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. Unknown

    Romney lost because instead of trying to let American people know how he is going to run the country, he was telling American how much he hates Obama and to help him to get rid of him by any means necessary. He had no plan on what he wants to do with the country once he got elected except that there will be no tax for his corporate buddies. Why would any sane person wants to vote for that?

    November 8, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. MnTaxpayer

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

    Good. Then there won't be a Republican president for 50 years.

    November 8, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Dennis Myers

    If conservative activists continue their present course, they will force the creation of a third major party which will in turn guarantee decades of Democratic victories and the need to revamp the electoral college. True conservatives have good ideas to contribute that help to temper unbridled liberalism, but they must learn how to play well with others. Single-issue extremists cannot be allowed to control the Republican party.

    November 8, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Larry in Houston

    hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but the days of Nixon / Reagan / Bush 1 / Bush 2 / are over – They won't be able to "BUY" Elections, Like those days – The People VOTED – I think People like Sheldon Adelson / the Coke Brothers / Grover Norquist / Trump / & the List goes ON – I think they Know now – that it doesn't matter how much $$$$$$ they have , or how much they sink into an election, to get their Man elected, I honestly believe they are going to end up saving their money, from here on.

    Buying Off elections, is a thing of the Past.

    November 8, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. MarkinFL

    " social conservatives and tea party activists gathered in Washington to decry what they described as Romney's failure"

    If these guys do not figure out that it was his voiced support for their views that cost him the election then they will keep losing at the national level and can kiss the Senate and presidency goodbye until they do.

    November 8, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Whatever......

    Advice to tea partiers, low information voters, etc. from a liberal: it's 2012 not 1812. Each generation continues on the path of forming the "more perfect union" outlined in the preamble to the Constitution. Dressing up in knee britches, tricorn hats and as lady liberty will not return us to that period in history. We should all fight to preserve our rights and freedoms but let's not be ridiculous! I won't compromise my principles but neither will I stick my head in the sand and pretend that this country hasn't changed. Some I like, some I don't. Policies that I disagree with, I use the power of my vote to change. If it's personal, I use the power of Prayer to change.

    November 8, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. blindbear

    Tea Partiers. You want a candidate you control? Stop trying to hijack the Republican Party and start your own party. A real party that moderates and sane people can equally disparage. It'd do us all a world of good. Republicans could become statesmen again, Tea Partiers can rant and rave and test whether your beliefs are actually held by other folks who don't wear tinfoil hats, and the Democrats can look forward to being the only truly moderate party in the nation.

    November 8, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. GOP HAte America

    1. Keep thinking its not conservative enough problem and you tea baggers will continue to see your support dwindle more.
    2. Stop crying and jump on board and help this nation get back of its feet. If you do not want to be part of the solution get out of the way because you are then part of the problem.

    November 8, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. rs

    Clearly it will be hard to put their TEA Party back in the box after unleashing it with all it's Birther and racist fury, but that is what the GOP needs to do to try to win back middle of the road Americans. Creating and funding the TEA Party the way they did was a calculated risk, and now it has cost them a national election.

    November 8, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. VinnieUtah

    I live in Utah and Mitt saved the Olympics for us in 2002. I was ready to vote for him at the beginning of the election, but he lost my vote as soon as he stood next to the other GOP candidates. The problem started when he was trying to win the GOP nomination. In order to win, he had to become "Severely Conservative" which we all know he is not. Once he painted himself into that "Tea" flavor corner, there is no way for him to get out except to etch sketch his way into the general election. The end result is he lost his identity. So don't blame Mitt, it's the Tea people that lost the election, they are just too extreme for America. As long as they insist on have it their way or else, they will always ended up with ELSE!

    November 8, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    "It should have been a landslide for Romney, had he embraced a truly conservative agenda." Wow, these people are still clutching their 1950's black and white tv's. We are not all white, straight, Evangelicals. Romney never uttered the word "gay." They don't exist in the "truly conservative agenda." President Obama talked about being able to love whoever you wish in almost every speech.

    November 8, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Already seeing massive layoffs

    The only problem the right has, is believing the voting base is smart. They need to dumb down their policies into simple sound bites, buy people stuff, and give everyone a participation ribbon now and then. Apparently it also helps to watch a lot of Honey Boo Boo and ignore allies to parade as "eye candy" on daytime TV. An actual quote from a voter in Philly "I voted Obama because I thought Romney would favor the working man." Umm, really, me too... that's why I voted for him! Sheesh.

    November 8, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. present conservative former republican

    I voted almost entirely democrat because the republican party has been transformed into a party lead by simple minded sub parties that think the answer to all of the countries problems are black and white. The Republican platform was so archaic, backward, and stuffed with nuts that it had no shot at winning. Enjoy the ride down Republicans. I'm waiting for the governor of New Jersey. He'll probably be a disappointment too but at least he's willing to talk to the other side and not just take his ball and go home.

    November 8, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Pam from Iowa

    I think you need to point fingers at the whole Republcan Party and all its members!
    Too many kooks, fanatics, and just plain 'dumb' people in the GOP!
    I mean seriously, birthers, death panels.......why does the GOP like to make up lies? This really turns people off!!

    November 8, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Rick Parrish

    I agree with others that the Tea Party (the American/Christian version of the Taliban) if allowed will be the ultimate downfall of the Republican Party and any hope of a rational conservative movement. It should also be noted that the Red and Blue election map the other night roughly followed the same contours as the civil war era map of states and territories that were pro-slavery. Coincidence? Probably not.

    November 8, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Troy

    These folks just don't get it. This is a center-right country, not a far right country. Romney lost because his ground operations were not even close to the level of Obama's, coupled with the fact that our party has pushed hispanic, black, and to a lesser extent women, voters away. The answer is certainly not to lurch even further to the right. Look what happened in Indiana and Missouri. Dick Lugar would've won Indiana in a walk (again) and McCaskill was vulnerable. The tea party cost us at least 2, possibly as many as 4, seats in Congress.

    November 8, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. liberal

    The tea woman is right: Romney was selected by the Republican elite / special interests / trickle downers etc.

    If she and the other tea leaves (= small loose bits not contained in a bag) want to know what happens if they nominate one of their own she only needs to look at the various Senate races the tea leaves lost. No one is interested in their nutty flavor. Except their moms and their dogs (well, maybe).

    Hillary / Cuomo 2016!

    November 8, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    ruth

    Well the people of this country picked obama,good luck ,this will all backfire on everyone that did vote for him,lets just say you have been warned,the people that voted for him are not well educated...

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Said the woman who doesn't even know how to use correct grammar & punctuation. LOL!

    November 8, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Anthony

    If the right thinks that they lost because their candidate was not conservative enough, then you still have your head in the ground like an ostrich! and your right it should have been a no brainer for the GOP in this Election, but social issues got put on the table by the GOP Ultra Conservative Candidates, and they all lost their election bids too? if Romney wasnt Conservative enough, and these guys like Murddock and Akin were (some of the most conservative candidates running for the party this year)why did they loose? what happened there? these where your guys. no Abortion rights period end of story, no equality in marriage, cut spending, no new taxes, and reduce the size of GOV. Why didnt they win?
    Get your head out of the ground and breath some fresh air. you people are stuck in a twilight zone of sorts, this is not 1950. Society has Progressed and Evolved (i know another word you hate, libby science bs). the whole country is using Macbooks, and you are still insisting that typewritters are better.
    your party went right and lost. your party went even further right and still lost. and you think that going even further right you will win. if you go more right, you will be a fascist. you cannot win elections with just the male white vote anymore. whites are not the majority in this nation anymore. this is a nation of minorities now. if you dont start embracing what values minorities hold dear, well then i hope the GOP enjoys its final right into the Twilight.

    November 8, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Damian X

    "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." This is the problem with these people ...they have it backawrds !! a mojority of Americans are moderate! We don't want right wing extremists. It was a close race but at the end of the day Romney failed to connect to people. had a wishy washy tax plan lacking details, and a useless running mate that scared more people than attracted.

    November 8, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Mitt Rmoney

    Hey, I am severely conservative. Really, I am.
    Gotta run now, the Koch brothers are calling and they want their money back.

    November 8, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Jim Jensen

    The Tea Party extremists don't make sense. Let me make sure I understand...Mitt Romney wasn't conservative enough, so the conservatives voted for Obama? Not in a million years. The right wing extemists that include, but are not limited to, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, The Tea Party, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, et al are what is hurting the GOP. The perception is that there is no difference between these extremists and the Republicans and the moderate voter is fed up with the rhetoric.

    November 8, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Critical Thinking

    It quite simple, Republicans need to adopt more of the; we will give the americans free stuff, borrow the money from other countries to do so and then walk away from our responsibility to pay for it and hand the bill to the next generation that was too young to vote when we were running for office. A large portion of this country has an entitlement mentality. They would have laughed at the democratic President John F Kennedy's speech that said; "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" But now we are becoming a nation of what's in it for me.

    So Republicans can adopt the democratic strategy of being the government version of Santa Claus. After all, nobody hates Santa Claus.

    November 8, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Anthony

    If the right thinks that they lost because their candidate was not conservative enough, then you still have your head in the ground like an ostrich! and your right it should have been a no brainer for the GOP in this Election, but social issues got put on the table by the GOP Ultra Conservative Candidates, and they all lost their election bids too? if Romney wasnt Conservative enough, and these guys like Murddock and Akin were (some of the most conservative candidates running for the party this year)why did they loose? what happened there? these where your guys. no Abortion rights period end of story, no equality in marriage, cut spending, no new taxes, and reduce the size of GOV. Why didnt they win?
    Get your head out of the ground and breath some fresh air. you people are stuck in a twilight zone of sorts, this is not 1950. Society has Progressed and Evolved (i know another word you hate, libby science malarkey). the whole country is using Macbooks, and you are still insisting that typewritters are better.
    your party went right and lost. your party went even further right and still lost. and you think that going even further right you will win. if you go more right, you will be a fascist. you cannot win elections with just the male white vote anymore. whites are not the majority in this nation anymore. this is a nation of minorities now. if you dont start embracing what values minorities hold dear, well then i hope the GOP enjoys its final right into the Twilight.

    November 8, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. E

    No, the GOP lost because of the mentality demonstrated in this article. The party of finger pointers, not idea creators. Go crawl back into your bomb shelters. If you quit pointing fingers, maybe the media would stop telling us how bad everything is every day. It's all fabrication to disguise racism.

    November 8, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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