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. diridi

    All GOP and T party guys are fools....it is a standard quote.....do not worry about Libya....we need to worry of America.....removing is done by people there....not our portion....o.k. Don't spend a dime.....Arabs take care...

    March 3, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  2. Kevin Cantu

    The Chickens are coming home to roost.

    March 3, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  3. Tomtom

    I love it, The dogs are turning on the master.

    March 3, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  4. KatR

    This is typical for the Tea Party. If any representative in government does not fulfill their agenda they want to throw them out of office. Tea Party reps are just a panicked, uninformed mob that wants to slash spending just to eliminate the scary $1.4 trillion deficit. No thoughtful consideration of how those cuts would impact the country as a whole. Hopefully, the results of the November 2010 election will encourage the majority of Americans to vote in mid-term elections in the future. This is what we the people get when we ignore our civic responsibility to get out and vote!

    March 3, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  5. Joe

    That's good news. That way if he gets beat in a primary, the seat would be more easily won by a moderate who understands that in a compromise everyone gets a little, but not everything they want. On a side note, when are we going start looking at the big buckets outside of discretionary spending (military, Soc security, and Medicare)?

    March 3, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  6. vs

    They should defeat Boehnerin the primary and replace him with a T party patriot. Christine O'Donnell would be an excellent choice. I am sure she could defeat any Democrat with her unique talents.

    March 3, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  7. realist

    You Tea pot repugs are even turning on your own "Sympathisers" Whats the matter,Bohner not racist enough? Why don,t you pick Repug Majority leader Eric Cantor? Of course, he looks kindof like a person from a different country, Please show us your papers Mr. Cantor. Prove your an American. I really loved his interview with Blitzer yesterday, that "Smug,lier! He was "stupid enough to blame the administration for not cooperating with his cuts to the poor,and children education! His party were the ones who "Tanked this Country!!!!!!! Show us your papers,Cantor!!!!

    March 3, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  8. Dr Matrix

    Just another sign that the Tea Party Express is running out of gas. They are going after their own.

    March 3, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  9. ConservaFascists

    You suck at your job Bonehead and it's only March 2011. You have absolutely no control over your own caucus. You're a shamful disgrace of a Speaker in comparison to your predecessor. That woman got things done and you can't seem to determine which way the wind is blowing. You're just a prud man dressed in a little brief authority.

    March 3, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  10. zanny

    He is a a fool and has no clue what he is doing. He and Eric Cantor aretalking the talk but do not know how to walk the walk. All those cuts that Boner is suggesting will lead to almost 3/4 of a million jobs lost and it will put our country right back where we were two years ago when Bush left office. As Mitch McConnel said their number one goal is to defeat President Obama in 2012 they hVWE STUCK TO THAT GOAL. bOENER DOES NOT CARE IF THIS COUNTRY IS IN A DEPRESSION IN 2012 THE gop THINKS THE VOTERS WILL BE DUMB ENOUGH TO NOT SEE THAT THEIR ACTIONS WERE WHY WE WENT OVER THE EDGE. iF i CAN HELP DEFEAT THIS FOOL, LET ME KNOW!!!!!!!

    March 3, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. Talmonis

    Wow... John Boehner is pretty much the devil incarnate for wanting to stick it to the poor working class (and the unemployed of course), but these people make him look like mother Theresa. Just how insane do you have to be to think that it's a good idea to hurl millions out of work, and defund anything that would help said people?

    March 3, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  12. KM

    Campaign rhetoric is one thing but actually coming through on those promises is something totally different, especially when you don't have control over the entire process.

    March 3, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  13. cheryl

    Why no cuts for military and don't mean our soldiers or veterans. Why keep tax breaks for those who don't need them. Cutting lifelines for those that are hurting is the new normal? This is wrong. America can do better.

    March 3, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  14. frespech

    Republican or Democrat unless they all start to address the Big 3, Social Security-Medicare-Defense there will not be enough debt reduction to amount to anymore than pocket change with regard to the National debt. Full disclosure I consider myself a fiscal Democrat if that matters.

    March 3, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  15. bo-D

    Repubs created the tea party with lies its backfired good repubs care about rich white folks that's easy to see

    March 3, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  16. Don

    If you look at any radical political movement (Chinese Communists in the 50s/60s, and the Russian Communists in the 30s under Stalin are great examples) you find that very quickly they turn on each other. Everyone has to constantly prove their party loyalty by being more radical then the last person, and anyone who dares to not rise to the occassion is denounced, attacked, and destroyed as not being pure enough. Eventually whatever ideas the system was founded on are completely discarded and it falls into the hands of people only interested in personal power.

    So none of this is a surprise to me. I just thought we wouldn't see it for another few months.

    March 3, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  17. Weeper of the House Boner: Two and the Door

    Getting it from all sides there Johnny. Yup, 2 and the door. Might be from the "grassroots" Koch errr ummm DickArmey ooops I meanTea movement. But, more than likely, the Middle Class thinking crowd will be sure to bounce the Teahadist Rethug ticket back to being a tiny minority, so we can prosper as One Nation again.

    March 3, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. GI Joe

    I have to agree that the Boner is a weak whimpering fool - he should never have been re-elected the last time. Run him out !!!!! Can't happen soon enough !!!

    March 3, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  19. NameRolph

    Great idea to replace Boner- he's a stiff
    let's bring in an intellectual like--
    Michele Bachman hahahahahahahaha
    They have no one with an ounce of brains
    This is a party of flag waving gun toting
    anti everything imbeciles that have never done a single good thing for the general populace of this country-and I mean Never

    March 3, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  20. AJP

    I can't believe the Republicans are fighting among them selves.

    The Democrats don't have to worry about defeating the Republicans in the next electuion, the Republicans are well on the way to defeating themselves.

    March 3, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  21. annie s

    I know they don't care that the proposed Republican cuts target essential programs that help the working class, but Is anyone in the Tea party intelligent enough to understand that the cuts would cost as many as 700,000 jobs and slow economic growth? That these are the wrong cuts isn't the issue; it's that this is absolutely the wrong time.

    March 3, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  22. Al-NY,NY

    the self-destruction of the GOP is well underway. The T-Per's are pulling thier "do as we say or else" routine which the GOP leadership knew full well would happen but were powerless to avoid. BUT since they went along with the lunatics to retake power in the house, they now have to deal with them and it ain't gonna be pretty. I've got my popcorn and am ready to sit back and watch the carnage. What fun!!!!!

    March 3, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  23. T'sah from Virginia

    “Early on, the GOP promised to cut $100 billion from the budget,”
    And you BELIEVED them?? It was only to get ELECTED!!
    “We’re getting more of the same political games…”
    And you’ll get MORE because what you want is politically INSANE!!

    Kremer claims “And we did not get here overnight…”
    But you expect to resolve it FAST a deadly parasite?
    You should have begun extermination ten years ago
    But NO – it was BUSH – the RICH – and the TP a “no show”

    This is why the TP in the long run will FAIL
    They feel the whole country should ride their monorail
    And in their efforts, they alienate themselves from the base
    of TRUE America – which is NOT just about THEM – we’re every race!!!

    March 3, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  24. LuLz

    John Boehner is a useless orange puppet of the giant corporate lobbyists in DC.

    March 3, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. scipio

    The Republicans thought they could control the white working class AKA Tea Party well maybe not.If they get rid of the Post Office they will save more than 100 M.The internet and private enterprise will fill the gap.

    March 3, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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