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
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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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