House Speaker John Boehner is not too happy with conservative groups that insist that he,well, actually govern as a conservative. He finally let the world know how he really felt the other day. I read about his remarks in various places but here is what the Hill had to say.
In a remarkable year-end press conference, Boehner repeatedly, and at times angrily, denounced and mocked the organizations that have dogged him throughout his Speakership, accusing them of “misleading their followers” while defending his own conservative credentials.
“I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be, and frankly, I just think that they’ve lost all credibility,” Boehner said.
The Speaker didn’t cite any organizations by name, but he was clearly referring to a collection of Tea Party and conservative groups that have opposed nearly every significant piece of fiscal legislation he has presented to his members. They include Heritage Action, the political arm of the influential think tank, as well as the Tea Party-aligned FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.
Boehner grew more animated as he recalled the government shutdown in October, blaming the activists who he said “pushed us into this fight to defund ObamaCare and shut down the government.”
The day before the government reopened, he said, “one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work.”
“Are you kidding me?!” Boehner asked loudly.
Boehner and his leadership team have privately seethed at groups like Heritage for months, but the groups’ decision to oppose the budget agreement in advance prompted the Speaker to denounce them in public. His venting follows that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who, earlier this fall, called out the groups for launching primaries against him and his members.
The Speaker strongly defended the two-year budget agreement that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), saying that, while it is not everything Republicans want, it “takes giant steps in the right direction.”
“This budget bill gets us more deficit reduction than what we have under the Budget Control Act,” he said. “I came here to cut the size of government. That’s exactly what this bill does, and why conservatives wouldn’t vote for this, or [would] criticize the bill is beyond any recognition I could come up with.”
But the press conference turned to a broader defense of Boehner’s three-year tenure as Speaker.
“I’m as conservative as anybody around this place,” he said. “And all the things that we’ve done in the three years that I’ve been Speaker have not violated any conservative principle. Not once.”
Asked whether he wanted the conservative groups to “stand down,” Boehner scoffed. “I don’t care what they do,” he replied.
Conservative groups had fired back at Boehner’s initial denunciation on Wednesday, but they held back on Thursday.
I really like Mitch McConnell’s attitude. How dare these uppity peasants actually think they should have a choice in choosing their elected officials. They should support me no matter how many times I stab them in the back. Meanwhile, the Democrats are happy with Boehner’s new attitude.
Democrats, however, praised his comments.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) weighed in on the feud Thursday, saying she “was encouraged” by Boehner’s remarks but isn’t yet banking on the notion that they foreshadow a new era of bipartisan cooperation.
“We’ll see what happens today,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called them “a breath of fresh air.”
Just what we need. I have one question to ask Mr. Boehner. How does he expect his party to win elections if the leaders openly despise their most active grassroots supporters? Perhaps he has bought into the mainstream media theme that the Tea Party is just a few extreme wackos and that he should cooperate with the Democrats in supporting an ever growing government. If this is the case, he and others like him could be unpleasantly surprised next November.
- John Boehner is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore (washingtonpost.com)
- The Tragic Self Beclowning of Speaker John Boehner (redstate.com)
- Glenn Beck Reaches Out, SugarCoats Opinion Again: John Boehner’s ‘Worthless’ and Mitch McConnell’s ‘a Liar’ (aconservativeedge.wordpress.com)
- Tea Party Patriots Respond to Boehner’s Attacks: He Declared War! (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Boehner Blasts Conservative Groups Again (politicalwire.com)