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. Byrd

    The Tea Party is where the biggest fools reside. Boner just the current head clown in the republican circus.

    March 3, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  2. me

    Boy....the stupid running against the idiotic....should be a good election....America will be the only loser....

    March 3, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  3. Name king

    These repugs is going to allow the lunatic tea baggers to push this country back into a recession by cutting from the people that create demand in the economy. They are acting like this economy recover is stable, any thing can cause this fragile economy to go plunging back into the ditch it just came out of, and cutting like a mad sailor will. Spending got us out of the ditch and we shouldn't reverse this drastically, but moderately and carefully, further more cutting every discretionary spending won't even make a moderate dent to slow the deficit down much less have it go in the opposite direction, the bush tax cuts allowed 55 percent of this deficit and gaining momentum, and the only way to reverse this deficit is bringing the taxes to the pre- bush error, that's the only way to reverse this trend, and the repugs need to stop playing politics and be serious about putting this country on a path to fiscal responsibity and stop cutting taxes for the rich, and have the working middle class and poor pay for it.

    March 3, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  4. Steve in North Carolina

    I get tired of the "scorched earth" tactics used by extremists on both sides of the aisle when they don't get everthing they want. Justin Phillips sounds more like Charlie Sheen that John Boehner does. At least Boehner is making some progress on spending cuts. Things don't happen overnight (especially in congress).

    March 3, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  5. vburke

    Whipped into a frenzy, the mob can be a useful tool, until it turns on you.

    March 3, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  6. kashbmaryd

    Oh, I guess since Boener didn't pass a larger budget cut, he needs to go. Sounds like a bunch of whining on the Tea Party's part to me. Like the guy said in the article, how can they expect to do major cuts of any kind in the budget without working with the other side. If it was majority republican in the House and the Senate (like it was in '05 and '06) then maybe he could. Then again, they didn't do it then so what makes anyone think they would do it now with the democrats in control of the Senate?

    March 3, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  7. BrianBkyn

    Ah, they begin the bloody process of turning on one another for the sake of purity. We have seen this in history many times – let the guillotine fall. So satisfying to see these folks drive themselves into political and social extinction.

    March 3, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  8. bryant

    Give 'em enough rope and they shall hang themselves...........

    March 3, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  9. hotdogg123

    Talk about a bunch of spoiled brats. Take their ball and go home whinny babies should not be our elected leaders.

    March 3, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  10. teepee

    Damnation!...those TP'ers will go after their own blood! vicious!

    March 3, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  11. MITConserv

    I've got to agree...he is not being tough enough.

    March 3, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  12. Rafael Rios

    I wonder if the story of the snake, the river and the boy comes to mind for any of you? Just in case, dear reader, you're unfamiliar with the tale here's a synopsis. Boy meets poisonous snake by river. Snake asks boy to carry him across to the other side of the river since there is no food for snake on this side. Boy decides to help but just as he is placing snake on other side, snake bites him. As boy dies, he asks snake why he bit him after boy had helped him survive and snake says because I'm a snake and its in my nature. I'm interested in knowing whether you think Phillips or Boehner is the snake!

    March 3, 2011 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  13. Gerry K.

    As recent votes in the House of Representatives suggest, Speaker John Boehner has almost unanimous support in the House and his popular support – including most Tea Party members – is almost as solid. The media is determined to portray Republicans as being hopelessly divided while neglecting the deep divisions among Democrats.

    Speaker Boehner recently revealed that the Democrats’ request to negotiate budget cuts is less than sincere since the Dems. have yet to devise a spending plan while the Republicans have. The Dems. lack of a spending plan reflects their disunity while the existence of a Republican plan reflects their unity – but that’s an inconvenient truth for a main stream media dedicated to supporting the Left.

    Gerry K.
    Brigantine, NJ

    March 3, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  14. Daniel

    What do you expect from an individual who believes 700 billion in tax breaks for the top 2% of earners over the next ten years is good for the economy. A 100 billion is chump change compared to this.

    March 3, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  15. Iskrenie

    Ah...the Tea Party cannibalism is beginning...

    March 3, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  16. Lou

    This is what happens when you pander to one issue radicals.

    March 3, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  17. Cfrench

    Anyone with half a brain saw this coming. The radical right wing tea-baggers won't settle for anything less than a bible in every classroom, the execution of gays and sending black people back to the African continent.

    March 3, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  18. JasonP

    These people screaming for more cuts have absolutely no idea why they want more cuts. They just think "spending bad". There is no thought put behind their argument whatsoever. The Tea Party is an anti-intellect movement for sure.

    March 3, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  19. mm

    oh my gosh they are feeding on themselves!

    March 3, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. patty

    One of these fools calling for massive spending cuts needs an education on how the government runs. It is very easy to say cut cut cut, but doing it is a different story.

    March 3, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  21. Fed Up

    I think Boehner is doing a pretty good job. If he forces the Dems to cut a few billion from the budget every time they pass a continuing resolution, he will get the job done. This way the Dems don't have to vote on anything and can blame all the cuts on the Republicans. Go ahead and blame. I'm getting ready to vote Republican.

    March 3, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  22. Stevonovitch

    Even if we cut all the "Discretionary Spending" it would only be a sliver of what needs to be cut. We need to look more at the MILITARY BUDGET, which gets wasted freely in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and has not added an ounce to American prestige abroad. We also need to cut back on the billions of dollars of Medicare Fraud that waste taxpayers money.

    March 3, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  23. michael , MN

    Race to the bottom – Ever since Reagan started the trickle down economy we have been running a deficit ever since at some point you cannot keep cutting taxes for the top 2 % then wonder why we have a deficit – unless they can cut 1.5 Trillion from the budget then taxes will have to be raised – but the GOP wants us to ruled by the elite so we can all beg for there scraps

    March 3, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  24. TomInRochNY

    I can't believe I actually agree with a TPer. But, Boehner, Pelosi, Ried and McConnell all have to go. The Leadership in Congress on both sides of the aisle sucks!

    March 3, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  25. Patrick Lewis

    Ok, Bohner is a fool, but not nearly as foolish as this guy, whoever he is. And as a democrat, please run a primary challenge against him. Make him explain himself over and over. His logic is the flawed logic of conservatism and with repeated comments people will notice that none of it makes any sense.

    March 3, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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