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. awasis

    Tea Bags over reaching.

    March 3, 2011 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  2. Peter E

    Note that the Tea Party only attacked Boehner months after he got back into power. This despite the fact that Boehner has been a fool for years, and has completely been flip-flopping on issues for years.
    The Tea Party doesn't really care about principles. They are republican kiss-ups. They pay lip-service to their principles only after elections, but once we get closer to the actual election, they will once again be republican kiss-ups.
    If they really believed their principles, they would have kicked out Boehner, along with most of the republican leadership last November. They didn't! They showed their real principle: win elections no matter what. Screw real conservatism!

    March 3, 2011 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  3. Barry from Wisconsin

    Perhaps this sort of extremism will wake up a t least a few Republicans. I am hardly a fan of Boehner (quite the contrary). However, it appears that if you are not a perfect ideologue, the right-wing wackos will turn on you. The Republican Party is on the verge of being captured by the so-called tea party. If that happens, they will be permanently marginalized – perhaps not a bad thing at all.

    March 3, 2011 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, cut the budget! But only items that don't hurt our campaign donors. DON'T cut oil, farm, or corporate subsidies, DON'T cut medicare or social security, DON'T roll back tax cuts for the rich, DON'T cut back on the military budget going to private contractors. That leaves... uh, oh, less than $100 billion in the budget we are able to cut...

    March 3, 2011 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  5. Coachbob

    It's about time. Each election we elect leadership based on their platform and the promises they make to us for change. After the elections the only change are new faces with the same old story: "Oops, we can't do what we promised you, sorry, now where's the resolution for our pay raise?"

    March 3, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  6. Charlie in Maine

    Hey pal, If this guy is not conservative enough for you then your should move to Iran, cause he;s as conservative as our ststem will produce you knuckle dragging moron.

    March 3, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  7. Amy

    Does this tool even live in Boehner's district? I love it when so called Tea Party "leaders" start talking about races in states and districts far outside where they live; they sound just like old school establishmentarians who think they can just wave a wand and tell voters what to do. I want to see Judson primaried for his race for Tea Party "leader." Oh wait ...

    March 3, 2011 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  8. Marto

    What does Sarah Palin have to say about this? Let the fun begin!

    March 3, 2011 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  9. Chedar

    Now we got the Tea Party Express whoop! I heard of a Coffee Party but it did not materialized. Where are these group. Maybe they were not funded by the cock brothers.

    March 3, 2011 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  10. Amy

    Judson, can you tell us how when you were elected to Congress you guys went about cutting spending? It sure sounds like the GOP majority could use your insight and expertise.

    March 3, 2011 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  11. mike

    maybe he'll get off his health care obsession and focus on what is really wrong now

    March 3, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  12. jack

    So, what else is new. We all knew that.

    March 3, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  13. Cajun_Dude

    I think they are running statements scripted and paid for by the Koach brothers. The cuts the Tea-baggers are pushing for is to pay for the large tax break to bail out the millionaires. I didn't even know they were unemployed.

    March 3, 2011 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  14. Ain't life strange?

    The GOP...and its extended family The Tea Baggers is the party of threats. They don't produce facts for making their decisions about this budget cutting effort (etc) like, 'why we feel we can live without this' and 'why its good for the American people as a whole'. But, what they do offer are threats to shut down the government, or call democrats obstructionists, or throw a hissy fit or whatever. Grow up boneheads. This is not like playing monopoly. Real people with lives not as good as yours are at risk here.

    March 3, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  15. sick of republican phonies

    The repub cuts do NOTHING to address the long- term deficit. They are frightened to take on the military, agribiz subsidies, and social security (like all pols are). They are just following their political ideology, trying to destroy unions, the EPA, planned parenthood, etc. and hoping their idiot supporters think that's enough. How about addressing some of the corporate welfare or offshore tax dodges?

    March 3, 2011 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  16. more obama retoric

    Just another obama puppet, makes deals because he cant go a week without pay, should have shut the govt. down and let all those idiots in washington feel the pain of the American people. Tea Partiers and We THe People, it is time we all came together and revolt against the repression of the obama's and the repubs, Hell with both parties.

    March 3, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  17. Be_O_Be

    “We’re getting more of the same political games as we have gotten in the past,”
    Because you are the tea party you thought they would treat you differently?
    You got what you paid for, a knit-wit. Live with it,

    March 3, 2011 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  18. Forrest

    The monster is turning on it's creator. Grab the torches, i'll meet you at the windmill.

    March 3, 2011 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  19. Saxo Grammaticus

    The Tea Party proves, once again, that being really, really, really, really, really angry just isn't a program, doesn't answer any questions, doesn't solve any problems. It's just a tantrum.

    March 3, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  20. Judy Brown

    If the Tea Party really wanted change they should have concentrated on the Good Old Boy network instead of targeting Dems. They put the same old GOPers back in and expected different results. Idiots!

    March 3, 2011 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  21. William R. Hill

    It has ever been thus. Some species eat their young. Following the "Gingrich revolution," the GOP found that unrealistic goals, are seldom achievable. Apparently unaware of the old maxim that "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it",
    they're at it again, and looking very much like the mean-spirited, sour grapes party in the process.

    March 3, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  22. don

    Leave Boehner alone Tea Party he is crazy enough. They can all be Palins, Bachmans, Angles and O'donnells

    March 3, 2011 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  23. CincyRules

    Hey Judson Phillips, why don't you worry about your own district's congressman. As someone who actually likes John, and lives in the area that votes for him overwhelmingly, let me be clear: we don't want your travelling tea-party circus to come to town. We can select our own leaders.

    March 3, 2011 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  24. Steve in texas

    Maybe they can fire the teachers, re-hire then and then fire them again? Or fire teacher's family members? Nice to see them hitting the self-destruct button already.

    March 3, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  25. OH YEAH?

    Boner and company are too busy with abortion and marriages, neither of which has any effect on the economy.

    March 3, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
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