"I think they're misleading their followers," Boehner said. "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."
This is in addition to a comment he made about them last year saying, "Are you kidding me?"
The feelings are mutual:
But Boehner's conservative critics are furious. Jenny Beth Martin, president and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, started a nationwide petition this week demanding that Boehner be fired as speaker.
"Speaker Boehner is unable to lead the House of Representatives," Martin said. "He's certainly unable to lead his own caucus."
One of the first signs that a movement is in trouble is when everything starts to turn into a purity contest. This is why few third parties have been able to get much traction in this country. To sustain itself, a movement must allow its members freedom to grow and to disagree. Frequently, movements will start and explode in numbers. They will look like they are about to take over the country. But then they fall apart because too many members think too many other members are not ideologically pure enough for them.
While it will be difficult for President Obama to stand his ground in the 2014 elections, the GOP civil war will help his chances. For every GOP member who voted for Sarah Palin and not John McCain, there were many others who refused to vote or who voted for Obama because they could not stand Palin back in 2008. And there will be others who will refuse to vote if a "Main Street Republican" wins a primary over a "Tea Party Patriot."
And, of course, there are civil wars within the Tea Party. There are constant squabbles over who deserves credit for the tea party to begin with. But in the end, the Tea Party's problem is that while they purport to be about smaller government, that does not apply to abortion, gay rights, or immigration. Regarding abortion, their objective has been forced pregnancy even if the woman's life is in danger (Todd Akin, for instance). They have always been against same-sex marriage. And most of them are all for big government and massive spending in order to create a police state to profile and round up all the immigrants. That is why they were never able to grow outside their numbers and appeal to Democrats or Independents.
In the end, you can't have it both ways. A good system of values has to apply even when it is not convenient for your side. That is the concept that the Tea Party failed to grasp. If they are serious about reducing the size and scope of government, then let them take a stand for choice, gay rights, and immigration reform.