A House Republican who lost his primary race criticized the top two leaders in his conference on Thursday for being overly partisan.
Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) suggested that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have done too much to woo the base of the party.
“By that description, are you criticizing your current House leaders, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor, for being overly partisan?” he was asked.
“I think that to some extent, we’re getting what we deserve,” Inglis replied. “We have basically decided to stir up a base and that’s a bad decision for the country. Because the country needs people here serving in Washington to say, ‘listen let’s lead and let’s help people understand.’“
Inglis is one of several Republicans to criticize party leaders, saying they have kowtowed too far to the right in an attempt to attract Tea Party support for the November midterm elections.
Spokesmen for Boehner and Cantor declined to comment.
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), a three-term incumbent opposed by the Tea Party and who was left of the primary ballot, has been critical of the conservative grassroots movement but also said late last month that his party is short on real policy ideas.
The congressman was specifically asked about Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) backing of “birther” lawsuits.
Inglis said “birther” claims that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen are harmful for the party and later said the same about Sarah Palin’s and some GOP lawmakers’ assertion that the healthcare law contains “death panels.”
“As to the birther matter, let me be clear. The president is obviously a citizen of the United States,” he said. ”Really we do lose credibility when we spend time talking about such things. Why do we do that? We do it because we want to vilify the other side. We want to make them into the big bad guys. The big bad thing is what we have all created together.”