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. hwy9

    Much as I loathe and detest John Boehner, still, I have to think that little Judson Phillips is getting to big for his britches. Time for a comeuppance, perhaps.

    March 3, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  2. David Cincinnati

    Actually it's Phillips here who's the Phool-obsessed with $100bn. Of course many people have their personal, favorite numbers. Phillips likes 100-related to the fingers he needs for counting. Phillips can't compute the devastation such a cut could cause-ignores our current crisis, wouldn't consider other options, like redistribution of expenditures or wealth.

    March 3, 2011 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  3. John

    this is so much fun to watch... the GOP eating it's own!

    March 3, 2011 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  4. AkLady

    The Tea Party sounds like Audrey II from the Lttle Shop of Horrors.

    March 3, 2011 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  5. Thomas E. Shafovaloff

    The pick of a nice "round number" for budget cutting shows how much debth there is to the Tea Party "movement." Actually, the threat of kicking Boehner out of office is the maximum threat they have. Most political strategists will tell you that the threat of a "nuke" is the last resort. After using that what else is there??? Must be eating the same food Gadhafi is eating. The entire "movement" should get off the "pot."

    March 3, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  6. liberal2core

    That's fine that the tea party wants more cuts. But let's go after some conservative golden calves as well. Let us not just cut cops, firefighters, teachers and poor people. Let's go after the top 5% and make them pay a little more. Let's go after the $100.00 tiolets that the military pays for. Let's quit giving HUGE contracts to Haliburton and Blackwater !!! Lets be FAIR about this !!! If we're going to spill some blood...Let it be EVERYONE"S blood !!!

    March 3, 2011 02:33 am at 2:33 am |

    So they continue to eat their own! I can't say that I'm not pleased to it. As much as I hate to say it, this time I agree with the Tea Baggers, John of Orange, Rep. Boner must go! Not for the same reasons but I agree with end result. We need a new Weeper of the House.

    March 3, 2011 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  8. Kelly

    Let them implode.

    March 3, 2011 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  9. theidiotspeaksagain

    They can't seem to control the monster they created.

    March 3, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  10. Mark

    I do not know whether to be stunned or amused, it is almost as if the Tea Party is going to cannibalize the GOP right before an election, blind by perhaps their own puritan zeal.

    March 3, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  11. Lester Bangs

    Cool! A right-wing feeding frenzy!

    The Tea Party ship is rushing towards its own self-inflicted shipwreck. Combined with the improving economy, this kind of division will re-elect Obama. Then they will properly be what they are: the lunatic fringe.

    March 3, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  12. TampaMel

    Ask any Tea Party person older than 50 if they are OK with eliminating Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They will either not answer you or say, "I am entitled to those services". Then ask how do we pay for them. They will say, "with spending cuts". If you tell them that these services are the biggest drain on the budget. And if you say, "with people getting older (the boomers) the drain will only get larger so that no cuts in spending could possibly pay for them", watch them give you a blank look. They want the services but are not willing to pay for them. Finally the Republicans are hypocrites because they say the deficit is too large then force the continuation of tax cuts even for the rich. As things are I cannot see how this impass can be solved.

    March 3, 2011 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  13. aTeaClown

    Uh oh. The Republican attack dogs (Tea Party goons) are biting the hands that feed them.

    March 3, 2011 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  14. TJeff1776

    The House Speaker is not the ONLY conser fool running around tha house. We sure didn't reach this economic point via
    Demo tax and spenders- though we have enough of those also. We have in the recent past Repubs outspending them.
    In short, we didn't reach this point overnight, and therefore need prudence in digging our way out. If it takes ten years...OK.....BUT....show it to us on paper...., then get your butts headed in that direction...and don't allow these Tea bagging paper tigers stand in your way....like whales, a bunch of blow-offs.

    March 3, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  15. Peter Wolfe

    Oh, let us all get moe extreme already then? I mean these Tea Party people or other radical new age groups are lik children already. I mean like throwing child temper tantrums cause you don't get what you want and threats that they will run against you aren't becoming of civil debate in the U.S or anywhere fo that matter. I think tht Mr Boehner is more realistic guy tan his backers on this account cause if you thrust to hard in either direction, you will encounter tremendous obstacles like cutting social security, illegal immigratin, medicare, medicaid, military, etc cause in part special interest (e.g. unions, corporatins, elderly arp, etc) so its not nearly that simple peple to do anything that these rallying Tea Party members suggest. Ideally but we aren't resources like inanimant objects case we are dealing with people not wood and steel.

    March 3, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  16. Jackie

    Like people didn't know Boner was not qualified for the top job. Boner has made a complete fool of himself since he's been in office why would anyone think that would change. He attends State of the Union Speeches drunk and red eyed and does my partying with woman and golf while not doing the job he was elected to do. His Chief of Staff is a Lobbyist assigned to do his job. While the President and the Senate were working on the budget, Boner was in West Hollywood California partying with several young woman. Rep. Cantor is waiting to take the top job from Boner. The man is third in line to the White House and a complete embarrassment and dumb. It says alot about the Tea Party as they wanted his in the Speaker job. Right now the Tea Party doesn't have one intelligent candidate to run for the office of the President and most of the elected Tea Party law makers are nutters. Rand Paul is clearly insane as he talks like someone who's brain has been fired from many years of using drugs. Rand Paul isn't busy doing the people's work, as he had so much time on his hands he wrote a book to sell for profit. Senator Brown was kicked out of the Tea Party so he has a book about how he was raped as a child but continues to protect his rapist. All this in hopes people believe his story and feel sorry for him enough to give him a vote. The House/Congress are circus clowns showing an emabarrasment to the USA.

    March 3, 2011 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  17. R.Williams

    Notice the military's bloated budget doesn't get affected by these cuts, especially projects in the Republicans' home districts, even though these projects aren't needed or even wanted by the military.

    March 3, 2011 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  18. Robert

    If the Tea Party wants to cut $100 billion from the budget, then they should take steps to end all corporate welfare. That would close the gap they are complaining about without attemptng to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, the elderly, the infirmed, and children. It would also have the support of the majority of Americans - including me.

    March 3, 2011 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  19. Rowe

    Actually, no. We all knew who and what Boehner is and what he'd do if elected. It's TEA PARTIERS who look like fools for being gullible enough to think Republicans would be the champions of small government and fiscal responsibility if re-elected.

    Get with it, people! This is the same gang that you just kicked out of office two weeks ago for being the most corrupt, spend-thrift bunch of hypocrites to ever occupy Washington, and to their credit, they never once said during the 2010 campaign that they'd do anything differently!

    March 3, 2011 04:43 am at 4:43 am |

    How's that teabag monster working out for you now tanman? No more golf trips with big oil. Where are the JOBS?

    March 3, 2011 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  21. AndrewsAFB

    NICE! It's like a snake eating it's own tail.

    March 3, 2011 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  22. AndrewsAFB

    I know no apostrophe on its. What can I say it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet.

    March 3, 2011 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  23. Van

    Ah the tea party, they will probably will eat thier young too

    March 3, 2011 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  24. BD70

    This tea party leader wants deeper cuts. What happens if a cut causes the whole thing to fall apart? Oh wait...the tea party doesn't care about seniors or the poor. They only care about themselves. If these cuts impact everyone but them that is ok.

    March 3, 2011 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  25. Duane Kimball

    Ah! And, the tea-baggers begin to devour their young.

    March 3, 2011 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
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