Boehner fears Tea Party, Reid says
April 4th, 2011
08:51 AM ET
11 years ago

Boehner fears Tea Party, Reid says

(CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is maintaining his tough rhetoric against the Tea Party movement, saying that House Majority Leader John Boehner fears the grassroots organization.

"The answer is yes," said Reid when asked if he thought leading Republicans were "afraid of the movement." "The Tea Party is dictating a lot that goes on in the Republican leadership in the House."

Reid made his comments Sunday on "CBS's Face the Nation."

The Nevada Democrat also suggested the group is widely disliked beyond conservative circles and added, "the Republican leadership in the House has to make a decision: whether they are going to do the right thing for the country or do the right thing for the Tea Party."

Reid then took a swipe at the group's sparsely attended rally Washington, DC, late last month.

"They didn't have thousands of people there, they didn't have hundreds of people. They had tens of people," he said. "The Tea Party is not looked at very strongly across the country – the only attention they get is in the House of Representatives."

It's not the first time in recent weeks Reid has taken direct aim at the grassroots movement that was responsible for unseating a string incumbent Republicans and replacing them with members sympathetic to their anti-government spending movement.

Late last month he told reporters that the "country doesn't care much about the Tea Party," and that the Republican Party should not shackle itself to the conservative movement's demands regarding cuts to the federal budget.

"The Tea Party's unpopularity continues to grow," Reid said then. "Because the American people sees how unreasonable they are. So let me reiterate my hope that the Republican leadership recognizes they can't continue to be pulled to the right by the radical, unrealistic, unreasonable…faction: the Tea Party."

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicated 32 percent of the public has a favorable view of the Tea Party movement – down five points since December – while 47 percent have an unfavorable view, up four points from December.

Filed under: Harry Reid • John Boehner • Tea Party
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. The King

    Reid is right, the "tea party" is nothing more than a bunch of self obsessed, far right, nuts that have been frightened by the constant drumbeat of corporate driven fear/hate mongering they listen to on their AM radios and fox "news". Listen to them, THEY'RE DUMB!!! It's not difficult to scare dumb people. Thankfully, most US citizens are able to see through the fog of nonsense that these scared fools subscribe to.

    April 4, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. CNN The Masters of Spin

    Boehner afraid of the Tea Party???? Me thinks Reid is the one who is afraid of the Tea Party.....he seems to be the only one talking "afraid"..........All the Liberal Dems who want all the Government Handouts and Freebees......are the very ones who do not want to help any group but they are ready to vote to take "our" money and give it to those who do not want to work for a living! It will not be long before you will realize that all the protesting, marching, picketing, scraeming, kicking, boycotting, and you can even vote everyone out.....but it will not change the fact that this country is BROKE and CANNOT sustain the enourmous DEBT of which you are saddling our children and grandchildren with! Spin it any way you like, but the facts remain....WHAT are you going to CUT?

    April 4, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. rob

    Reid ignors and CNN as usual does not give the backround information that the Tea Party was more responsible for the HISTORIC LOSSES suffered by the Democrat party in the Mid-term elections than any other group. Its the American people who are fed up with the same old Democrat talking points.

    Of course Reid will demonize the Tea Party every chance he gets, the Dems can't defend the Presidents budget or the reckless run up in deficits etc. All they have left is the old Dem playbook of smear, demonize, and misrepresent their opponents positions. The media is already in full Dem protection mode, they will not ask tough questions and they will not provide context or backround pointing out the Dems baseless charges.

    April 4, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. John PA

    It does appear that the GOP will pander for votes at any cost; even at the cost of pushing themselves so far to the right that they've lost rationality. We are in desperate need of moderate politics right now. The extremes on either end simply focus on their ideologies vs. what's good for the country as a whole. Though I wasn't an Obama fan from the start, I realize he operates more from the middle than most thought he would.

    April 4, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. StrategicBob

    I don't know if the Tea Party scares Boehner but it sure scares me. The nonsense those people believe is freightening.

    But as H.L. Mencken observed, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." Palin, Bachmann, Beck, Limbaugh and others of that knowledge-challenged ilk are laughing all the way to the bank.

    And the country suffers for it.

    April 4, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Publius13

    Reid is mostly correct. But the source of power for the TEA party "movement" is not the House or the Republican leadership. The TEA parties' only realy support comes from the media, which continues to lend credibility to the groups by calling them "grassroots," just as in the first paragraph of this article. The TEA parties are not grassroots in the usual sense of that word. There were organized top-down by neo-conservative operatives and groups and the seed money came from Rove and Archer, whose groups are supported by the Koch brothers and other right-wingers. Funding and organization continues to descend from Rove and Archer, and money continues to flow from the Kock brothers and Scaif. CNN needs to start getting honest about the TEA parties. I know they are easy and fun to write about, but the American public deserves and our democracy needs the truth.

    April 4, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. The reality is...

    Reid is banking on the accuracy of a poll and failing to admit that even if the poll is accurate the Tea Party is far more powerful than he realizes. What the poll shows is that the liberal media has to some degree been able to present the Tea Party as something it is not. Liberal media=Masters of deception.

    April 4, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Larry

    Boehner's in a tough spot. I think he's smart enough to know that if he gives the Tea Party guys what they want it will be political suicide for Republicans in 2012. For example, they want to cut spending drastically, which resonates with the Tea Partiers, who aren't smart enough to figure out that massive spending cuts would ultimately put millions of people out of work, as that money is spent in our economy. Reduce unemployment and then cut spending, but the Republicans have forgotten all about jobs since they got elected. Finding ways to grow the economy and increase the demand for jobs is hard. Calling for spending cuts is easy.

    But if he doesn't give them what they want, he and other Republicans who've been around longer are going to be targeted by the Tea Party for replacement.

    April 4, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Four and The Door

    If you pay close attention, you will see that the reality is that Reid fears both the Tea Party and Boehner.

    Harry Reid cannot compete with the quick and decisive success Speaker Boehner and the Republicans have had since taking over the House in January. Federal spending budgets have been slashed. unemployment is down and the economy is recovering quickly. Harry's fear is justified. John Boehner knows how to get results.

    April 4, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Drew

    The tea party dictating the budget? The Tea Party are US Citizens, constituents, they belong to have a voice in the budget.
    For years it was GEORGE SOROS who was dictating the Democrat budget, a Foreigner, Manipulator, Globalist, and a behind the scenes catalyst in our financial meltdown as well as the present Muslim Brotherhood uprisings in the Middle East. Reid would rather a billionaire foreigner dictate our purse strings than tax paying Americans. That is what the Tea Party is all about, cleaning up the filth in Washington that is destroying our country. Ross Perot was right, That sucking sound you hear is the jobs leaving this country thanks to the globalists agenda, now we are feeling it. They want to destroy this country, bring it down to the third world, because we are the only obstacle to a one world government/currency. So they have to destroy our government and debase our currency. Stop the Madness.

    April 4, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. roro

    Oh, boo hoo for Boehner. Now that the Tea Party idiots are in the House, the Republicans have lost control of their members. Remember what the last Congress was like when the Republicans stood in lock step with what they were told, and blocked everything Obama tried to do. Sad so say, they brought it on themselves by kowtowing to that intractable base who simply don't know the meaning of compromise. The Tea Partiers are like toddlers who don't get their way, take their ball, and leave the game. Boehner and the Republicans have gotten exactly what they deserve.

    April 4, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "House Majority Leader John Boehner fears the grassroots organization."

    Who doesn't? Atroturf Frankenstein is an eminently frightening collection of virulently angry, frequently bigotted, altogether misinformed, woefully under-educated flat-earth-ideologue know-nothings who the media willingly helped grant unearned and misplaced legitimacy because the controversy they stir up was just too ad-revenue-delicious to pass up. Maybe Boehnhead and the Bolshivik Bunch will have a falling out and the majority of the GOP can wake the hell up, go back to its truer roots and ideologies and policies espoused by people like Teddy Roosevelt, who hated the idea of the rich and giant corporations wielding untoward influence over our government through their money, and start getting things done in a manner that doesn't, for once, absolutely screw the middle-class and poor.

    And I might crap an alien fact, I hereby promise to do so if that happens. Waiting....

    April 4, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. John N Florida

    Boehner has already lost twice when he was counting on Tea Party support. If he brings a bill back from the conference with his recommendation, and the Tea Party 'bolts' again. Boehner just may be forced to resign as Speaker. A Speaker that can not deliver their party's vote is useless.

    April 4, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. Richard T.d/

    Why is the T.E.A. Party referred to as being a "grassroots movement"? It has clearly been shown to be a corporate created and sponsored enity. I support the position that it is an "astro-turf movement" lacking in self awareness.

    April 4, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It makes sense to me. The GOP was brought into power by these people without checking their background. It turns out that they are a little crazy, somewhat fanatical and totally late to the cutting the deficit party.

    April 4, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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