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. Jay

    Stop it! You are going to make him cry!

    March 3, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  2. Mike from MN

    You claim you want real cuts? Cool!

    Why don't we cut where the real meat is: social security, medicare benefits, and military (national security).

    Ooops! No politician will touch any of those stuff.

    March 3, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. FM

    Slowly Phillips, if you press him too much, he will start shedding tears! His tears are always hanging in the air!

    March 3, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. nobody special

    Wow so it dont feel so nice when your puppets cant do what you want them to do hmm looks suspect to me

    March 3, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. nobody special

    guess he went from conservative to Liberal

    March 3, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. tucci

    Cut taxes and cut spending yah let's win the future while we work at walmart and kill brown people all over the world

    March 3, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Anonymous

    well then i would like the Tea Party Nation to put on paper what they would cut....and social security better be at the top of their list or we'll know just how serious they are.

    March 3, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. vic nashville tn

    Boehner never show leader ship time for him to go

    March 3, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  9. Limbaugh is an IDIOT

    This dufus Boehner is a crybaby....he does NOT have the cajones to cut spending; otherwise the first step would be pay cuts for both houses of Congress! – they are all worthless IDIOTS who are living of off tax payers dime...cardillac healthcare plan, bonuses, golf trips, cigar palors and exotic travelling expenses all on the backS of hard working Americans who can't find jobs the GOP-Tea Party promised to create once they are VOTED into office!!!

    When is the GOP-Tea Party going to SHIP the rest of the American public JOBS to CHINA and INDIA?!!....and get rid of public workers and their barganining rights...our firefighters, police, medical personnel, emergency workers, teachers and all those who've they "deemed as union workers"!

    They've done it to ALL of American private sector jobs and manufacturing....and now BIG CORPORATIONS and WALL ST want more; more tax cuts, taking over our govt. workers jobs under the guise of getting rid of UNIONS and bringing in the CHINESE and ILLEGALs to come and teach and police our streets at rock bottom !!!!

    GOP-TEA PARTY job creating agenda....OUTSOURCE our firefighters, police, medical personnel, emergency workers, teachers JOBs to cheap laborers in CHINA!!!...

    even Child Labor laws is on the chopping block in the GOP TEA Party job creating agenda....America, you will be seeing your under 16yr old kid working in the next KOCH BROTHERS Corporation stores near you soon...WELCOME TO THE NEW US CORPORATION OF AMERICA!!!!

    March 3, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  10. Bostonian123

    You've been had And mislead, once again. You also don't add up, tax cuts, wars, social security, medicaid and medicare, defense and spending cuts, don't go together. You need the right formula, which you don't have and neither comprehend.

    March 3, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  11. ramtruck2500

    so exactly who is running the republicans anyways the tea baggers or the actual rank and file, and why is this guy dictating so much?

    March 3, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. America Above Party

    Tea Party is supported by only 1/3 of the country and they want 100% of their 19th century agenda sholved it on the rest of the country. Take your AR, MS and AL and start inbreeding.

    March 3, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. Laverne

    LOL, this is hilarious to see how Boenher is going to adapt being a puppet for the tea party. I hope he gets everything back he tried to bestow on Nancy Pelosi and by the way, Nancy Pelosi produced for the dems EVERYTIME!

    March 3, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  14. Chris

    I love it!!!!! GOP Civil War!

    March 3, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  15. Taioseach


    So how is he going to respond to the lunatic fringe that has turned on him? With tears?

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

    “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."

    Oh, NOW they admit we didn't get here overnight. January 21, 2009, people like her seemed to think we had.

    March 3, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  17. Qi

    Isn't this like the pot calling the kettle black?

    March 3, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  18. Midwestmatt

    This is awesome. Cannibalism at it's finest.

    March 3, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. dcmisty

    The Tea Party is suffering from the same sickness as Charlie Sheen..out of control ego and delusions of power! What gives this group the right to cram their ultra conservative ideas down the throats of the American people? Just because a few of their politicians were elected does not in any way, shape or form give them the right to assume they speak for ALL the Americans. The last time Americans were faced with tea issues, they dumped tea into the Boston Harbor..maybe it's time for the American people to stage another tea dumping event!

    March 3, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  20. cbchs5744

    if you play with a rabid dog long enough youre gunna get bit ......

    March 3, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. bill o'really

    So are the republicans the new middle and the tea party the far right wing nut jobs?

    March 3, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  22. The Dude

    I wonder if he will cry when he loses?

    March 3, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  23. Alina77

    The Tea Party is beginning of the end of any economical sense in this country. CUT CUT CUT that's their goal and then what? We will have to pay in the future three times as much to ketchup with broken infrastructure and stupid kids in the schools?

    March 3, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  24. Brian

    "We’re in a very, very difficult situation. And we did not get here overnight"

    My how the tone changes when it is one of their own.

    March 3, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  25. MIke

    Let's start with the defense budget.

    March 3, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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