Is there a method to John Boehner’s madness — OK, anger — at c0nservative groups criticizing the budget deal he is asking the House to approve today?
“You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?” Boehner asked reporters Wednesday. “They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous.”
“Frankly I think they’re misleading their followers. I think they’re pushing our members in places where they want to be. And frankly I just think they’ve lost all credibility,” he told reporters at his weekly press briefing today. ”There comes a point when people step over the line. When you criticize something and you have no idea what you’re criticizing, it undermines your credibility.”
“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,” Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, said in a statement as the war was getting underway.
“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,” Kibbe said. “We know how this movie ends.”
The speaker’s “histrionics” have surprised people, RedState’s Erick Erickson says today. He also says this: “What he is doing… is strategic.”
The way Erickson posits it, Boehner is gearing up for a push for immigration legislation.
“John Boehner is trying to get the `us vs. them’ battle lines drawn before primary season,.” Erickson writes at his website. “He needs those lines drawn because he is about to move on to the immigration fight. To get to that fight, he has to take on the conservative movement in a number of primaries around the country.”
“His temper tantrum today had very little to do with the present fight, but the next fight. Boehner needs to draw fence sitters to him, make conservative groups unpopular, and then dare the fence sitters to go sit with the unpopular crowd during the immigration fight.”
.@SenatorReid just called @SpeakerBohner’s recent attacks on conservatives a “breath of fresh air”
— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) December 12, 2013
Erickson attempts to bolster his case by pointing to the immigration expert whom Boehner has recruited from the Bipartisan Policy Center. “The Speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, common-sense immigration reforms — the kind of reforms the American people understand and support,” Michael Steel, a spokesman, said of the hire. “Becky Tallent, a well-known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort.”
Timing, of course, is everything. Following the Senate’s action earlier this year, immigration reform already is pushed off until 2014 in the House, if ever.
Boehner may delay immigration vote till after 2014 primary filing deadline to deter TeaParty challenges of incumbents http://t.co/rYHl8XogHE
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) December 11, 2013