Head of Heritage Action Says He Doesn’t Like the Republican Party

“Seventy-two percent of the American people don’t like the Republican Party,” Michael Needham says. “I’m one of those right now.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Jan. 3, 2014, 12:17 p.m.

The new year may sig­nal a fresh start, but some con­ser­vat­ives are still smart­ing over what happened in 2013.

Mi­chael Need­ham, the CEO of Her­it­age Ac­tion for Amer­ica, a right-wing policy ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tion, hasn’t quite for­giv­en the GOP for how it gov­erned Wash­ing­ton in the last few months.

“Sev­enty-two per­cent of the Amer­ic­an people don’t like the Re­pub­lic­an Party,” Need­ham said in an in­ter­view with polit­ic­al re­port­ers pub­lished Fri­day on C-SPAN. It’s not clear which poll he is cit­ing. “I’m one of those right now.”

Need­ham’s sen­ti­ment comes after a pub­lic spat between con­ser­vat­ive groups and the Grand Old Party last month, which began when or­gan­iz­a­tions like Her­it­age Ac­tion fought back against the new budget deal.

In an op-ed for USA Today, Need­ham called the deal “a step back­ward.” In re­sponse, House Speak­er John Boehner slammed Her­it­age Ac­tion and oth­ers for their push­back. “They’re us­ing our mem­bers and they’re us­ing the Amer­ic­an people for their own goals,” he said dur­ing a Dec. 11 press con­fer­ence. “This is ri­dicu­lous.” The next day, the Re­pub­lic­an lead­er’s harsh re­marks con­tin­ued. Con­ser­vat­ive groups, he said, are “mis­lead­ing their fol­low­ers, they’re push­ing our mem­bers in places where they don’t want to be, and frankly I think they’ve lost all cred­ib­il­ity.”

Need­ham seems to think Re­pub­lic­ans have lost something, too. “The Re­pub­lic­an Party needs to find its soul,” he said in the C-SPAN in­ter­view. “It needs to find who it stands for.”

The CEO did have some kind words for one Re­pub­lic­an in par­tic­u­lar, however. “John Boehner calls him­self a con­ser­vat­ive, I think he’s a great con­ser­vat­ive,” he said. “I’ve dis­agreed with some play-calls that he’s made as speak­er, and we’ve ar­tic­u­lated our dis­agree­ments with him.”

Need­ham told the re­port­ers that all of the 2016 GOP nom­in­ees ex­cite him. Oth­er mem­bers of the party, however, may still be on his bad side.

Matt Berman contributed to this article.
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