Outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner says he’s not being pushed out of the job he’s held for five years.
John Boehner acknowledges, however, that he wants to avoid the continuation of the “churning” that’s taken place within the Republican House caucus. Over the past several months, conservative members—who have become increasingly unhappy with his inability to provide meaningful opposition to President Obama’s far-left agenda—have mounted a steady rebellion.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has been the most visible member of that opposition, but unrest has spread to other members of the Republican House caucus whose support, until recently, Boehner has been able to count on.
Opposition to John Boehner has come from both inside the Republican caucus and outside the House. And 2016 presidential primary politics are playing a big role in why outside pressure has had an increasingly significant influence on the behavior of members of Congress.
Leading the conservative grassroots opposition from outside the House have been several groups, including an informal coalition known as Groundswell, which has met regularly on Capitol Hill once a month for the past five years. The goal is to chart a limited government path of activism to counteract the unholy alliance between the far-left and the Republican establishment that has had a death grip on Washington since the beginning of the Obama administration.
“Boehner’s fall is connected to why Cruz and Trump and Carson and Carly are rising because if you hear the frustration [of the conservative grassroots], you know citizens want the Congress to stop Obama’s [fundamental] transformation [of the country],” Ginni Thomas of Liberty Consulting, an activist and Groundswell member tells Breitbart News.
“This is not personal about John Boehner,” Thomas is quick to add. “It’s really about principle and failed leadership.”
“It was an inside-outside effort,” Thomas, tells Breitbart News. “It will continue to be. Inside the House, outside in the grassroots and the conservative groups who get the grassroots,” Thomas, who was also a former leadership staff member for one-time Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), says.
Other participants in the Groundswell group and conservative activists in general agree.
Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, former Virginia attorney general and current president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, told the Washington Times, shortly after Boehner’s resignation was announced on Friday, the news “is welcomed by conservatives across the country.”
“As Speaker of the House, John Boehner was hostile towards conservatives and our principles… Rather than fighting President Obama and his liberal policies, Speaker Boehner embraced them and betrayed his party’s own voters.” Cuccinelli added.
“The next Speaker of the House must be willing to defend the Constitution and stand up for the principles of freedom that make our nation great,” he concluded.
Cuccinelli was defeated by Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 race for governor of Virginia.
Conservative icon Richard Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said, “the resignation of John Boehner is a great victory for the grassroots whose demand for Republican leaders who will fight to govern America according to conservative principles finally drove Boehner out.”
“Conservatives are not a wing of the GOP or an interest group—we ARE the Republican Party. Boehner’s resignation shows that there is a time limit on how long a small minority can run roughshod over the rights and interests of America’s conservative majority,” Viguerie added.
Viguerie called on conservatives to put the pressure on Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
“As Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy now owns whatever happens in Congress and conservatives must hold him accountable for what happens on defunding Planned Parenthood, stopping Obama’s illegal immigration and amnesty schemes and other assaults on constitutional government,” Viguerie said.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, was unsparing in his criticism of John Boehner’s tenure as Speaker of the House, and said his stepping down was a “forced resignation.”
“John Boehner’s willingness to fund rather than oppose Barack Obama’s lawlessness is a chief reason for his forced resignation from his position as speaker of the House,” Fitton said in a statement.
Fitton hit Boehner hard on his failure to provide any effective Congressional oversight to the excesses of the Obama administration.
“It is no small issue that, during Boehner’s tenure, Judicial Watch is widely acknowledged to have been performing the oversight that is the job of Congress. We’ve heard from many members of the House who are embarrassed that its committees and oversight have become a joke under Speaker Boehner. Judicial Watch has had more success investigating the IRS, Benghazi, and [Hillary] Clinton email scandals than any House committee under Boehner’s direction,” Fitton said.
Groundswell member Thomas also emphasized John Boehner’s oversight failures.
“Whoever the next Speaker is—they need to learn the lessons of Boehner’s final surrender. The lesson is failed-effective-messaging by all Republicans (led by their leader) and failed Republican Congressional oversight that is effective.”
Judicial Watch’s Fitton kept punching.
“And the House simply could not stand for John Boehner to allow the funding of the very things he told the American people that House leadership opposed,” he said.
“Corruption in government grew under Speaker Boehner’s watch,” Fitton added.
When it comes to selecting new leadership for the House, Fitton did not pull his punches:
The House, Republicans and Democrats alike, should take the pending leadership change as an opportunity to restore the House of Representatives to its preeminent role as defined under the U.S. Constitution. A reform and restoration agenda for the House should be the priority of any new speaker and leadership team. It is time to commit to combatting government corruption; time to focus on effective and serious oversight and accountability of an out-of-control federal government; time to end the DC transparency crisis; and time to restore constitutional governance and the rule of law. The elected despotism that the Founding Fathers warned about must end.
Citizen’s United President David Bossie called John Boehner’s departure “a victory for grassroots conservatives.”
“Speaker Boehner’s retirement announcement is a victory for grassroots conservatives,” Bossie said in a statement.
“Under Boehner’s leadership, Congress has failed to advance meaningful reforms, much less the bold conservative reforms our country needs. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time now, and as a conservative, I’m excited at the prospect of electing new conservative leadership in the House of Representatives.” Bossie added.
David Bozell, ForAmerica president, had some advice for members of the House of Representatives on next steps.
“Members must ask themselves if there is anyone among them who wants to put the House of Representatives back on offense and reclaim the body’s constitutionally mandated authority over the rules, regulation making, and spending processes,” Bozell said in a statement.
FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon agreed.
“It’s time for new leadership in Congress,” Brandon said in a statement.
“Last year, the grassroots toppled Majority Leader Eric Cantor and now they’ve forced out Speaker Boehner. The tide is changing in Washington. FreedomWorks will be supporting the House Freedom Caucus to make sure that the incoming leadership adhere to conservative principles, not special interests,” Brandon concluded.
“Americans deserve a Congress that fights for opportunity for all and favoritism to none. Too often, Speaker Boehner has stood in the way,” said Heritage Action’s CEO, Mike Needham.
“Today’s announcement is a sign that the voice of the American people is breaking through in Washington. Now is the time for a principled, conservative leader to emerge. Heritage Action will continue fighting for conservative policy solutions and we look forward to working with the new leadership team.”
“The next Republican Speaker of the House must be willing to fight for the principles of America; not simply be a caretaker for the establishment Republicans. Tryouts for the job begin today,” long time conservative leader and Founder of Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly said on Friday.
When it comes to putting the outside forces together with the inside forces to pressure John Boehner’s resignation, Thomas says it was a team effort.
“Groundswell is one of the many forces that were frustrated with failed Republican congressional leadership,” she tells Breitbart News.
“Groundswell cannot take credit for the part of many people trying to stop excessive accommodation to Obama’s fundamental transformation of the nation. Congressional leaders, to our surprise, never built a fighting force for founding principles,”
“We were privy to the pot boiling of frustration,” Thomas said, “because we hear and listen to people anxious about where the nation is headed.”
Under John Boehner’s leadership, Republicans “failed to contrast our principles with Obama’s fundamental transformation of the country,” Thomas says.
“People want a contrast to Obama’s fundamental transformation of the country, they don’t want accommodation.”
As for the future, the next few days are critical for conservative activists, as the media and the left begin to sort out how they will respond, Thomas says.
“We’re going to see a narrative battle over the next 72 hours about the meaning of Boehner’s resignation,” Thomas predicts.
“Liberals and the establishment have their spin. We hope Americans can hear the truth,” she adds.
“Liberals have already put out their false narrative that Boehner’s resignation is a sign of the meanness of Republicans. They say ‘conservative policies are hurting immigrants, women and the poor,’ when the opposite is true,” Thomas concludes.