House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told the moderate Ripon Society Tuesday that President Obama’s goal is to “annihilate the Republican Party.”
The Republican leader argued that Obama’s ambitious second-term agenda could not be enacted unless Republicans suffer serious losses in the next mid-term elections.
“[G]iven what we heard yesterday about the president’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me and should be clear to all of you that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans,” Boehner said. “So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party. And let me tell you, I do believe that is their goal. To just shove us in the dustbin of history.”
Republicans will need to defend themselves in a “very hostile environment,” Boehner said, by thinking strategically about when and how to confront the president.The Hill adds more detail:
... Boehner said that he should have taken a different course after the November election by immediately demanding that the Senate produce a bill to avert the worst parts of a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that were due to hit on Jan. 1.
Instead, Boehner delivered a formal speech at the Capitol on the day after President Obama won a second term, in which he offered a major Republican concession – new tax revenue as part of a broader fiscal deal.
“Looking back, what I should have done the day after the election was to make it clear the House has passed a bill to extend all of the current tax rates, the House has passed a bill to replace the sequester with cuts in mandatory spending, and the Senate ought to do its work,” Boehner said. “We’re ready, able and willing to work with the Senate as soon as they produce a bill. It should have been what I said. You know, again, hindsight is 20-20.”
“You have no idea the suspicions and the undercurrents that it caused, frankly, a lot of my members,” Boehner said of his negotiations with Obama. “It really has, in fact, caused somewhat of a breach that I’ve been in the middle of trying to repair.”
Boehner attributed the suspicions to the younger members in the Republican ranks who are not familiar with his voting record in the years before he took the Speaker’s gavel.
“Some of our members don’t realize that while I may be a nice enough guy, and I get along with people, when I was voting I had the 8th most conservative voting record in the House,” he said. “But a lot of our newer members – they don’t know that. And so, you know, they think I’m some squish, that I’m ready to sell them out in a heartbeat, when obviously, most of you in this room know that that ain’t quite who I am.”Full video: