Tea Party leader: Boehner looks 'like a fool,' should be defeated in a primary
March 2nd, 2011
10:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Tea Party leader: Boehner looks 'like a fool,' should be defeated in a primary

Washington (CNN) – In another display of the Tea Party movement turning on its own ideological supporters, the head of one prominent group has said that House Speaker John Boehner looks “like a fool” as House Republicans push spending cuts in their budget proposal. And that leader wants the Tea Party movement to set a goal for 2012: to defeat Boehner in a Republican primary.

To help make his point, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips even referenced a story currently feeding a pop-culture frenzy.

“Charlie Sheen is now making more sense than John Boehner,” Phillips wrote in a post to his group’s website on Wednesday.

CNN contacted Boehner’s campaign for reaction, but a spokesman declined to comment.

At issue is the spending proposal recently passed in the House that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2011 - which ends September 30. It would cut $61 billion from current spending levels.

Noting an earlier pledge from Republicans, Phillips said the $61 billion is not enough.

“Early on, the GOP promised to cut $100 billion from the budget,” Phillips wrote in the website posting. “The Republicans in the House quickly went squishy on that and had to be cajoled into cutting only $61 billion. Now, John Boehner is saying when the Senate comes back and they start negotiating…the $61 billion figure is not safe.”

The speaker recently said that the House “has a position” regarding negotiations over the bill. “How do you start a conversation where one (chamber) has spoken and the other one hasn’t?” Boehner asked.

Those comments refer to what will surely be difficult negotiations with the Democratically-controlled Senate.

As Democrats work on their own ideas for a budget, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, told reporters that the House’s $61 billion spending cut package is a “non-starter.” Many Democrats believe that the GOP reductions in discretionary spending are too severe.

President Obama has threatened to veto the current GOP package, should it reach his desk. On Wednesday, the president signed into law a measure that extends funding for the federal government by two weeks – averting a government shutdown – while cutting $4 billion from current spending levels. It gives lawmakers more time to hammer out a more comprehensive spending plan.

In a telephone interview with CNN, the Tea Party leader acknowledged that Republicans will not get all they want. But he also claimed that Boehner is not “operating from a position of strength.”

Phillips’ call for a Boehner primary defeat is not shared by at least one other major group that is part of the conservative movement.

The Tea Party Express disagrees with the notion, though its leader agrees with the general call for more spending cuts.

“I can’t say I’m extremely happy with [Republican] leadership,” Chairman Amy Kremer told CNN. “But I do think that they have taken steps in the right direction. I don’t think we can be purists about this. We’re in a very, very difficult situation. And we did not get here overnight.

"Can they cut more? Absolutely,” she added.

Kremer’s words echo the sentiment from other conservative activists. At a Tea Party Patriots summit in Phoenix on Friday, Republican Rep. Joe Barton was booed when he mentioned the $61 billion spending cut proposal. Activists screamed, “More, more!”

Phillips was emphatic about wanting Boehner defeated.

“We’re getting more of the same political games as we have gotten in the past,” he told CNN. “Boehner can redeem himself if they will get serious about cutting spending."

When asked if he was delivering an ultimatum, the Tea Party leader responded: “Yes.”

“If Boehner doesn’t get up there, get on the ball, and start getting us some serious budget cuts –- I’m going to do whatever I can to have someone run a primary against Boehner.”


Filed under: John Boehner • Tea Party Nation
soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I love it when vicious animals like these turn on each other!

    March 2, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. Clwyd

    He is a drunken chain smoking fool, but then the teabugger should know one when they see one. They are all alike!

    March 2, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. sqeptiq

    Hey hey! Ho ho! That liberal RINO has to go!

    March 2, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  4. CJPA

    Wow - that's enough to make a grown man cry!!!

    March 2, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  5. A president of a corporation, a Tea Party Activist and a union member are sitting in front of a plate of 12 cookies . . .

    The CEO takes 11 and turns to the Tea Party activist and says "watch out for that union guy, he's gonna take part of your cookie."

    March 2, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. socal frank

    It all started when Ronald Reagan cut funding for mental health clinics and care facilities. Now there are thousands of displaced mentally ill people wandering through the streets of America. Some of them were elected to office as Republicans and many have joined the Tea Party. And that is why our government is going insane.

    March 2, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. Ryan NC

    And once again the republicans are slave of an extremist minority... This is 2000 reload!

    March 2, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. Ryan NC

    And once again the Rrpublicans are slave of an extremist minority!

    March 2, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. John Locke

    And so the feeding frenzy begins with the Tea party nutjobs.

    March 2, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. Sgt Schultz

    But he has a killer tan and plays a great game of golf while he pals around with his lobbyist drinking buddies

    March 2, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Wow show time. The chickens are now coming home to roost.

    March 2, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. sparky

    how cute, the teatards are turning on their own. maybe if they wish hard enough, they will achiece the anarchy they so desperately desire...

    March 2, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    Is this guy really as inept as he appears? Now he wants to go after Medicare and Social Security? Why do Republicans want to pay down the deficit on the backs of hard working Americans and the elderly while giving tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and billion dollar corporations? And most importantly, why are we tolerating this behavior?

    March 2, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Elphaba

    Things are continuing as they have been, only they're intensifying. The Republican Party is imploding.

    March 2, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  15. Debbie from Arizona

    It was only a matter of time. These Tea Party folks won't be happy until our country is ruled by only one party, theirs. It's time America wakes up to the fact that they are dangerous. They do not want a democratic republic, they want a dictatorship with the Tea Party calling all the shots. This is unacceptable.

    March 2, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Jack47

    So, now that someone doesn't agree with you Mr. Judson Phillips; so you are going to throw a little temper tatum!

    You are very childish, sir, and out of control!

    March 2, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  17. Ken in NC

    Republicans doubled down and made no effort to help the Tea Baggers understand how the process works and now they are ripping the Republican party apart. I do not want to see the Tea baggers gain control in the House or Senate but if they did, it would serve Republicans and Democrats right. Neither party has tried to bring them into the fold. Now the time is coming when I suspect the Republican party is going to suffer a worse defeat than did Democrats in November and control will slip back into the hands of Democrats. I do agree with one thing said by Tea Baggers. "The Whinner of The House" does look like a fool and is in need of replacement so as to allow him to go back to sweeping and moppong floors at the bar and playing golf.

    March 2, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. DAW, NC

    Lost in space its the Tea party, feeding on their own, how much farther will they go, just think of them actually being able to make the decisions without someone pushing back, pretty scary.

    March 2, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  19. roscoepcoltrain

    Looks like the tea party is headed toward self-destruction. Anything that is too extreme and overbearing succumbs to its own arrogance and zealotry. The tea party will be but a blip on the radar screen in a very short time. The operative word will and must always be moderation in everything. Good Bye tea party!

    March 2, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. Marge

    WELL darn..The tea bags got something correct for once. Boehner not only looks like a fool he is a fool.

    March 2, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  21. mlc in CA

    Yeah, the back stabbers just keep on hittin'. What a bunch of mean, lowbrow, nitwits. Glad I don't like tea, or tea parties.

    March 2, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  22. John

    boner is a national embarassment. So are the tea baggers.

    March 2, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  23. DC_Res

    Pfft.

    It seems these Tea Baggers are still confused about how our government runs. Turns out the Speaker of the House of Representatives isn't the King of the World and can't just sneeze out whatever laws his cowardly constituents want. Republicans have a slim majority in the LOWER house of Congress and they think this guy has the final say in this debate? Get a clue.

    The most telling sentence of this quip is the best: "I'm going to do whatever I can to have someone run a primary against Boehner." Haha, okay tough guy. Get someone else to do it. Do me a favor and close your mouth first.

    March 2, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  24. Watcher

    Teabuggers. Watch as they eat their own.

    March 2, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. Karl

    Poetic Justice

    March 2, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
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