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
2 years 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 (910 Responses)
  1. aidan

    Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough? Then why did Murdoch and Akin lose?

    November 8, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Mke

    typical tea party it's not our fault that we lost the election, Governor Romneywasn't reall conservative enogh. Keep pushing that dea you will lead to te Republica prtiesemie, voer demographcs are chnging fae it ajus, adapt or be extinct

    November 8, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. Doug

    Maybe Romney would have won if he was going to represent all Americans, not just the ones he approves of.

    November 8, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Shandha L.

    No need to point fingers you never stood a chance. The polls simply don't capture all of America, they don't have time to poll. Note to pollsters: you can't make predictions if you can't capture perspective.

    November 8, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Bessy

    @ Fatcafe You said it very well. If the Republicans are ever going to get with it they sure have a lot of changing to do. Maybe in about 30 years they will get it right. Of course maybe by that time they will only have caught up to today. (?)

    November 8, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Mr Foobar2u

    Honestly, the primaries on both sides are ridiculous..
    A moderate republican will either lie (Romney) or pass the first set of states (Giuliani) or get called a RINO (Huntsman) and then you serve up a damaged product.
    Same deal with the democrats..
    Why not have all the states vote on the same day.. and knock out the lunatics on both sides.. You'd end up with 2 moderates on both sides and instead of voting for dumb and dumber, the electorate would have to hard choice of voting for the best...

    November 8, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. Terry

    How did fascism become so popular in this country? I used to think they were just conservative but now I see that they follow fascist views. What is fascist? Stripping half the nation of the right to choose. Putting up barriers to the right to vote. Personhood amendments may just seem like the idea of a crazy person but is on the edge of true fascism. Only fans of Hitler would follow such radical positions. Women today are the jews of germany in the 1930's. Contraception is the number one force for stopping abortion. Only fascists think differently. What the hell has happened to this country? What ever happened to knowing the difference between right and wrong? At least my prayers were answered on tuesday night. My faith in god and country is stopped from being destroyed.

    November 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. Alex

    Yep, that's right tea party, the republicans lost the vote among black americans, latinos, women and people under 40 because romney wasn't conservative enough.
    If they get their way the party will die, they will continue to become more marginalized as the demographics grow.
    Stop saying the problem is we aren't asking for more government control of our lives via social issues, it is why you lost, it is why you continue to lose. Look at the 10k people Ron Paul was drawing in the primaries compared to Romney's 400 and look at the makeup of the crowds, than ask why those people didn't come back after you ignored him.

    November 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. markefried

    Wake up Republicans...many of the issues you campaigned on have been decided by voters already. You can continue to fight a losing battle or you can accept that the American population has decided where they stand on these issues.

    November 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. chaing

    There is plenty of critisism to go around; Tbags, evengelicals, Newt Gingritch, a pupet canidate,, the Koch brothers and on and on. The gop is dead and scattered. Maintaining flawed policies of Reagan and Newt (who by the way is responcible for what the gop has become). If they keep up with the obstructionist behavior in the senate and congres they will collaps in two years!

    November 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Disrespected RON PAUL

    That's why they lost.

    November 8, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. BD

    The Tea Party, despite what they say, is on the opposite side of rights and freedom. Every single instance in history where one group had a right that another did not there is no question as to who was on the correct side of history.

    I honestly believe that 100 years from now we will lump those that resisted the LBGT rights movement into the same groups as those that resisted the end of slavery, those that resisted women's sufferage. Basically the selfish, the ignorant, and the evil.

    Now tell me again how you lost because you were too moderate.

    November 8, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Todd

    The Tea Party is too extreme for the majority of the voters. The Tea Party is killing the Republican Party. The majority of the voting public are moderate with leanings either right or left. But the extreme views on either side will lose the ones that truly elect our president.

    For the Republican Party to survive and to one day hope to see another president they better move away from the extreme right and work with the Dems. Folks are satisfied with the he said she said back biting. This election should prove that. Obama has done very little for our economy (my opinion) yet he was elected pretty decidedly because the Republicans are too busy trying to move the moderate voter to their side instead of moving more to the moderate way of operating.

    November 8, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. A thinking woman

    Wow, these people are delusional. Obama won in a climate that was incredibly hostile to an incumbent. One of the reasons he won is the fact that many voters in the middle decided that they'd rather give him a chance than risk giving those crazy tea party conservatives any more power than they actually have. For the Republican Party to survive, it needs to appeal to suburban conservatives who are generally socially in alignment with the democratic party on many issues but who believe in small government. The truth is, most people DO want reproductive rights. Most people want the government to be for the people – all of them, not just white evangelicals.

    November 8, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Time Will Tell

    Well, those who felt we were on the wrong track largely still voted for Obama. We're going to see exactly how that all will pan out. I suspect there are going to be so many very surprised individuals when all is said and done.

    November 8, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Fortinbras

    They were trying to set the president up for failure. That alone was worthy of a serious election defeat. When you set the president up for failure, you set the country up for failure.

    November 8, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Cannuck Guy

    Why so much finger pointing at the Rep?.They were doomed from the get go.............wrong party ideals from the start........Tea party...thing of the past, never again........Mid terms upcoming for the Reps, they better do something in the house or else that will be the demise of the Rep party.....people want things done and NOW!!!....they have a president who seems to be pushing mostly good buttons on job creation and he has his hands tied behind his back EVERYTIME BY THE REPS. people are fed up.......enough already........the clock is on for the Reps who control the house........

    November 8, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. NOLAWildcat

    As a moderate Republican, I fear that the GOP has hitched its wagon to the wrong horse. There are plenty of Republicans out there who consider themselves moderate or even liberal when it comes to issues like abortion rights and gay marriage, but cannot stomach the fiscally irresponsible economic policy that the Democrats endorse. By rallying around the Evangelical Right and Tea Partyers, the GOP is increasingly alienating the more liberal wing of the party, not to mention the independents whose votes are crucial to winning the national elections. With the changing demographics in this country, it's all but certain that the Republicans' piece of the pie will continue to erode if they stay the present course. The GOP needs to step away from the "family values" platform and put more emphasis on its economic platform (by this I mean making intelligent spending cuts and implementing tax cuts targeted at small business rather than the "cut every social program under the sun to the bone" policy that the Tea Party wing seems to advocate). Without drastic measures to rehabilitate its image and project a more inclusive image, I fear the Republican Party will find itself increasingly irrelevant on a national level.

    November 8, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Bessy

    @ Brud
    As long as you Republicans continue to think the way you are thinking they will NEVER have a chance of winning an election. Both Newt and Rick are has been idiots and they do not see the American population any better than Romney does. Time for you to get in the REAL world and wake up to the reality of that world.

    November 8, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Karen

    The more conservative the party gets, the fewer votes they will get. This is the UNITED states of America...DIVERSITY of people NOT blind sheep. The president either represents ALL the people or he/she can just stay out of politics!!!! The Repubs need to stand up to the obstructionist teabag cult since they are responsible for MOST the recent problems in Congress!!!!

    November 8, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Kimmy

    I think Tea-parties should take over the conservative party. This way the country will know who they are, what they want and what their agenda is. But we will also know that the GOP will never win an election again. Extremists have no place in nowadays america anymore. The world has changed so much and so have the needs of the monorities that demand new visions and new outlooks. This is a reality that can no longer be ignored. White supremacy and deep conservatism will lead to failure after failure. This won't be a bad thing after all. The world needs good democrats who open up to the world and to local problems with a lot of insight and pragmatism.

    November 8, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. lastdad

    The Tea Party's version of the scientific method goes something like this;
    Develop a theory.
    Develop an experimental hypothesis to test that theory in an electoral context.
    If the results of the experiment do not support the theory, ignore the results.
    Repeat the experiment with greater faith in the validity of the theory.
    After multiple failed experiments, blame the research staff, the testing methods and faulty equipment.
    Never acknowledge that the theory is incorrect.

    November 8, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. biglio

    Please, Please, please....choose a more conservative candidate next time!
    Like Santorum, yes, the guy that couldn't even get re-elected in his own backyard, please do, so we will never have to hear again about your party, your ideas, your values.......
    It would be such a liberation! form a third party on the right so both you and the the moderate republicans will go away from our lives and finally the US will start becoming a normal country....electing Obama was a step in the right direction!

    November 8, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Karen

    How about make the teabags create their own party with their OWN money and their OWN candidates and leave the Republicans alone!

    November 8, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Name Emilia

    How are the mighty fallen!

    November 8, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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