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. justathougth

    Conservatives eat their own. Boehner is probably asking himself why in the hell did I want this job?

    March 2, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  2. MikeInSA

    I'm a Tea Party supporter and I have one question..."Judson who???"

    March 2, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. dt

    Alright, TP you guys are certified nutjobs, cuts, cuts cuts that isnt governing? BTW in 2012 most of the TP will be gone too

    March 2, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. AJS

    Tea party mor0ns.

    March 2, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  5. Craig Stiffler

    The Republican tea nuts are turning on their own kind.

    March 2, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  6. al

    I'd agree with Phillips if he was referring to Boehner's Oompa Loompa orange bronzer, but to base his attacks on the man's fiscal agenda is childish and irresponsible.

    March 2, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. KathyC in Minnesota

    I predicted this would happen as soon as John Boehner was elected Speaker. That he would have trouble holding his caucus together. Especially with TP Republicans in the House.

    March 2, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. Aaron

    Boehner will really have something to cry about now that the Tea Party loons are after him.

    March 2, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  9. jma58

    There is no difference between Bonner and the pee party. They are the lackeys of big buisness and the super rich.

    March 2, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  10. Ha Ha !

    This is too funny ! The republicans made a deal with the devil and are now regretting it ! They allowed the teaparty to set their agenda and they have made the republicans look small minded and petty ! The Teaparty will destroy the republican party by the years end !

    March 2, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  11. LATFTPdotcom

    Judson Phillips is upset that the GOP is only asking for $61B in cuts, not the $100B they promised? Then Judson Phillips is simply naive. Typical Tea Party temper tantrum over not getting what they want. They are not even going to get $61B. Just because you demand something does not mean you are going to get it. Especially when you have to bargain with another side. This sort of childish naivety on the Tea Party's part is stupid and will be part of their undoing. Like every parent of a surly, spoiled child, at some point the GOP will be forced to tell the Tea Party to grow up or hit the road.

    March 2, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  12. Brad 5013

    I LOVE it when the righties fight among themselves!!!!

    March 3, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. AmericanSam

    It's called compromise. Deal with it.

    March 3, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  14. ehwilson429

    'Boner' is a loser.
    He's not a leader but just another out of place politician.

    March 3, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. thebeerdude

    You know, if he could get the Tea Party's support, people might start calling him T-Boehne.

    March 3, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. Larry Bradenton, FL

    The Republicans would have the citizens of this great nation believe they can run the government better than any other political party, yet they cannot run their own party. The GOP has become the poster child of obstructionism. They are so obsessed with obstruction they are now obstructing their own party candidates, because they don't have the proper right wing mentality.

    John McCain pushed the GOP self-destruct button when he picked Palin to run, and the party continuous to splinter into its own enemy.

    Why don't you ask Republicans and other Tea Party candidate supporters the following so the American voters will know exactly how they stand on the issues:

    1) What will they do with social security?
    2) What will they do with medicare?
    3) What will they do with medicaid?
    4) What will they do with unemployment benefits?
    5) How will they address educating our children?
    6) What restraints and controls will they endorse over Wall Street and the big banks?
    7) Will they support term limits for Congress and other political positions?
    If they undo the new health care law, will they agree to pay for their own insurance and do away with the current free Cadillac insurance politicians now enjoy?
    9) Will they agree to work at least five days a week like every other American citizen?
    10) Will they agree not to take any money from special interest groups or lobbyists?

    March 3, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  17. Qev

    Boehner to house Repugz: " Gentlemen, we have seen the enemy... and it is us. "

    March 3, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  18. wired

    How quick are the hounds to bite the hand that feeds.

    March 3, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  19. DENNA

    My, isn't the Tea Party full of itself. Excuse me, but didn't the conservatives beloved Ronald Reagan admonish Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the wall? Now they're trying to build it here in America. Seriously people, if you don't STFU, the Republican party is going to figure out that they can't make you happy no matter what and they will return to their real base – the decent conservatives in this country. You are not the boss of America. There are others here too and we are starting to get heartily sick of you.

    March 3, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  20. Zip

    Johnny was so shocked he nearly fell off his barstool and spilled his drink. But not quite.

    March 3, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  21. Gary S

    And this is where it starts getting cute. I wonder if Boehner will go the way of the Newt

    March 3, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  22. Reggie from LA

    Isn't this interesting. Just who the hello are these people? They have no compass, just some big mouth jerks and financiers. GOP has been afraid to cross them, now they are coming for them anyway? I can only imagine that chaos is their only goal. They are even more arrogant then the rightest GOP. Look luntzheads. Sorry, I meant lunkheads. Wealthy people have our money then they pimp fringe actors who become mindless megaphones. Yeah I know you have some leaders and intellect, but you are just being used by folks with greater goals than yours and you're smart enough to know it, just won't do anything to stop your cash flow. Ridiculous clowns. Pay some taxes. Get the country headed in the right direction.

    March 3, 2011 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  23. NobodySpecial

    Wow, I don't even like Boehner – but I find it weird that the Tea Party already wants to throw him under the bus when the sap is only in office for a short time. I guess if you don't measure up to their extreme right wing ideology, then you are obsolete and disposable. The American people see this as dangerous and will go against it.

    March 3, 2011 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  24. Howard

    Today's liberals, progressives, democrats ... or, what ever you want to call them, play really dirty. Whether it's Obama, his fellow politicians, or his unruly supporters ... they all completely disregard the constitution ... laws ... civility ... and judgment. Their behavior has nothing to do with ethics, morals, or character ... but, rather with winning at all costs ... and, whatever they can get away with. Obama's thugs, and his obnoxious followers, must not be allowed to undermine all the admirable qualities, and higher truths that are the best of our American culture.

    March 3, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  25. peace

    phil dont worry yourself the dem will clean the mess that the you n the dumb tea bums n gop made. so now you see how bad you nuts fu!ked up.

    March 3, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
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