable to call a special election therefor, which he is authorized hereby to do.
    The governor of this State may make a temporary appointment of a senator of the United States from this State whenever a vacancy shall occur by reason of any cause other than the expiration of the term; and such appointee shall serve as such senator until a special election or general election shall have been held pursuant to law and the Board of State Canvassers can deliver to his successor a certificate of election."

    It appears that Gov. Christie had the choice of appointing a temporary replacement until the next general election in November or appointing a replacement and calling for an earlier special election. He did not appear to have the option of appointing a replacement until the second general election in November of 2014, so it appears that Mr. Armey was, once again, squawking out of his hat.

    June 5, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  18. UseYourBrain

    Come on, Governors shouldn't be ABLE to APPOINT to an elected position AT ALL! The law should call for a special election within a timeframe that the electorate go without representation for the SHORTEST possible time, while Congress is in session. If congress is NOT in session, what is the hurry anyway? Senate seats are supposed to be represent the citizenry, not the governor.

    June 5, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  19. vburke

    And now you see a snapshot of exactly what is wrong with the Republican Party. Screw the voters of the district who consistently vote Democratic, let's force a Republican down their throats for political gain!

    Dick, this isn't about you, the GOP, or your petty little political maneuvering. Much as I don't like Christie on a bunch of things, he's 100% right on this and he's got 1000x the character that you do.

    June 5, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  20. Bob

    "Most often it's done by the left, but frequently done by Republicans as well." Brilliant, just Brilliant

    June 5, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  21. northerstar

    "Let the voters decide". Who would have thought that would be such "a big deal". We have really slid into the ditch where politicians are concerned. Politicians who lie, cheat, steal, etc., leave office in disgrace and all come back to haunt us. I don't know if he is a good governor (I don't live near NJ), but it is fun to watch someone "letting the voters" decide rather than do "what all politicians would do".

    June 5, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  22. John

    My only comment on the matter would be since the people of New Jersey elected a democrat, by appointing a republican to fill the seat would be going against the voters.

    June 5, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  23. Einstein

    He is disassociating himself from people that no one but the most ignorant, brain-washed conservatives will vote for. That's sounds like a smart move. Republicans need to disabuse themselves of the notion that they lose elections because our country has become a nation of takers. They lose elections because fellow Republicans just can't take the insane policy positions (especially on privacy issues) anymore. Can you imagine where we would be if we had implemented Ryan's economic plans? They were almost identical to the austerity plans in Europe. It would have brought our economy to its knees.

    June 5, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  24. Evenstar

    A politician that does whats fair is blasted by those hypocrites who only think of themselves is a shining example of just how far the moral compass of politics is off.

    June 5, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  25. Taroya

    With friends like the repubs, no one needs any enemies.

    June 5, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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