Cruz, above, in recent weeks has undermined Boehner’s approach on both immigration and the debt limit.
“Listening to him about leadership is folly,” Simpson said.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said Cruz should play a more constructive role rather than taking on other Republicans.
“In terms of the debt limit, we have to be realistic that we don’t want to default on our debt,” Kinzinger said. “We also don’t have the Senate.
“Maybe Ted Cruz should spend a little time trying to win the Senate instead of attacking his fellow Republicans,” he said. “I thought that Ted Cruz was past [that], but maybe he isn’t.”
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., said Cruz has an easier job serving in the minority. “But the majority comes with it the responsibility to govern and that’s what we are trying to do in the House,” he said.
Boehner has generally declined to attack Cruz directly — talking recently with late night host Jay Leno about the Texas firebrand.
“Ted Cruz used to be my attorney a long time ago. A good guy. I don’t always agree with him, but he’s a good guy,” Boehner told Leno, while describing the shutdown as a “predictable disaster.”
Cruz, who told Bloomberg recently that he doesn’t “really know” Boehner, suggests immigration should be taken up in 2015, when Republicans could control the Senate.
He also believes that passage of an immigration overhaul would demoralize Republican voters.
Many Republicans have called for passing an immigration bill in order to appeal to the fast-growing Latino population. Supporters also argue that it makes sense for Republicans to take up the issue, given that there are millions of American-born children of illegal immigrants who will grow up to be voters.
But Cruz said he finds that establishment Republican argument condescending.
“The self-proclaimed D.C. gray beards who say, ‘It’s all about winning, baby’ as they are so fond of saying, [as if to say] ‘You grass-roots ruffians don’t understand our sophistication,’” Cruz said. “And sadly it’s with every bit of that dripping condescension that the D.C. establishment looks down at the American people.”
Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action, one of the outside groups that Boehner railed against for provoking the shutdown, said conservatives see Cruz and like-minded Republicans as champions of their cause willing to shake up the Republican orthodoxy of years past.
“The problem is not just Reid is blocking them, they have their own Republican leadership blocking them and that’s a real problem,” Holler said.
Holler said conservatives are looking for House Republicans to seek some kind of concession on the debt ceiling, hopefully along the lines of the dollar-for-dollar cuts achieved in 2011. But they don’t have high hopes.
“They have done everything in their power to downplay it and basically give away every bit of leverage that they ever had on it by telegraphing ... that there is absolutely no way we are going to win. ... We’ll have a fake fight and then we’ll cave. That’s not the way you’re going to win elections.”
He said conservatives feel like they have had somewhat of a victory on their fight against an immigration overhaul given reservations voiced by Boehner about the prospects this year.
“We are somewhat cautious,” Holler said, adding that the fact that Republicans put out principles “was alarming.”
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.