A day after loss, conservatives point fingers
Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin joins other members of the Tea Party outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the third day of oral arguements over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act March 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
November 7th, 2012
03:54 PM ET
1 year ago

A day after loss, conservatives point fingers

(CNN) - Following Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama, conservative leaders wasted no time Wednesday offering pointed criticism of the Republican Party and its pick for president.

A coalition of social conservatives and tea party activists gathered in Washington to decry what they described as Romney's failure to represent conservatives on a national level.

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"We wanted someone who would fight for us. What we got was a weak, moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party," Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said in a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

"The presidential loss is unequivocally on them," she added.

Pushed from the right in the Republican presidential primary, Romney sought to paint himself as "severely conservative," though the former Massachusetts governor had taken Democratic positions on certain issues in his political past.

Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, argued that Romney failed to pass the ideological test, saying he ran as a "Democrat-light" and adjusted his positions to campaign as a moderate during the general election.

"At the end of the day, conservatives were left out in the cold. It should have been a landslide for Romney, had he embraced a truly conservative agenda," Bozell said. "But Romney's a moderate and his campaign embarked on a bizarre...defense from the outset."

He further faulted the GOP presidential nominee for not adopting a political strategy of defining his opponent and going on the attack early on. Citing the president's record, Bozell argued "it should have been a cakewalk for Romney to define (the president), but he didn't–hence Obama's victory."

On social issues, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List, blasted the candidate for not making abortion a central part of the 2012 dialogue.

"He took all the right stances," she said. "The problem was not communicating on the national stage with Obama what his actual positions were."

The group endorsed Romney after he unofficially became the nominee in April when former Sen. Rick Santorum dropped out of the race. Dannenfelser said they were "happy to endorse him when the time came" but expressed frustration when she said "we assumed, that given who he was, he would make (abortion) more of a national issue."

Looking at the party on a macro-level, activists also acknowledged Republicans had work to do in terms of adapting to the country's demographic changes. Alfred Regnery, president of the Paul Revere Project, issued a stark warning for the GOP.

"If Republicans don't start to listen to (what minorities are looking for in a candidate), it's going to be a long time before they can win," he said.

His comments echoed those made my former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who earlier Wednesday said on CNN that the party now faces a "very serious moment" and argued the GOP should work on becoming more inclusive–a major challenge, he said, for House Republicans.

"The question is do they want to, in a disciplined way, create a schedule and a program and include people who are not traditionally Republican?" he said.

All the activists at the press conference agreed that Tuesday's election signaled a need for the GOP to re-institute more conservative "fundamentals." While some argue the Republican Party's failure to retake the Senate or make gains in the House suggests the tea party is losing steam, the group of individuals Wednesday argued the opposite.

Given this week's results, they said, conservatives will be even more motivated to reform the party. Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservatieHQ.com, ended the press conference with one final prediction.

"Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years," he said.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Tea Party
soundoff (911 Responses)
  1. got brains in NY

    "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years," Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservatieHQ.com said. That moment in time will be forever known as the day the Republican party finally expired into the trash bin of dead political parties.

    November 7, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    What would be conservative enough for them? Have they asked themselves that question? If they assume control of the GOP, they will send it the way of the Whigs.

    November 7, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. 3MgH

    Tea Party! You are delusional. It's your ideology Romney had to run from to give you even a slight chance of winning. Had he stuck to with your conservative positions, it would have been an epic fail. Wake up! No one wants what you are selling.

    November 7, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Sure they will if they do the gop will be destroyed, no loss ,at least the 17 bush advisors and Carl rove got trashed and grover norquest is next !!!!!

    November 7, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. ezduzit757

    This is EXACTLY what MSNBC said we would see today. Conservatives saying they lost because they weren't CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH. Please keep thinking that and you will keep losing, which would be a great thing for this country!

    November 7, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Observer

    So he wasn't conservatice enough, well what you are hoping for won't come from the American public. They would be able to side with Romney in a way, but if you go even further right, well put it this way, there will be room for a third party. American won't elect a man like Akin or Broun or that other tea bagger, yet you think they would someone even more right wing. Your definitely drinking too much of the republican koolaid. Your talking about a zealot, and they have those in 3rd world countries, the American people will never support a person like that. Right wing crazies might, but never in the numbers to put he or she in office. Wow, switch to decaf.

    Lucid One

    November 7, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Trader

    What a joke! Obama was pulling away before Romney moderated himself.

    November 7, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. DENNA

    The Tea Party is to blame for the demise of the Republicans run for president. For four years they have yelled, whined, lied and acted like the world was coming to an end because Barack Obama was elected. They did this completely unaware that the rest of us could hear them and were shaking our heads in dismay. Then they encouraged the GOP to run a campaign rift with lies, bald-faced lies. If the GOP doesn't want to become irrelevant in America, they seriously need to jettison the wingnuts from their party. I am a staunch liberal, but I have come to respect Gov. Chris Christie of N.J. He will never have a "bromance" with the president but he had the common sense to know that President Obama handled the hurricane situation well, very well. I would say Christie 2016 is not outside the realm of possibility..

    November 7, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. sjlucas

    I'm amused that you didn't hear any mention of Gov. Romney not being conservative enough before the votes were counted. I wish these folks all the luck in the world. I hope they are able to move the GOP even further to the right. Maybe in 2016, they'll REQUIRE women to be raped so that they can be denied reproductive choice just to prove a point.

    November 7, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People!

    These ignorant skirts think the anti-abortion agenda was NOT discussed enough?

    Silly me, I thought that very topic is why the gender gap for Robme was a -19 and why women voted for President O!

    November 7, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. DeeDee

    Let the Tea Party take over...makes it easier for the moderates to win!

    November 7, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Dan Lobb

    Time changes everything. Maybe the conservative wing of the Republicans will look better if the world economy continues to teeter toward catastrophe with the president desperately applying worthless bandaids and not addressing the real roots of the financial crisis. America is not yet ready to face up to what has to be done; stop using the public purse to finance unrealistic housing investments. There is no willingness by political leadership to face up to this yet.

    November 7, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    And the GOP's astroturf Frankenstein turns on its creators....

    Serpent, swallow thy tail! nom nom nom nom....

    November 7, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    When there are so many 1 issue groups trying to get their message to be the primary one, it will hurt the party. I don't think that the alliance that Reagan put together is really going to stay together after George W. Bush started tearing it apart.

    November 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. John in GJ

    What bizzaro world do these tea party people live in? These wing nuts will put the Republican party out of business. Tea Party people are a tiny minority that get way too much publicity. Move to Idaho and become a survivalist. Leave us alone.

    November 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. JayT

    Amazing. A severe conservative would have lost by a greater margin. Talk about out of step.

    November 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Missing the boat

    WOW! These guys completely got it backwards. The reason I didnt vote for Romney is because he did not move to the middle enough. The extreme right influence from the Tea Party and Neo-Cons COST him the election...not the other way around.

    November 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. The Situation

    Blah, Blah, Blah! Romney sold his soul to you Rethugs and look were it got him. Now the whining and crying begins. If the Republicans are to win back the White House, they will need more moderates and less Tea Baggers running the party.

    November 7, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Abu

    Rt from begining we the poor knows Romney does not " love u.s.a" otherwise y should he " move his companys 2 other countries when ppl need jobs. Americans are not FOOLS!!!

    November 7, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. RB

    Bozell is dillusional. Why did they Democrats retain the Senate, against many Tea Party candidates?

    November 7, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Sandy C

    AMAZING that the people/ groups quoted above can be SO FAR removed from Reality! 'NOT Conservative enough'? 'Didn't make abortion MORE of an issue'? The GOP has chased a lot of us who would LIKE to and used to vote GOP away w/ their firm entrenchment w/ the 'christian' right and Reactionary rights agenda!! Santorum would hav been creamed/ NEVER in it. Good Grief!!

    November 7, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Tony T

    Oh shut the he11 up moron. The Tea Party has cost the Republican Party control of the Senate TWICE now with their moronic candidates. Tossing sure winners for sure losers several times in the Senate. You fools need to start playing team ball or go start your own damn party. Delaware, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana ALL should be Republican Senate seats. You need to start understanding all the damage you are doing by not being a team player.

    November 7, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. PaulS

    If they were that upset about the lack of conservatism eminating from their candidate, why did they wait until he lost to complain? Lack of priniciples perhaps? Seems like Romney was just like them!

    November 7, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Peter Principle

    "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years," he said.

    Sorry, Richard, God doesn't love us Democrats that much.

    November 7, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Expat American

    I hope that the Tea Party fascists continue to inbreed themselves into the GOP Party. This will lay the groundwork for even more progressive victories and Republican defeats in the near future.
    Preibus should be replaced with either Palin, Bachmann, Murdoch, or Akin.
    The Tea Party and Right Wing Hate Mobs need to reinvigorate their hate and their bigotry even more.

    November 7, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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