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. angeson

    Christie is following the laws of his state. Which will win him respect among the Dems. Fact is you dont get to be New Jerseys governor without some democratic votes.

    June 5, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. Chris

    Armey states 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get". That's interesting since I used to be a leaning republican and due to Armey's way of thinking I am no longer a 'friend' – I always vote democrat now. Ever wonder why the pubs are in decline?? Armey's comment is a perfect example. The American people don't want to play politics we just want things to get fixed. Christie is on the right track and has scored points in my book.

    June 5, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  3. CenterisBetter

    This is exactly what is wrong with politics in America today. They're all so busy jockeying for power and control that they've forgotten what they were elected to do. It's not about what's best for the people any more, it's about blindly towing the party line. You want to talk about "Debilitating Stupidity" take a look at the Senate floor every single day. Our elected officials wrangle for money and power and accomplish absolutely nothing but lining their own pockets and securing their own future.

    June 5, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. penguin

    The only thing stupid Christie did with respect to this issue is to have a special election and thereby wasting millions of dollars. As far as me voting for Christie for President, it's not likely unless he gets off the conservative economic mantra that businesses would create more jobs if they were taxed less. As a "liberal", I have never voted a straight ticket until this year when all the Republicans suffered "debillitating stupidity"

    June 5, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  5. Antony

    The opinions expressed in this article reinforce the immense downsides of allowing career politicians. Term limits of 8 combined years of government elected office imo.

    June 5, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  6. Introvert

    Debilitating stupidity is thinking that the American people will stand for any more of this partisanship for the sake of partisanship, while there's real work that goes undone. We need to throw clowns like Dick Armey out of office.

    June 5, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  7. NotAFanOfCongress

    Armey's condemnation is an indicator that Christie has done something correctly.

    June 5, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. Steve

    I hope he doesnt send his dick armey after me.

    June 5, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  9. W.G.

    Mr. Armey , Gov . Christie IS doing the right thing He´s tending to the needs and listening to his voters .
    Not DICTATING to them commanding them like they´re SERFS !! This is what the republican party has become .
    Dictators !!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  10. Gerry

    Dicks mentality is what's wrong with both political parties

    June 5, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  11. Luis Wu

    Christie did the right thing. Something you see far too infrequently in politics.

    June 5, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. nate

    Armey says: 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.' This is a lesson Obama needs to learn. Don't even waste your time trying to placate Republicans.

    June 5, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. Josh

    Christy put democratic principles ahead of politics. That's a sin in Armey's book because Armey exemplifies what's wrong with Washington: putting politics ahead of democratic principles. Christy should be proud and people should recognize his integrity. Meanwhile, Christy is Republican through and through. He refused billions in Federal dollars to build a rail tunnel to Manhattan. He cut funding to schools dramatically... Decisions like those are why he doesn't get my vote for Governor this November. But decisions like this one are why he still has my respect.

    June 5, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  14. Rick

    What Dick Armey and other old guard Republicans fail to grasp is, the conditions they have brought upon the party; for the sake of the party, are killing it. Christie understands that there MUST be a change of direction from the bull-headed Republican politics of the last 21 years. A move toward doing what's right for the PEOPLE; not the party – as in the special election – is a progressive step in the right direction.

    June 5, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. Canada

    Wow, who is this Dick Armey guy you guys got there? this guy sounds like a traitor to democracy and fairness. you still let this guy stay in office? This guy is playing Government like it was an episode of Big Brother.

    June 5, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  16. Mark

    Scott.....I think he has already switched parties and didn't come out of the closet with it yet. He is too buddy buddy with the big O

    June 5, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  17. Darth Cheney

    Oh, I thought from the title link on the home page that this was a definition of Republican = Debilitating Stupidity. Sounds about right.

    June 5, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  18. Richard

    Wow let the people vote. Yea I can see why the Republicans would be mad.

    June 5, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  19. MDDon

    It is a sign of what is so terribly awry with American politics when a politician in a democracy that puts a decision in the hands of the voters is termed stupid. I guess for today's politicians statesmanship is stupid. The voters know who is stupid.

    June 5, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  20. dina

    The foolishness was not his inability to fill the seat by 2014. It was his wasting 12 million taxpayer dollars by creating a special election just for that seat instead of having the vote ONE MONTH LATER, with the regularly scheduled election. But since that would jeopardize his own reelection, well, guess what was more important...

    June 5, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |

    It seems Armey is one of the stupid politicians that actually believes that elected officials are more obligated to serve the party than the people. I applaud Christie for doing the right thing–now finish the job and appoint a democrat to the post. The people of N.J. elected a democrat and should have their choice honored until the special election is held. Mr. Christie, as a republican, I urge you to continue to do the right thing and serve your constituents, NOT THE PARTY.

    June 5, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  22. RinosRwinos

    Coming from Dick Armey and the Tea Party which is the embodiment of stupidity I would expect nothing less. Armey represents all of what is wrong in politics today.

    June 5, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  23. Matt Keller

    I just love the following quote from Armey,

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

    Really! Happens in Washington every single day, and people wonder why little gets accomplished.

    June 5, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  24. Brenda

    This Conservative Republican is no fan of Chris Christie. He's out for number #1 and I can't tolerate that.

    June 5, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  25. Kate M

    I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Part of the reason is that in the big two parties, anyone who eschews partisan politics for just a second and actually tries to do the right thing is accused of nasty things like, "debilitating stupidity." Our future is hopeless unless men like Christie are respected rather than vilified. Rather than reflecting badly on Christie, it shows what a power-hungry party hack Armey is.

    June 5, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
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