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. sgurdog

    So let's look at what happened the last time a Democratic Senator died...Ted Kennedy's seat was temporarily filled by a Democrat until a special election was held, in which a Republican (Scott Brown) won. Dick Armey is a tool who doesn't speak the facts, which is why he fit in so well with the Tea Party that he used for political gain.

    June 5, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. john h

    Well done Gov. Christie for doing right by the Citizens of NJ. What is the point of partisan politics if it does not serve the citizens. CC for POTUS!

    June 5, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Jason

    Another vile GOPer/Neocon proving that Neocons can't win an election without cheating so they are rigging it

    June 5, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Andrew V.

    Christie had three options:
    1) Appoint a republican yes man who would just follow party lines. The only purpose for that would be to appease republicans. He couldn't have picked a moderate because they have no place in the republican party anymore.
    2) Appoint a democrat in which case he would be going directly against the republican party, but appease democrats.
    3) Hold a special election in which case he is leaving it up to the people of his state to decide.

    Christie made the right move by not being partisan. He is holding his state's residents interest ahead of republican part interests. If this makes him 'debilitatingly stupid', then this country is doomed. Dick Armey doesn't deserve a seat in congress.

    June 5, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. uniquelyme

    God forbid that a public servant should actually set up an election for the people to decide who fills the office of...a public servant! *gasp* Of course, what could he have possibly been thinking?!! *snicker* The GOP practically said it out loud: They don't have any interest "the people." They want only their own agenda and power at any and all costs, and they talk about Obama being a "dictator." Riiiiiight...

    June 5, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. PeriSoft

    "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."

    I'm a Democrat, and I love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than taking the political opportunity. I don't know if I'd approve of his policies enough to vote for him for Pres, but I'd listen carefully to him. He's earned that much.

    June 5, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Chip

    The voters of New Jersey should be the ones to decide who takes the seat. Christie made the right call here. The "debilitating stupidity" falls among those in power who place their party above the voters they represent. I'd say "Are you listening, Mr. Armey?" but we all know the answer to that.

    June 5, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Bennycat

    I always make a point of consulting Dick Armey before I make any political decisions. How could Governor Christie be so lax?

    June 5, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. sgompers

    My advice to Gov. Christie would be , who cares what Dick Armey thinks. He's a washed up politician that basically stabbed his own Tea Party flks in the back. Thanks Gov. Christie for doing the right thing. We could all take a note from your actions.

    June 5, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Rob Lassiter

    Another day, another outrage about stupidity from the Party of Stupid. You have Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal upset at their constituencies being so stupid, yet they don't realize they never would have been elected if not by the stupid. Similarly, Joe Scarborough would not have an audience if not for the highly stupid. Don't they get it yet?

    The stupid WILL ALWAYS OUTNUMBER the intelligent. Everyone prematurel prognosticating the demise of the Republican Party are going to be sorely disappointed. The stupid will always cling to the political-right no matter how little they actually represent their interests; there is "no where else" for them to go.

    June 5, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Ol' Bob

    IMO Dick Armey's got his head up his political derriere. Christie knows he's a Republican governor of a Democratic-leaning state. If he appoints a Republican to fill Lautenberg's seat he screws himself with the voters come November. If he appoints a Democrat he completely takes the issue off of his electoral plate, *and* makes the Republican's situation in the Senate no worse than it was before Sen. Lautenberg passed away. In a political sense, it's the best possible move. At this point, if there was a presidential race underway and Christie was in, I'd give serious consideration to voting for him – which is more than I can say for any other Republican you can name. He's demonstrated a willingness to work with anyone, talk to anyone, and thank anyone. He appears to be one of a very few independent-minded Republicans in a party of lock-steppers. He's free of the "Washington-establishment-brain-damaged-Republican" taint. He's not a teabagger. AFAIK he hasn't signed the Norquist Brain-Damage pledge. IMO he's worth a look.

    June 5, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. ksiner

    Dick... what an appropriate name for this guy

    June 5, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Christine

    He did the right thing! Great job Gov. Christie! You care more about the people of New Jersey than party politics. If you run for President you have my vote!

    June 5, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Panam47

    Sad that Dick Armey thinks that way, no wonder he was a drag on progress.

    June 5, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Michael

    Keep in mind that Dick Armey is a political hack, first, forever, and always.

    Christie gets high marks for wanting to give the electorate a chance to select their Senator as soon as possible. Christie's stupidity lies in his decision to set a special election three weeks before the scheduled election, rather than incorporate the special election into the scheduled general election.

    By creating a special election, voter turnout for the general election will be lower than it otherwise might be had the general election included both a senate race and a governor race. Christie personally doesn't have to worry about voter turnout. He's going to win the election handily without regard to voter turnout.

    But, by lowering voter turnout in the general election, republican legislators who might otherwise lose a close race with high voter turnout have a better chance of winning their race. This is the political calculation in his decision.

    June 5, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Bubba

    Christie just gave the 2016 Presidential election to the Democrats (i.e. Hillary). Here's why; Chrisite was never going to be apointed the GOP candidate, because Conservative (nice word for Extremist) Southerners will never vote for a Yankee. (Think Romney's huge loss to the Big O.)
    Thus, the GOP will choose a super religious Southern blowhard, who will loose in the general election to Hillary's center left positions. Thanks Gov. Three more years of Obama, followed by eight with Hillary. The Supreme Court is about to change, and the GOP is about to be led back into its cave.

    June 5, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. keven

    Armey is your typical win at all / any cost Republican. Doing whats right would not even be considered.

    June 5, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Jessica

    This former Democrat-turned-independant is happy to vote for someone who plays fair. Just putting it out there.

    June 5, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. d

    This is the problem with our government. Dick's quote:l "People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity,"

    Debilitating stupidity is apparently doing what you think the people want instead of what helps you get re-elected.

    Maybe one day elected officials will put the people before themselves.... LOL

    June 5, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. sm5574

    Does he realize he's arguing for everything that people hate about politicians?

    June 5, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Dick46

    Dick who?

    June 5, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Belleville

    regardless of party, it should be clear to all of us that Dick Army is part of the problem and not a solution. I a democracy I applaud Gov Christie for being open minded, flexible, and God willing putting others ahead of a political manuever. How much longer can this country wait to lay to rest the old republican dumbasses that are stuck in a time warp somewhere between 3 and 4 decades and I'm being kind there. D.Army shut up, go home, and play golf, each time you open your mouth several more voters become acutely aware of how stupid you have become.

    June 5, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Max

    Dick Army is an idiot! I am a independent centerist voter who will vote democrat or republican based on their platform. Christie's move made me much more likely to vote for him in a future presidential election.

    June 5, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. dike

    Dick is showing the true colors of his party, dont play fair, short term gain, back stab if needed....

    June 5, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. A traveler

    A politician that does the right thing is rare. Thank you Governor Christie. Perhaps others will learn from your leadership.

    June 5, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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