November 1st, 2009
01:43 PM ET
5 years ago

Top Republican sounds off on 'political rebellion'


Washington (CNN) – Trying to explain successful efforts by conservatives to topple the Republican establishment’s pick to run in an upstate New York congressional special election, a leading Republican said Sunday that he thinks the country is in the midst of a “political rebellion” driven largely by people who have not previously been vocal in the political process.

“We’re in the middle, I think, of a political rebellion going on in America,” House Majority Leader John Boehner said on CNN’s State of the Union, ”And this rebellion is by people who really have not been actively involved in the political process and they don’t really care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. They want to see people who are going to stand up and protect the future for our kids and grandkids.”

Boehner also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that Republicans will have “a difficult road to walk to work with relatively new entrants into the political system to show them, that by and large, we are the party that represents their interests.”

But Boehner also tried to downplay the significance of Saturday’s surprise announcement by moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava who decided to bow out of a hotly contested three-way race in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

“This is a pretty unusual situation,” Boehner said of the decision by conservative Republican Doug Hoffman to run against Scozzafava on the Conservative Party ticket in Tuesday’s special election. “Clearly,” Boehner observed, [Scozzafava] would be on the left side of our party.”

Notwithstanding that GOP civil war that brewed in New York’s 23rd district until Scozzafava’s announcement Saturday, the leading House Republican said his party still casts a big, welcome tent to all those who would call themselves Republican.

“We accept moderates in our party. We want moderates in our party. We cover a wide range of Americans,” the Ohio Republican told King.

“What we need is . . . a broad group of people in our party,” Boehner said, rejecting King’s suggestion that the conservative attacks on Scozzafava and support for Hoffman might be a shot over the bow to more moderate would-be Republican candidates especially in New England.

And Boehner appeared to concede Sunday that the growing political power of the conservative grassroots is placing stress on his party.

The House Minority Leader said he was “a big believer” of former President Ronald Reagan’s edict that Republicans should “never talk ill about another Republican.”

“That was not followed in this race,” King said of the Scozzafava-Hoffman battle.

“I know,” Boehner bluntly replied.


Filed under: GOP • John Boehner • NY-23 • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Interceptor

    The only "rebellion" going on is the circular firing squad the GOP is conducting on its own members that don't meet the radical far-right litmus test. By forcing their own nominee, Scozzafava, to drop out, the GOP has guaranteed that the Democratic candidate will win. New York doesn't elect far-right Republicans.

    November 1, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Akira Yamadori

    The Republican Party is unfortunatly becoming the party of the lunatic nutjob right-wingers such as Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, "Pastor" John Hagee, Glenn Beck, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Carl Rove, Tim Pawlenty, and others.
    Decent people are being driven away.

    God Help the USA if these people control the next Presidential election, and one of their number is elected. It will be the end of the United States. Eight years of George W. Bush and the influence of right-wing Christians, militarists, and just plain lunatics has caused all of the economic, social, and political (foreign and domestic) problems we have now.
    If we had had a sane and reasonable President from 2001-2009 (Kerry, Gore, or a Kennedy) we would not have the disasterous problems in the USA we do now.

    November 1, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Ken

    What you're seeing is the continuing divide, encouraged by Obama, of the liberal and conservative sides of the nation. On the liberal side, a group of 60 ultra liberals (who label themselves as progressives to hide their agenda) have forced the rest of the democrats to include public options that the majority do not want. On the convervative side you see moderates losing in primaries to the more conservative candidates who promise to do something about those ultra-liberals. The polarization is continuing to increase as each side KNOWS in their hearts that they are right, and both sides KNOW they must act to save the country from the others. This is not going to end well...

    November 1, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Marc

    That's right Mr Boner, be more radical, show more hatred and disdain for elected officials. Radicalize the GOP even more than it already is. Why don't you change the GOP name to the American Taliban Party? That is really what you Republicans want, a religious theocracy dictatorship like in Iran. Making a revolution is all right, all against everything that the GOP is turning into. I've never seen such anger and hatred being displayed in politics as in today's environment. Seems to me that you will all radicalize your selves into irrelevancy. A fate well deserved. Fools!

    November 1, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. kgeukes

    So Jim Bob...how 'bout electing someone else when he comes up for re-election??

    November 1, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Abdur Azad, New York

    I am worried about John McCain. In the next election some one from the conservative block is very likely to seek party ticket leaving John. What GOP will do then? They will throw John under the bus? May be.
    NY-23 is an indicator that GOP is no longer a big tent. Entrance in this tent is going to be very limited. If the process continues, GOP is going to be a local party, not even a REGIONAL PARTY. That is very bad for American democracy. Because, ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.

    November 1, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Joanna in PA

    Ahh GOP the court is more left of center than right of center. I think it is a huge mistake for you to go more extremist. But its wonderful for the dems.

    November 1, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Ray in Nashville

    @ Bryan

    You do not believe in abortion, I do. We, however, really don't have a say since we are not the ones who have to decide whether we wish to have one or not. Of course, that's the problem with conservatives, they think the government should stay out of everything except our personal lives.

    As for the government ruining everything it controls, I think you have something backwards here. Big business has ruined the government that it has controlled for the past 25 years.

    By all means, though, let's look to the founding fathers who endowed us with a constitution that says the government shall, among other things, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and provide for the general welfare (meaning well being) of the people. That gives the government the power to take on corporate greed if they need to.

    If you are against the redistribution of wealth in this country, then you would have been against the Republican agenda of supporting the very wealthy in this country against the middle class, average American who have seen their real earning powers shrink in the nearly 30 years of Reagan's "trickle down" economic policies that have been in force in this country.

    November 1, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Soporifix

    The GOP is "rebelling" like the Communists "rebelled" against Boris Yeltsin - the imbeciles who created the problem and had no clue how to fix it, now screeching about the consequences of their own incompetence and criminal stupidity.

    November 1, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. JD

    The GOP had best stand up and take note of these recent events. Every time the GOP stands up for its conservative principles, America and the party rack up the wins. Every time these liberal "big tent" sell-outs try to push liberalism under the GOP name, all America and the party loses.

    Enough is enough. If I want to vote for big government, high-tax, anti-business and anti-constitution leftists, I'll vote Democrat.

    November 1, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. joel palmer

    Boehner is spinning madly; this is a huge misreading of the political climate. Far right wing crypto-nazis seizing control of the republican party is not political rebellion so much as political suicide. The defection of deedee scozzafava will guarantee a democrat will be elected in a district held by the gop for a century. The gop is marginalizing itself and the dems need only watch and cheer. Independents, who are the majority in this country, will never follow a far right wing staregy; Goldwater proved that in 1964. The gop has forgotten.

    November 1, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. SkiDoc

    Boehner is right on point. There is a rebellion among average folk and it is coming down hard against Obama empty-speak and in favor of principled conservative nominees. Can't wait to watch the left media spin the results of a 3 for 3 sweep for conservatives in VA, NJ and Dist. 23. Slowly this country is waking up!

    November 1, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Michael

    House Majority Leader John Boehner

    The idea of "Majority Leader Boehner" should give all Americans pause before the next time they cast a ballot for the U.S. House candidate so they can realize what a disaster it would be.

    November 1, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Lost in Texas Forever

    every time I see Boehner and hear him open his mouth it just reminds me of why the GOP is in the sad shape that it is....an old party with no new ideas run by a bunch of middle age to old white guys that don't want to come into the 21st century and try to put down those in their party that do. This is why people like Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck can have run of the party at will...nobody there will stand up to them and say we need a new direction. The party of Regan and Lincoln is but a shell of itself.

    November 1, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Eric of Reseda

    Mr. Boehner, when you say, "people who really have not been actively involved in the political process", you got that right, buddy. And while you THINK all these new voices come down on YOUR side, you better beware. it is clear that you Ultra-Conservatives are trying to create anarchy, but you better beware. the future of our kids does NOT belong to the corrupt, racist, uber-capitalistic, war-mongering, environment-destroying people like you. And while your people are carrying AK's and side-arms to places where my President is speaking, you better know there's a WHOLE bunch of us out there watching...waiting for you yahoos to make your move. You think Liberals are afraid to fight? Think again....

    November 1, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Reagan was wrong

    "Boehner also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that Republicans will have “a difficult road to walk to work with relatively new entrants into the political system to show them, that by and large, we are the party that represents their interests.”

    Really? Wow I must've missed the news that a bunch of new billionaire megacapitalists had joined the political system, since that is the kind of person whose interests are represented by the GOP.

    Yeah, they talk a lot about the heartland and god and all that, but they only do so because advocating for the richest 1% won't really get that many people to support their cause.

    November 1, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Robert

    I think that people should run independent its better for the amercian people

    also. I wish cnn would do a report on how to choose a presidental contender because its messed up thay congress has to vote on that

    – robert nyc

    November 1, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    What Boehner doesn't realize is that it started back in 2006 when we started to realize what Reagonomics and Republican ideals in general were just a way to shift wealth upwards. A lot of it, and sadly a little late. This disparity hasn't been seen since the Gilded Age. Of course he wouldn't see it that way, that would mean he's open minded. I don't get that from him.

    November 1, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    Do you want to know why newpeople are not joining the GOP while to older onesare dying out?

    No it is not because of all the lies and garbage he GOP leadership spews out, pople really like garbage and lies, they like to be told they are good, beautiful and smart when they are really the ignorant, ugly and dumb. But that is not the point.

    People are not joining the GOP because the first thing out of their mouths is "the good ole days". "or we have to get back to."

    Life moves forward not backward, so while the Democrats are saying we need to build a better future, the GOP says we need to bring back the good ole days, day sof what? Segregaton? Male-Female inequality? Anti-gay, anti-black, anti-red, andti-yellow purple and gold prejudices? Though it may sound appealing to shut Sarah Palin in a kitchen for a while, that is not the point.

    We need to move forward, you're not going to get a kid on your side by trying to sell them a game of Pong when they can get Grand Theft Auto. The Democrats get it, The GOP doesn't, and thank God it will show.

    For you knuckleheads screaming the GOP will make a comeback in 2010, that is all wishfull thinking. You just don't have any more man power to do it. And in 20 years, the only way there will even be a remenance of GOP will be if they reinvent themeselves completely. But you know what they say, you cant teach an old Bohener new tricks.

    November 1, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. Fed Up

    Yes, hopefully this will be a rebellion – against both parties. Any good independents out there that want to run, and possibly win this time???? People are fed up with the arrogance, and incompetence, that is in Washington these days.

    November 1, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Hammerer

    Time for the politicians to admit that the voters are tired of politics as usual. Promises will not work any longer. Results counts. Congress is filled with politicians that only want be re-elected and fill their bank account with dollars from special interest groups for their floor vote.
    The time has come to demand honesty and accountability.

    November 1, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. dawn

    Translation: The republicans are rebelling everything and taking on the new person suddenly getting involved (racist).

    November 1, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. NVa Native

    Interesting (and sad) how many posts are trying to tie President Obama with their Dubya? It is probably already in use on Fox media and hate radio talking points. So now we know what's coming, everyone take notice of this.

    Bush is pure Republican and all of them supported him all eight long years, and continue his culture of arrogance and ignorance. We of the other side do not have the memory or simple brains of sheep.
    The rest of us think and therefore do not vote against our self interest, unlike the Repub base. Which includes the "conservatives", "tea-baggers", "birthers", "asstro-turfers", "neo-cons", or whatever meaningless marketing name they dreamed up.

    November 1, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. GPC

    REbellion by castigating, marginalizng, and excluding those who disagree with you is the basest form of dictatorship.

    November 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Steve, New York City

    Wow – so the Republican party is aiming to fill itself with birthers, anti-science types (who believe that politicians somehow know more about global warming than climatologists), and loud-mouthed half-wits who believe anything uttered by stooges, such as Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck.

    I am Republican!!

    I am DISGUSTED by the turn the party has taken. Where are the guys like Bush '41, Chris Shays, or Weld of Massachussets? If you guys keep throwing me people like Palin or Toomey, I am DEFINITELY leaving the party.

    November 1, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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