Tea Party leader: Boehner looks 'like a fool,' should be defeated in a primary
March 2nd, 2011
10:03 PM ET
3 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. Dennis from Millbrae

    I love it when the Republicans get in a circular fiing squad and start verbally shooting on the command, "Ready, fire, aim!"

    March 3, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  2. Lisa Mitchell

    Hahahahahahahahahaaaaaa! Classic! Let the hair pulling, back stabbing, eye gouging, mud wresting begin!! These people act like highschool girls, fighting over the quarterback in the locker room~ Great leaders!

    March 3, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  3. Dictionary

    The Republicans eat their young.

    March 3, 2011 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  4. Tony

    The Tea Party is nothing more than a corporate driven attempt to take advantage of close-minded uninformed middle-income individuals for the sole purpose of destroying the middle-class. Everything they want will drastically and negatively impact middle-income earning individuals' lives and they can't even see that. They're all voting against their own self-interests while these multi-billion corporations are sitting back laughing at just how ignorant their "minions" are. The Tea Party is a shameful attempt at Democracy with a dose of bullying and should be squashed or at least significantly reformed.

    March 3, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  5. johnessj

    so now we all know who run the gop, a pair of demons name judson and amy. my question is who on the true republican side going to have a god heart to god slap these two demons out of goverment business. if john kowtow to these tea party idiots than all respect for the gop are lost. im absolutely certain the democrats have the balls to defeat any tea party nation in all arenas. im waiting to see if the republicans have the matching balls to sits among us in the goverment round tables.

    March 3, 2011 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. johnessj

    so now we all know who run the gop, a pair of demons name judson and amy. my question is who on the true republican side going to have a god heart to god slap these two demons out of goverment business. if john kowtow to these tea party idiots than all respect for the gop are lost. im absolutely certain the democrats have the balls to defeat any tea party nation in all arenas. im waiting to see if the republicans have the matching balls to sits among us in the goverment round tables.

    March 3, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  7. Paul Willson

    I am not that big a fan of this man.BUT he is the leader of the GOP in the House and deserves more respect. The tea party types are making themselves look silly little people .

    March 3, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  8. Al

    WOW!! I would love to see the Tea Party eat up the speaker of the house.

    March 3, 2011 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  9. The Unsub

    No surprise here....it was only a matter of time that the tea potty turned on him. He is in over his head! A very poor Speaker. You kinda realize how good of a Speaker Pelosi was!

    March 3, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  10. Doc Ock

    Wow...you can actually hear the "Looney Tunes" theme playing here.

    March 3, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  11. Barry

    It couldn't happen to a nicer person. Or an orange-r person.

    March 3, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  12. Dave in Silver Springs

    The Republican tea bagger movement is declining faster than I imagined it would. Gives the weeper of the House something more to cry about.

    March 3, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  13. TransWarpDrive

    That's it, kids – keep fighting!
    This dissension in the ranks will only make it that much easier to defeat those right-wing boneheads in 2012....

    March 3, 2011 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  14. Xavier

    Dr. Frankenstein was destroyed by his own monster too.

    March 3, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  15. Chris

    Again, the Tea Party treats spending cuts as if they were some magical cure all.

    It would be much more convincing if we did not hear a tax cut for rich or coporations tied to every comment about spending cuts. Cutting spending in order to allow for tax cuts does not cut the budget.

    The military budget is $800 billion – and not only do Republicans refuse to reduce it at all, they actually want to increase it. But they are all for massive cuts to education and clean air. This is madness!

    March 3, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  16. Cardog

    Can someone please explain to me who the hell these Tea party nut cakes think they are? First of all they have no official capacity to dictate anything, other then fear. Have our politicians both Democrats and Republicans, become such wimps that they have to wait until some high schooled educated hick says it's Ok or no Ok?

    As a country, we have some problems to fix, no doubt, but this has gotten to be ridiculous. When will America tell these idiots to go back to their farms and grow something?

    March 3, 2011 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  17. Earthchild

    Get lost already! The Tea Party and co. are bunch of lunatics. I can't wait to vote them out and so does a whole bunch of people i know. We were all duped last midterm. Never again!

    March 3, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  18. peace

    what the hell did you expect from a drunk . I think all of you tea baggers are drunks n drug addicts.

    March 3, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  19. bobby

    Is Boehner crying yet?

    March 3, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  20. willie floyd

    Ever heard of UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL?? Guess Reps. don't believe that. Gonna feel a heap of hurt when they do fall-and they will.

    March 3, 2011 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  21. hullabaloo

    John Boehner is working hard in a thankless job. Both he and Nancy Pelosi deserve more respect than they get.

    March 3, 2011 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  22. Wow

    Didn't take long for you people to start eating your young...

    March 3, 2011 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  23. CBR

    Another threat by the Tea Party. The idea that Congress will do exactly as the Tea Party wishes is not realistic. The Party is threatening John Boehner. He is in good company with Sen. Hatch and Sen. Lugar who also have been warned that they must carry the Tea Party banner.

    This country is build on compromise. Just think about the compromises which were made when the Constitution was written. No one party or group of people should be able to threaten politicians over budget cuts or anything else. Yet, we allow this group to think they have power and will prevail. It is time for compromise if we are to get out of this fiscal crisis.

    John Boehner is the Speaker of the House because the Republicans want him there. I do not defend John Boehner or his politics but he is the duly elected Speaks of the House. His constituents re-elected him last November. As long as the Republicans are the majority party in the House of Representatives, John Boehner will hold his position. Can we disagree with his leadership style – yes, Can we threaten to defeat him because he is not doing was a small percentage of Americans wanted him to do. No. Promises are made but sometimes there are other factors which must come into play. $100 billion was a mythical number and I do not think we will see $100 billion in cuts unless we want to imperil programs that are good for America as well as those that are a case of overspending.

    March 3, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  24. Wow

    Here's the answer...RAISE taxes. The problem isn't spending, which is negligible, the problem is revenue. Start by getting ridding of the worthless tax cuts to the rich that cost us $700 billion and start raising all the brackets to bring the deficiet down.

    March 3, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  25. America fell asleep

    Hahaha...Act I is over...Intermission.. Time to get more popcorn.

    March 3, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
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