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. Bonnie Kimberly

    A big welcome tent you say! I am no longer a Republican I can't be party to the hard line "MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY" type of politics that seem to drive these Washington types. I guess I will have to wait out a few elections.Whatever happened to putting the people first then your ideas?

    November 1, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. John E Lexington KY

    You mean protect the future like Bush II did by borrowing $1 billion from China?

    Boehner is the establishment GOP and has been for decades, and he certainly is revolting.

    November 1, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. the southern progressive

    so in the last presidential race, the base of the republican party chose a moderate republican for their nominee.. and somehow now a year later we are supposed to believe that they are having a rebellion where right wing zealots are taking over the party. hmmm.. and here i thought the anti-right wingers are the reason that barak obama won the election. republicans are seriously fooling themselves and becoming a smaller and smaller less accepting party.

    November 1, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. George L

    There's a rebellion all right; and it's the conservative republicans under Sarah Palin driving it. Libs and "mod" gopers better get it.

    November 1, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. silversage

    Boehner is quite right about a political rebellion. Only problem is that it already happened when the Republican establishment was kicked out of Washington. They still cannot believe it! The teabagger take over of the Republican party is really good news because it spells their permanent exile to Siberia! The next fissure that will soon break loose is the moderate wing of the Republican party. Expect the likes of Powell and other social conservatives willing to have a bi-partisan accomodation with Obama to break adrift soon! "Just say no" and the death panelling of critical issues critical issues health care, the economy and immigration reform through a dumber constituency will eventually send the current republican over the cliff.

    November 1, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Dan Nakari

    I too am upset and would like to rebel. However, Boehner is so deluded and full of himself. I will freeze in H___ before I vote for a Republican again. I am so angry at them right now. I have voted Republican many times, but am through with that.

    November 1, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Shawn

    Pfffft. Yeah right. Some screeching right-wing lunatic fringers are not a rebellion. They're just having a temper tantrum because they lost and are totally irrelevant in modern America, and they have no real, legitimate reasons for their hatred and anger. It's just about a black guy in the White House. That's it.

    We had our political rebellion in November. It was Obama's landslide victory. We won.

    November 1, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    The majority of Americans are conservative when it comes to American values and culture and they are getting sick and tired of republicans acting and governing like a bunch of democrats, who are only concerned about getting elected and re-elected. (John McCain and Lindsey Graham are perfect examples of this.) If the republican party does not wake up and get back to the basics that made it a great party (fiscal responsibility, border integrity, upholding the law, ect.), it will continue to become weaker and more irrelevant each and every election.

    November 1, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. D. Tree

    LOL, after 8 years of Bush & Cheney, Republicans think the problem is that they are not far enough to the Right.

    November 1, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    I don't think most people get what happend in NY yet. This was not a case of a minority of right wing Republicans pushing out a liberal Republican. Hoffman is running under a third party. And he was getting more voter support in the polls than Scozzafava, she had fallen to third place in the polls. Her values represented those of fewer voters than either Hoffman or Owens. If all the voters who were supporting Scozzafava and Hoffman are all Republicans, than the polls cleary showed that Hoffman was the candidate that represented the majority of Republicans in the district. If Indpendents were also supporting both canditates in the polls, the polls still show Hoffman represented more voters than Scozzafava. Hoffman's values are simply more popular than Scozzafava's with the districts voters. If that was not true Hoffman would have been in third place not Scozzafava. A Hoffman win would end any argument he represents some right wing extreme miniority. He represents a conservative majority, Scozzafava does not.

    November 1, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. J of K

    Whenever there is anything anti-democate you can bet that the paid bloggers are busy putting as much 'hate' on the blog as possible. Some of the names are the same every time, but mostly it is the same comments that gives them away. sad sad sad, that the democratic party is sooo desperate that any opposing opinions scares the h*ll out of them. They are also the ones that start yelling 'racism' every time anything is said against the O man.

    November 1, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Chris from NC

    Well, for once Boehner has a point!!! However, let's not try to undercut the rift in the Republican party's own ranks since the election. This is very apparent in the NY congressional election where the GOP is split between a more liberal candidate and a more conservative 3rd party candidate. I think the Republicans really need to work together and find some middle ground with their message before the midterms.

    November 1, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Will S

    The GOP's problem is that it continuously links religion with politics. It is a mindset and strategy of exclusion. If they focused on economics and straightforward societal issues and less on wedge issues (e.g. gun control, abortion) and, most importantly, left their morality plays in church where it belongs they might attract a few of the more conservative liberals. I don't disagree with some of their fiscal views, but the constant harping and focus on issues like intelligent design, "pro-life", and illegal immigration drive me away.

    November 1, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Ben

    Democrats are mindless lemmings. Republicans are mindless lemmings with guns.

    November 1, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. jon

    The paroxysms of fear and hatred against simple conservatives is strange.

    November 1, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. sara

    Can't you all just stop fighting each other and work together for the people of the United States of America. We are one people. The rebellion going on in America is being created by the folks we elected no matter what the party. Your ego's are way to big and your neckties are way to tight. Get over yourselves and stop being so self serving and start doing what you get paid for.

    November 1, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Operation Replacement

    Boehner really means populism. An enraged America tired of the
    old politics. Tired of politicians who offer sound bites rather than
    solutions. Tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. It's optimistic
    to believe a new party can emerge from all this. A party built from
    the grass roots, unlike what Ross Perot tried to create.

    November 1, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Jim

    I agree with Scott. We need a third, fourth, or even fifth political party. The idea that two parties can represent the whole of this country is idealistic even for me. Bringing more parties in the mix would force our leaders to work together, compromise, and watch each the other party for corruption, instead of the current status quo of whichever party is in power is corrupt.

    November 1, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. NVa Native

    Funny to see Boner with out his citrus tan since the Pres outed him? Saddly it hasn't helped with his lack of understanding of the general population. But as far as the radical right whackos (20% of the population) who belief the Fox talking points, Boner undertsands them very well. He understands that they are in the process of continually shedding members of a very small tent. The more the radicals eject moderates the smaller they are, brain and body. So sure it's a bit of a rebellion that hurts the Repubs. But they helped create Fox media, birthers and tea-baggers, and suck up to hate radio nuts. So what goes around comes around...again. What fun!

    November 1, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. tmdcedar

    “A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.” ~ Ronald Reagan, 1975

    "I don't know about you, but I'm impatient with those Republicans who, after the last election, rushed into print saying we must broaden the base of our party, when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents." ~ Ronald Reagan, 1975

    "Don't give up your ideals, don't compromise, don't turn to expediency – and don't, for heaven's sake, having seen the inner workings of the watch – don't get cynical." ~ Ronald Reagan, 1976

    November 1, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Mike

    This message board is really filled with knee-jerk reactions. When Bush beat Gore everyone spoke of the death of the Democratic Party, we are now at the other end of the pendulum. For those of you who love Democrats enjoy it now, it will not last. Both parties will prevent the creation of the Third Party, that would represent how the majority live. We are forever condemned to watch the self-serving fringes destroy America, while funding their pet projects and feathering their nests.

    November 1, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Mike in MN

    Progressive liberal need to wake up fast, but I don't think they will. In 2010 and 2012 voters are going to be far more concerned with the lack of jobs, the economy, the massive growing deficits, government and government spending. And saying that Bush and Republicans had deficits too will not cut it with voters when Obama's deficits are 3 times bigger than Bush's. Voters in 2010 and 2012 are going to be far more concerned about jobs and the out of control spending and deficits than they will be about the possibility that the rich might get a tax cut or the conservative social values of Republican canditates. A large majority of voters are already convinced we can't continue down the path were are on which is leading to a bankrupt America. The progressive liberal response to concern about deficits triple the size of those under Bush is that he had them to, is a certain loser in 2010 and 2012. Candidates that promise to stop the spending and shrink the size of government by actually reducing spending to bring down the deficits will look really attractive to voters in 2010 and 2012.

    November 1, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    John Boner is so out of touch with the real world that it's laughable that he is even invited on the talk shows!!!!!

    November 1, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Funny, I thought he was the Minority Leader...

    November 1, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. wg

    The Grinch (Boehner) speaks again, I only wish we would have rebelled against their policies years ago. Maybe then things would be better now.

    November 1, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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