Boehner Defends His Conservatism: I’m Not a ‘Squish,’ ‘The Most Anti-Establishment Speaker’ Ever


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is defending his conservative bona fides after a failed attempt by conservatives to oust him from his speakership.

“It does pain me to be described as spineless or a squish,” Boehner said to chuckles from reporters. “I tell you what pains me the most is when they describe me as ‘the establishment.’ Now I’m the most anti-establishment speaker we’ve ever had.”

“Who was the guy who got rid of earmarks? Me,” he continued. “Who’s the guy who believes in regular order? Me. Who believes in allowing more members to participate in the process from both sides of the aisle? Me.”

Tuesday, on the first day of the 114th Congress, 25 House conservatives — encouraged by outside conservative groups and pundits — voted against Boehner’s reelection as speaker.

When asked about why he faced such conservative opposition, the Speaker explained it comes with the job.

“I’ve given some thought to this as you might imagine,” he said. “The American people are very frustrated. They’re frustrated in a struggling economy, frustrated that they don’t think Washington’s listening and they want action. I talk to Americans everyday, talk to my constituents everyday. And this frustration that’s out there — they need to take it out on somebody. They take it out on the President, take it out on me. It comes with the territory.”

Boehner argued further that when he voted as a member, he had the eighth most conservative voting record in Congress.

“I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin and I’m going to do my best to show all of our members, Democrats and Republicans and those members who voted against me, that I’m up to the job that I was given,” he said.

The Ohio Republican added that he has yet to make a decision about what action, if any, will be taken to deal with those 25 House Republicans who voted against his speakership.

“This family conservation will continue and we’ll come to some resolution in the days and weeks ahead,” Boehner said.