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.