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

    It appears that the people who support the Tea Party are carrying the water for the tea that will later be used to drown them! They eat their own! They don't believe in working with the "other side". This is NOT grass roots but rather a couple of rich guys pulling the strings and these people are carrying the water and falling for this crap. I am not a fan of Boehner, but this article shows what the Tea Party are really about. My way ot the highway!

    March 3, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. Realistic

    People have no clue about the budget and cuts needed. if we cut all the Non discretionary spending from the budget, estimated at $600 billion, it still won't balance the budget. The total federal deficit is aprox 1.6 trillion( not national deficit for those who get confused easily) so if you do the math, it would still leave trillions of red ink to deal with. Until we deal with raising tax, cutting S/S, Medcade/Medcare and yes, cutting the military budget and cutting discretionary spending also we will never be able to balance the budget. We can not just cut and cut and believe we can balance the budget, this will not work. Resistance is futile about not raising tax, we will have to and that's the bottom line like it or not. And as far of the nation debt, forget about it, this will take decades to just get it under control. We owe aprox 14 trillion not including interest. So if we make in taxes aprox 2.5 trillion and owe 14 trillion you can see how dire the situation is. Even if we made an extra 1 trillion a year(3.5 trillion) and used the extra 1 trillion to pay off our debt, do the math. We could pay if off sooner if we gave up education, infrastructure improvements and everything else but we won't. No matter how we look at it, we are in a fiscal crisis and that's true if your are a Democrat or a republican.....lets face the fact, we are in Sh__ hole

    March 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. d-dub

    John of orange you better start doing what is best for the tea party and your daddy the koch brothers and not the people of the U.S.

    March 3, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Rsprings

    I agree more needs to be cut. However, careful what you wish for.

    March 3, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Seattle Sue

    Gee, that slapdown will surely bring a tear to Boehner's eye. Not only does Boehner look like a fool in the Tea Party eyes, most people I know think Boehner is a total foolish jerk.

    March 3, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. W.G.

    Yes it´s a known fact that cockroaches are "canabalistic"

    March 3, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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