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. J.V.Hodgson

    I think the teaparty have no idea ( or perhaps they do and thats the objective) of and then the effect of reduced GDP growth and the increased unemployment,both of which are likely to lead to the double dip recession, since in the process the president would veto certain cuts and that shuts down the government equally critical and forcing an even bigger double dip recession. which they hope leads to Obama being kicked out of office.. thats a big ??? to me at least.
    Grow up cutting 20% out of 12% of spending does not come anywhere near to solving the problem of budget deficit and debt. One more CR to maximise this years cuts then pass the 2010 budget and move on to 2011 and be as aggresive as you like in those negotiations between now and September this year.
    Also realise that defense cuts, some tax increases and also a long hard look at a medicare and medicaid and other social benefits as indicated by Obama are the only long term way to balancing the budget and reducing debt. Even then the debt reduction will depend on a growing Economy of over 4% GDP growth. This latter ( GDP growth) is what will balance the budget or more correctly give a surplus with which to reduce debt. There is no need to pay off the whole debt, nice maybe, but totally not essential.

    March 2, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. Indy

    Are we suppose to believe that the Tea Party is now "The Boss of America" ?

    March 2, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  3. regertz

    Reaping what they sowed. The nuts have come home to roost, eh John?

    March 2, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  4. Dan

    Let the carnage begin! It was only a matter of time.

    March 2, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. mabel floyd

    boehner is an fool–true-but compared to the IQ of a t-bagger he is eligible for MENSA.i hope they do run some one against boehner-what a sweet revenge to watch the fight.

    March 2, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. RemainCalm

    They're eating their young in the Republican Party

    March 2, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. William

    After listening to both Sheen and Boehner, I agree that both characters have about the same intellect. They also share the same ego problem.

    March 2, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. Paul ny http://www.youtube.com/ny007ny

    The tea party is a joke. This just proves it.

    March 2, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    The Tea Party needs Republicans, but Republicans DON'T NEED the Tea Party......If you don't believe me, ask Murkowski

    March 2, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. Rick

    Man, this is getting fun.

    March 2, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. mane

    Threats like these undermine the difficult positions both sides have to take to get us out of this economic mess. I wonder what will happen if a leader of a democratic movement takes the same stance as this tea party czar. Gridlock did not solve our problem in the past and it will not now.

    March 2, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. blake

    Boehner is not a conservative. Kudos to the tea party for putting a target on him, perhaps he will wise up. $61 billion in cuts is a joke, when we have more than $1000 billion in red ink.

    March 2, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  13. Francisco Cardenas

    Who is funding Phillips? Bet it is the Koch brothers!

    March 2, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. stormkite

    Guess Boehner's insufficiently psychotic for his TP bosses.

    March 2, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    GREAT! now that the Tea Party doesn't want him, he'll probably decide to run for President...

    As if the Republitard faction of the Republican party didn't already have enough potential "candidates."

    March 2, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. jerry

    The GOP created this monster to get the born again bible thumpers in line, I doubt they ever imagen the tea baggers would think they had a real voice in the GOP now they are the GOP. Thank GOP, you managed to destroy this country faster than ever expected. While we were worried about outside influences hurting our country you have created a monster that will take our country back to the middle ages if they are stopped, Maybe the tea baggers are God punishment for being so greedy.

    March 2, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Nick

    Tea party will self destruct.

    March 2, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. rusty155

    You know John Boehner I don't like you very much , but I hate the Tea Party all together. You all ready cut just about all you can from the poor and the middle class. I guess you will have to go after the Rich and Big Business and the Oil company. You keep listening to the Tea party you will put us back in recession. After all you till haven found any Jobs yet you may have taken some with your cut. Why In the hell do you Republican listen to the TEA PARTY you people think they are god or something.

    March 2, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Dan

    The Tea Party is a resurrection of the Third Reich.
    They are so far right that there is no middle ground. They want to be able to identify the Other, so they know who the enemy is. If this were the Middle Ages, they would be sure to have their of kingdom's flag and symbol, so they know who the enemy is. If this were the Civil War, they would be certain to avoid wearing blue, which is symbolic of the north, and would be in grey coats. If they get so much as a hint that you are liberal and voted for Obama, then you are the enemy, and must die. This is a fundament to human behavior, and the Tea Partiers are simple minded people who are very very easy to pattern.

    March 2, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. KO

    Any mainstream Republican that throws in with this wacko Tea Party crowd is an idiot. Boehner made his bed with this crowd, now he can suffer for it.

    March 2, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  21. Marvin

    Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips is full of it. This TEA party "member" in Kentucky (that elected Rand Paul) does not agree...

    March 2, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  22. Chris

    Maybe we can get Hitler's mythical illigitemate kids to take his place. That may sooth the Tea Party's anger. You would think Boehner is bad enough. On a side note, how did he con people into not pronouncing his name properly?

    March 2, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. James

    It was easy to predict Tea Party disappointment, since you literally can't push further to the right without hitting the fringes where fascism hangs out, and thus all Republicans are disappointments. They have fetishized the Constitution in the same way their evangelical comrades fetishize the Bible, as an unchanging document frozen in the past. No mortal can live up to such scrutiny, so the Republicans can kiss the enthusiasm gap goodbye in 2012.

    March 2, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  24. Caeser

    Wow... Democrats and "Tea-partiers" DO agree on something.

    March 2, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  25. JD

    It seems there is a growing divide between the far right and the extreme far right.

    March 2, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
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