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. Brandon

    Shouldn't the right decision be to appoint a democrat since that was the party chosen by the voters? The political affiliation of the governor is irrelevant the status quo should continue unchanged.

    June 5, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Larry L

    It's hard to understand why allowing the democratic process to decide the result is a bad thing – in a democracy.

    June 5, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. John in Jersey

    So... Every one is annoyed with Gov Christie's actions on replacing Lautenberg. Sounds like he got it just about right.

    June 5, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. mk

    Debilitating honesty!

    June 5, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. charliebear240

    Kudos to Christie. Armey thinks, "of the people, by the people, for the people" is a joke. I'm a Independent who will seriously consider voting for Christie as the next President (previously voted for Obama). Just hope he can get though the political firewall and get the nomination. Cheers to all.

    June 5, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. TomGI

    I am so glad to see Dick's attitude. It reaffirms all the bad things we all have come to believe about the legislative branch.

    June 5, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. JB

    No, Dick, he made the correct decision to let the choice in the hands of the people. He made a human decision, not a politican one and that is a breath of fresh air you may want to take in yourself. You are the reason your party is a suffering from its own "Debilitating Stupidity".

    June 5, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Larry

    Christie has shown "Statesmanship" (Country over party) and will most surly get reelected. With the Republicans continually bad mouthing him he might become an Independent. The folks in Georgia with their Senator Chambliss
    (the foot in mouth guy) must be mighty envious of the leadership in New Jersey.

    June 5, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. bigbiz

    More proof that the Republicans continue to take the high road or as Uncle Fester says "reach aross the aisle" only to have the Demorats chop your arm off.Republicans still lose cause they would rather lose than fight dirty like the Rats.

    June 5, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    Dick Armey, what a fitting name.

    But I still wouldn't vote for Chris Christy. From what I've read, he's not that great of a governor, not too bright and despises the public school system and unions. Also he seems to have the diplomatic skills of a bull in a China shop. Not Presidential material at all in my book. Secret Service maybe.....

    Sorry guys I don't wet my pants simply for someone doing the job they were hired to do.

    June 5, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. George

    I tip my hat. Doing what the people want is what a Republic is. A politician rising above politics?!?, Who would have thought that possible. He deserves to be praised, he's doing the people's bidding.
    The Founding Fathers just stopped rolling in thier graves for a moment.

    June 5, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. M.E.

    My "debilitating stupidity detector" indicates that Armey is actually the dumb one. He may be losing a few idiot friends like Armey, but he certainly is getting into the good graces of everyone who's willing to put divisive politics aside and to look at the character and track records of their possible future leaders. Playing fair is a good overall characteristic, and as the tea party adventures have taught us, preaching to the choir will only get you so far. Christie is preaching to the choir as part of the whole congregation and making sure his voice is heard by those outside his church.

    June 5, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. marc

    Like him or not, Armey's right. Courting the Democrats is for imbeciles, since, as we saw with McCain in 2008, their "favorite republican" becomes a "hateful wingnut fascist" as soon as he's nominated.

    June 5, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. JR

    Interesting . . . given the debilitated state of Congress, I would have called partisan politics, as Mr. Armey would have Christie partake in, evidence of debilitating stupidity.

    June 5, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Zach

    Christie doesn't need to win Democrat voters (and he won't). Christie needs to win *independent* voters, and this sort of thing goes a long way toward winning them over.

    June 5, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. How It Should Be

    That's the way the old guard would do it, maybe Christie thinks it's time for a change. Well along with the rest of the world, that is as for how politics in DC is done. Christie attempts to govern as a fair man, not as an elephant or an A$$. I think this is how both parties should start doing politics in DC. All parties should start remembering who their boss is. It's not the lobbyist, it's not the party line and it's not some deal made in some back room.

    I was in the union a while back(Teamsters & UAW). Every month my so called "union dues" went off to pay the democrat party. The dem's get mad and will call the republicans names(very childish) for things like the law the courts passed saying corporations have a voice in politics. The democrats say this is unfair money given to the republicans, yet they have no problem when every union workers pay goes to them without the full support of the worker.

    It's now time for the American voter to overthrow the current people in government, both dem and GOP. What ever party is in office now, vote for the other party, Democrat, Republican or Independent. Try to make it so that no rep in office was there before the last election. Maybe doing something so drastic, will get them to remember who the boss really is. Everyone has it stuck in their head that their party and no other is correct, well you are wrong. Proof positive, look at DC now.

    June 5, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. John Richard

    Dick Armey and his comments are completely consistent with the Republican Party's goals for governing the country, i.e., place partisan politics over governmental action. Remember it was the republican leadership two and one half years ago that decided to forgo the business of running America and place "getting Obama out of office" as their # one priority. This lead to the downgrading of our country's Credit Rating and the "constipation" that has struck the Congress. Political posturing takes precedence over passing meaningful legislation. Fortunately the next generation of voters, who turned out in droves in 2012, are going to push Mr. Armey and those who share his 19 nth century thinking out of office in the coming decades. Thank you, Dick, for reminding us who and what you and your fellow Republican leaders are all about. We the people are going to throw you and your pals out on the street at the ballot box.

    June 5, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. Michael

    With comments like this, Armey must be trying to be Democrats' favorite republican. But isn't that the tea party way? Alienate everyone except like minded crackpots!

    June 5, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. Doug

    As a Republican, I applaud his decision. Chris Christie is doing what he was elected to do: Serve the people of New Jersey.....He was not elected to serve the GOP

    It's about time that more politicians realize that they work for their constituents, not their political party. Let the people of New Jersey decide whom they want as their next Senator.

    June 5, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Tighten the Belt

    For a governor who is a Republican who is supposed to tighten the belt and care about saving money for his state, the elections he has proposed are wacky and will cost umpteenth Millions of $$$ Dollars! This is not in keeping with his party's platform but neither does it particularly please the Democrats.

    June 5, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. AshesToDust

    I'm a Moderate now, with a slight lean towards Dem. Used to be Democrat. I'll never be a Republican. But I do respect some of what Christie has done and his playing "fair" is actually what the people need. I would vote for him because of what he's trying to accomplish. People like Dick Armey are definitely part of the problem. They are dividing this country and keeping it from progressing. America will implode and be taken over by other nations easly if Dems and Repubs keep fighting. The middle class is the one that suffers always, despite which party comes into power. At least Christie is trying to make a small difference. And because he's actually doing something for the people, he's hated by Republicans. Personally, we should get rid of both parties and let them all become independents. Then, at least people will do some sort of research before voting instead of voting for a specific party without thinking.

    June 5, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Kory Tarr

    "The first rule of politics is Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get"

    This isn't a gaffe, this is his actual attitude.

    Serve your constituents regardless of party affiliation Armey you turd.

    June 5, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. PushingBack

    While Christie's decision to increase election costs versus just having the election the following month can certainly be criticized, he is doing the right thing for his state. Armey should be voted out of office for putting party in front of the electorate.

    June 5, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. anothermuse

    Funny, the Dems are hot about Christie because the interim election won't be on the same date at the Govs election, a move to attempt to avoid a bigger Dem turnout that could (though might not) challenge him a bit more.

    I think if you can tick off both parties in one move you're probably doing the right thing for the country. To me Christie's independence, even if a little calculated is what seperates him from the left and the right. Can't promise him a vote in 2016, but he's my frontrunner just for not being a party stooge.

    June 5, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Pandamonius

    After Bush's 2nd term and the blatant obstructionism by the GOP, I swore I'd never vote Republican again (I'd voted Republican all my life). Christie is the ONLY republican that I'd actually vote for. It's very obvious that he puts the good of his constituents above the ambitions of his party.

    Armey's statement says it all: "for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."

    Rather than letting the VOTERS decide, the GOP wants to forcibly stick one of their own stooges into that position.

    June 5, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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