In a signal of postelection strife among congressional Republicans, a super PAC founded by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., blasted House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday in an e-mail to the group’s supporters.
Under the subject line “No Time to Capitulate,” the organization, the Senate Conservatives Fund, accused Boehner of doing just that.
“In the past two days since the election, House Speaker John Boehner— the highest-ranking Republican in the nation— has suggested that his party will abandon its opposition to tax increases, amnesty, and even Obamacare,” Matt Hoskins, the group’s executive director, wrote in a message to the group’s e-mail subscriber list. “I'm not making this up.”
“Despite winning another Republican majority in the House, Boehner thinks President Obama has a mandate to enact policies that destroy jobs, ignore the rule of law, and take over our health care decisions,” Hoskins said. “Obama is the first president in modern history to win reelection with fewer states than he won the first time, yet Boehner is waving the white flag on our core principles.”
The e-mail cites Boehner’s recent statements that he is confident he can reach an agreement with Democrats on a “comprehensive approach” on immigration, that Republicans will “accept new revenue, under the right conditions,” and that the election leaves the Affordable Care Act “the law of the land.”
“This isn’t leadership,” Hoskins wrote.
Boehner’s political spokesman, Cory Fritz, said that Hoskins misread the speaker’s statements. “It’s usually a good idea to read what the speaker actually said before hitting ‘send’ on an e-mail attacking a fellow conservative,” Fritz said in an e-mail. “For the record, John Boehner supports repealing and replacing Obamacare and securing our borders, and opposes tax hikes."
“That’s not going to change,” he added.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, which backs conservative Senate candidates, this summer changed its status from a political action committee headed by DeMint, who has often criticized leading Republicans for compromising conservative principles, to a super PAC. DeMint no longer formally leads the group, but it continues to reflect his views.
Boehner has taken the lead on pending fiscal negotiations with Democrats and the White House on how to address the tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled to hit in January, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has stayed mostly silent since Tuesday.
Boehner and his office, in a news conference today, pushed back on claims Boehner had offered Democrats big concessions on immigration and taxes.
But the SCF email is a warning from conservative elements of the GOP against Republicans interpreting Democrats' election victories as a call for Republicans to reverse course on major issues.
The e-mail argues that Republicans cannot win elections by capitulating to liberal policies. “President Obama is much weaker than the mainstream media would like you to believe,” Hoskins states. “Now is not the time to give up. Things in politics can change quickly and the future depends on our resolve."
“You've probably heard the claptrap from the Republican establishment who are singling out a couple conservative candidates who lost their races,” the e-mail says in a reference to Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, two candidates SCF supported who lost Senate races in states Mitt Romney won handily. “But, in their very next breath they brag about the party's bench, which is lined with strong conservatives like [Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, R-Texas]," all of whom the fund supported in the last two cycles.