Tea party members and advocates have shown that they are not averse to attacking fellow Republicans and, just two months after the Republicans, along with dozens of the ultra-conservative faction within the GOP, took control of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House is coming under fire for not doing enough with concerning budget cuts. Dissatisfied with the progress being made, Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, the largest of the Tea Party groups, wrote on his website that Boehner looked “like a fool” and that actor Charlie Sheen was “now making more sense” than the Speaker.
Politico reported Phillips went on to say that, because Boehner, R-Ohio, didn’t “get the message” the tea party was sending “a candidate to run against John Boehner in 2012 and should set as a goal, to defeat in a primary, the sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
But what specifically has Boehner done to earn the ire of Judson Phillips? The conservative leader wrote that Boehner had backtracked on his pledge to cut $100 billion from the fiscal budget, only pushing for $61 billion. He also noted the Speaker was declaring victory before the budget has even gone up for a vote. Phillips believes Boehner’s leadership has been both contradictory and confusing.
Suggestions? Phillips believes Boehner should be bolder. Noting that Boehner has admitted that even the $61 billion in cuts proposed by Republicans is not safe from Democrats working against them, Phillips said Boehner needs to “do something” and not just resort to the ” old tried and true Republican tactic of saying, ‘we promised you we would vote on it, and we did!’”
So how serious is Phillips with his idea of replacing Boehner with another candidate more in tune with tea party ideals? It is difficult to tell and Boehner still has a several months to win Phillips’ allegiance before he has to worry about a rival candidate for his House seat. Still, it isn’t a political threat to be taken lightly, considering the tea party’s show of force in the 2010 midterm elections. And if Boehner truly is to have competition in his next reelection campaign, he’ll be joined by several other Republicans the quick-to-toss tea partiers have already singled out — like Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Utah’s Orrin Hatch — for replacement in 2012.
And there’s also discontent on the home front to worry about. A coalition of tea party groups in Ohio sent Boehner a letter this week demanding that he adhere to the Pledge To America.
Still, many look at Phillips as a tea party “phony,” according to Time’s Alex Altman, who notes that Boehner seems to be doing a pretty good job bringing harmony to the competing factions within his own party, while negotiating legislation with the sometimes willing Democrats.
Altman does give Phillips credit, however, for SEO optimization with the Sheen reference.
And yet, how many in Boehner’s home district believe Phillips may have a point — at least enough of one to oust the sitting Speaker?