November 1st, 2009
01:43 PM ET
12 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. B

    Actually Boehner is not being honest in what he is saying. The American people just made their choice about what they want and expect and it is NOT what the Republicans are offering anyone!
    They have a strong following of some twenty percent in the whole country. If they think that they can not reach out to anyone else, they will stay in the wilderness forever..

    They are obsolete and OUT of touch with current reality.

    November 1, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. laughing pretty hard

    Big tent? It's more like a pup tent! Stop being the party of "NO" and start offering coherent solutions! You lost the election because the real people in America saw through your rhetoric to realize it was nothing but smoke and mirrors...and no solutions to anything. I think you republicans are still shocked that people stopped buying your nonsense! You lost. Get over it! Start offering solutions instead of just being negative, or you're going to keep losing!

    November 1, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. David

    Mr Boehner, you better post a sign for Rush, Sara and Glenn Beck " No Moderates allowed in the Republican party" and conservatives will destroy your party. Any moderates republicans are welcomed to our party of the Democrats and our arms are welcomed. Look at Allan Spector who left the Republican party and became a Democrat. I am voting straight Democratic ticket November period.. I really feel sorry in a way for everyone in the party when your own party falls because of RUSH, SARAH, Cheney, Dick Army and Glenn Beck who are extreme radicals and promoting it.

    November 1, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. vance

    He is correct for once and should be one of those removed from office as well. However, the so call rebellion should have started 8 years ago and that would have prevented most of the problems that we are dealing with now.

    November 1, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    Yes, the Republicans who lost in 2006 and 2008 are so angry they see a rebellion coming. They think they're the only ones that are saintly and that their anger is more important than anyone else's.

    In the end what's happening here is that Republicans have been acting like unruly teenagers who don't know what's good for them, but you can't tell them that because they're "rebels with a cause."

    November 1, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. independent Jim

    The independents are tired of both parties. We need a viable third party and let the lemmings on the fringe left and right follow themselves over a cliff.

    November 1, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. JR

    Sorry Boer, but the only "rebellion" is in your party where the extremists are calling the shots, they reject you, Gingrich, McCain, Romney and others as NOT really conservative, they want hate selling, lying, shouting, mean spirited, small minded extremists as leaders, they want an American Taliban.

    November 1, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Michael

    There absolutely is a rebellion going on. It's between the Libertarian/Conservatives of the Republican party and the statists in both parties. Like it or not Bush and Obama are both leftist/statists that have and are destroying our country. Only by supporting limited government candidates in ANY party can this country be set on the right track.

    November 1, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. joe

    You could always get the Taliban to protect your family values.

    November 1, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. TCM

    Boehner's right; conservatisim is here...and within both parties. Liberalism reared it's ugly and incompetent head...and it will be will be a good day when the liberals crap, especially from many posters here who still support this administration is's the beginning of the end for this crazy liberal agenda.

    November 1, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Ben

    David in Chicago – You're dead wrong. Scozzafava calls herself Republican, but it's painfully obvious she's is as Liberal as it gets and is totally the wrong person for that seat. When are Libs going to get it through their heads that their policies are bankrupting this country? At least Scozzafava did the honerable thing.

    November 1, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Reformed Republican

    What this "Standby-and-let-other-Americans-die-for-our-profit" leader of the GOP meant to say was:

    "His party still casts a big, welcome tent to all those white southerners and evangelicals who love war and hate health care reform who would like to call themselves Republicans".

    November 1, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. james

    David in Chicago: I couldn't agree more. The Republicans speak to inclusion, but wouldn't even know how to begin to appeal to the vast majority of Americans. I'm guessing this fight will get a whole lot uglier in 2010. But, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

    November 1, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. kelly

    I'm sorry, but republicans just don't get it. I just got my open enrollment paperwork for health care and two of the options cost 20 thousand dollars. The other 2 are 15 thousand. I would have to pay 600 a month for the first two options and over 400 a month out of pocket the the other two. We need to have a public option to control cost otherwise insurance will continue to go up. there is no other answer.

    the republican party only represents big business, with little concern for the health of the american people. They also use polarizing issues as a mechanisim to drum up support ie. the conservative base.

    they have no real ideas for the normal working people and their 2 faces comments on TV do nothing to help them. This is why I like alan grayson, look him up on youtube. At least grayson has the courage to speak up about what republicans really want for our country.

    November 1, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. David

    That is just the thing, the GOP does not serve the best interests of most Americans. It serves the best interests of the top 10% and the multinationals. They somehow fooled mostly middle class white Americans to go against their own interests and perpetuate policies that decrease opportunity and equality, in part by appealing to their faith and heritage.

    November 1, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Ray in Nashville

    He's right, in a way. The last presidential election was a political rebellion in a way because Republicans left the party in droves after the total mis-management of the economy under George Bush. Also, Bush's swing to the far right unsettled a great many of us moderate Republicans who now feel they have no place to go.

    The thing that is working in Boehner and the Republican favor is the fact that Bush left the country in such a poor state that President Obama has had to resort to some unfortunate spending just to keep us out of a catastrophic depression. Such spending has made many Independents nervous and the Republican propaganda machine has taken advantage of it.

    November 1, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Steve

    The party of intolerance and exclusivity rejects yet another member. I see boss limbaugh'a hands all over this one. Remember those who do not adhere to strict conservative principles outline by the defacto republican leader are not infact republicans. Sorry for your luck dede now come join the democrats. Our party actually does like to have moderates too.

    November 1, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Drone Pilot

    Ron Paul 2012

    November 1, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Drew

    What a bunch of Kool-aid fueled drivel. Such predictable responses from little twitterheads. The Republicans are in the minority because there are now more people riding in the cart than those pushing it. The majority of the democrats are people that think the government owes them something, or are guilty whites who feel bad about their privileged lives.

    November 1, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Eyesopen

    I find it very sad that a man in his position even speaks of such things publicly. Like throwing gas on the flames. More garbage talk by another republican. More doom and gloom instead of hope, help and more productive ideas. Doom and gloom sells.. when something good happens its usually not even news. The republican party should start its own reality show.. Oops.. I guess they did. Several of them, Beck, Sean and Rush.. all hosted on the reality network FOX News!

    November 1, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. johnrj08

    This is an irresponsible, political creature who is clearly more interested in moving his party's interests forward than doing what is right for the country. The man is a male Sarah Palin, with a better tan.

    November 1, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Beverly in NC

    Boehner is a big-mouthed fool who embarrasses himself nearly every day with absurd and irrational statements. No one takes him seriously.
    Boerhner missed the "political revolution" – it was when we threw out al the do-nothing Republicans last November and elected an intellligent President with real leadership qualities that dind't want to solve alll issues with tax credits for the rich and wars with anyone who disagreed with us.
    Republicans are going to see another "revolution" in 2010, when Americans they have betrayed by voting NO on everything to restore our nation, rise up again and vote these traitors to America and betrayers of the People who elected them out of office.
    Republicans are whiners and complainers with no solutions, no effort to create any solutions, and completely clueless how much Americans despise them and their obstructionist games.
    Go get back in your tanning bed Boehner!

    November 1, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Tony in Maine

    The Republican Party is going to have to let the radical right go off on their own or it will self destruct. I don't think Boehner has that part figured out yet.

    He and his beltway friends think they can ride the wingnuts into power, then put them in a box and play kissup as usual to their real owners – the Fortune 500. It worked with the Dobson crowd.

    If he tries that again with the Beckerheads, I think he's in for a rude awakening. These people are certifiable and dangerous – a true American Taliban.

    November 1, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. mathew

    nice catch nathan....House Majority Leader??

    CNN flexing those serious news muscles. CNN has simply become a f*&xNews wannabe, and not even very good at it.

    November 1, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. FredInNH

    The far right conspiracy nuts will seize the helm of what is left of the Republican party and show itself for the fringe that caters only to the those who follow the extremist bullies.... Great success for the 30% extreme minority. and remember. Of course that is the method Hitler used to seize control of Germany....ignorant, hateful, bullying ...oops much for hooray.

    November 1, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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