With his rant against conservative advocacy groups for their opposition to the budget deal, John Boehner has burnished his credentials as the worst speaker of the House — and Republican leader — in the memory of living men.
His party in the throes of a bitter conflict between establishment Republicans and right-wing tea partiers, the speaker flew off the handle and bitterly criticized groups like Heritage Action and FreedomWorks for threatening GOP lawmakers who vote for the Murray-Ryan budget pact.
“They’re using our members, and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous!” Boehner told reporters after a meeting of the GOP caucus. “Listen, if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement,” Boehner added.
One might ask how long Boehner has been in Washington if he isn’t aware that this is exactly what special interests groups do — they use anyone and anything to advance their goals. What does he expect from groups that rely on donations for survival? One might also inquire from which planet Mr. Boehner has alighted if he can say with a straight face: “[I]f you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.” They certainly have an entirely different idea of mathematics on Boehner’s home world if he thinks that adding $63 billion in total discretionary spending in the next two years represents support for “deficit reduction.”
This is how Democrats spin raising federal spending, not Republicans.
Boehner went even further in his criticism, accusing some conservative groups of opposing the deal before it was even completed:
“You mean the groups who came out and opposed this before they even saw it,” Boehner asked, interrupting a reporter who started to ask about the criticism from conservative groups.
As expected, the conservative groups targeted in Boehner’s rant struck back — hard.
Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks:
Speaker Boehner’s real problem here isn’t with conservative groups like FreedomWorks, it’s with millions of individual Americans who vote Republican because they were told the GOP was the party of small government and fiscal responsibility.
Once again Republicans, led by John Boehner, are working with Democrats to increase spending yet again on the taxpayers’ tab while promising “savings” down the road. We know how this movie ends. How can leadership credibly promise spending cuts later, after agreeing to a plan that rolls back the sequester savings promised two debt increases ago? There’s a predictable pattern here.
Club for Growth President Chris Chocola:
We stand with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, members of the Republican Study Committee and every other fiscal conservative who opposes the Ryan-Murray deal. After carefully reviewing the budget deal, on which we never commented until it was complete, we determined that it would increase the size of government. We support pro-growth proposals when they are considered by Congress. In our evaluation, this isn’t one of those.
No doubt the speaker is frustrated with the constant naysaying from outside groups and tea party types in Congress. But does a good leader come out and publicly chastise those in opposition or does he seek to calm the situation and work to unify the party? At the very least, Boehner should have kept his mouth shut rather than pour gasoline on a fire already raging out of control in the grassroots.