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. g

    I think they should grab their women by the hair and drag them back to their caves, and stay there for the next 30 yrs

    November 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. B.

    In a Nutshell , Obama cares about people, and Romney cares more about Title and Money and folks understand things like that, believe it or not!

    Romney is a fraud.

    November 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Ol' Lefty

    I think it would be just great if the whack-a-doos continue their advance in the GOP. And completely ignoring the quickly changing demographic in this country. Great for my Party (Dem), for sure.

    November 8, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Adam

    The election was a testament that people are fed up with candidates that are extreme. The senatorial defeats in Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin show how even in traditionally Red states we are turning people off. The Democrats are not beating us, we are beating ourselves. How as a party can we put forth canidates that do not believe in evolution, global warming or basic woman rights. The party is skewed so right that we are losing millions of voters who feel that our once Grand party is now just Old. We defended Bush because he was Republican but his policies were not. When he took office unemployment was at 4.2% when he left 7.2%. His tax cuts and two wars killed us. He was not fiscally conservative by any stretch. Wake up educated Republicans, the tea party and religious zealots have no place in the party of Lincoln.

    November 8, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. PR

    As long as the republicans are anti-gay, anti-pro-choice and all about the rich they will continue to lose. The republicans need to stay out of the bedroom and the moral lives of voters. Stick to fiscal issues and you might stand a chance, We don't need to hear about your relgious views....they having nothing to do with running the country.

    November 8, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Danny

    HOW do they not get it?!?! This country is done with the so called "Moral majority" trying to run everyone's lives. We voted for women, and for gays, and for Pot... We didn't elect the guy who would take us back to 1950. Republican's wake up! We're done with oppression, and want a "free" country. We also want a good economy. Stick to taxes, and leave our private lives up to us!

    November 8, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. George

    Wait... so the response from the Tea Party to losing the moderate vote is to move further away from the center? OK.......

    November 8, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Cheryl

    The tea party is the reason the GOP lost. Is this person for real? If a REAL socially modern candidate was put forward they can win. They shot themselves out of the water as usual with the fringe right severe perspectives. This person thinks they didn't come off as conservative enough?. Wow.

    November 8, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Nardfather

    They still don't get it...amazing

    November 8, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Susan B.

    And that's why you lost! Americans are tired of these Tea Party leftwingist trying to have Americans step back to th 19th century. Americans want to move forward and embrace becoming one America. Until the Tea Party realizes this...they will continue to lose. Spoken as a conservative big hard headed Republican!

    November 8, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. david

    "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years,"
    Good luck with that!

    November 8, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Jim

    Point fingers? That's all the Republican Party is good for these days...it's (all) always someone else's responsibility. The Republican Party needs to get down off their high ideological horse and remember the people that they're supposed to represent – all of the people, not just the rich!

    November 8, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Lisa

    These comments are solar off the mark. Romney won in traditional republican areas, and, in order to win the country, he would have needed to win in areas that are traditionally democratic. From the point of view of a person who traditionally votes democrat, I can say that these reason are no where ear the reason why Romney lost. He was too conservative, and he flip flopped on his view points, so no one ever knew which ones truly were his. Republicans, as a whole, have no respect for women or women's rights. Furthermore, they want to force every person to live by their ideological standards instead of respecting the reason this country was founded and individuals rights. The way I see it, no one has the right to judge but God, and Republicans play God. They will never win until these change.

    November 8, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Just stoped in to say hi to truth hurts and friends . Where did all the paid Romney supporters posting here go ?

    Did Karl Rove get his cleaning deposit back from the bunker he was renting ?

    TEA Party , wake up and smell the Coffee .

    November 8, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. geraldine madding

    Being a minority, a woman and a 47 o/o i want to thank rush, beck, palin, rowe, sununu,coulter, akin and murdock for showing me why i should vote against romney. I am forever greatful.

    November 8, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Dan

    Adam, you could not be more correct! Those are the reasons I left the GOP. ( Iwas a Republican from 1971-2000)

    November 8, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Already seeing massive layoffs

    "This election proved 1 thing. We the American people can not be bought off by these billionaires throwing money around at us like products on shelves."

    Really? How ironic that you support the candidate who purchased millions of dollars of "Obama phones" to line the pockets of his friend, and then make a statement that the election proves we cannot (one word) be bought. I see it as just the opposite.

    November 8, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. DaveC

    These people really, really don't get it. This is the republican platform of Reagan and Bush Sr.:

    1. Conservative Fiscal Policy
    2. Conservative Foreign Policy
    3. Conservative Military Policy
    4. Don't meddle in people's lives (i.e. no social agenda)

    I lived through the Reagan and Bush Sr. Republican years. I was a Republican then. Being a Republican was something to be proud of. It isn't now. The Republican party of today is filled with tax dodgers, religious nuts, blame everyone else for the nation's problems people, right wing extremists. It is controlled by big money donors who fuel these hate filled nut jobs. There is no room for moderates like me. There was in the Reagan and Bush Sr. era. We were embraced.

    How can you attract voters when you have litmus test for politicians, make them sign no tax or else pledges (can you imagine Reagan signing that!) or allowing guys like Akin even to exist in the party? No wonder the Republican party is in trouble. Stop pointing fingers at Romney. He was the best of a really bad bunch of candidates (nobody even gave John Huntsman a chance and he was a moderate). Republicans beat themselves.

    November 8, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Nad

    To Adam

    Adam, well said. I admire you for your courrage to admit the truth.

    November 8, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. M-AZ - Stop beating a dead horse and keep moving FORWARD!

    These people just don't get it...

    November 8, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. ohio

    I consider myself a moderate who votes for candidates when i see common sense, fairness and
    also some social justice in the mix. I do lean democrat but have not been opposedat all to voting for
    sensible republicans. But therein lies the problem. I see fewer and fewer sensible republicans.
    And during this election i noticed republicans in my local area becoming so nasty and confrontational.
    What i would consider even prejudice in ways-protesting outside democratic headquarter offices-people
    literally could not enter the dem-headquarters through the front door. These individuals were tea party
    people holding up nasty signs about Obama-it really turned me off. Also–overnight a dump truck
    dumped maneur at thefront door of another dem. headquarters office. As a voting citizen I was terribly
    disappointed in the republican attitudes in my area. With the growing diversity in this country it just displayed
    to me how out of touch and backward they were. I watched the debates, listened to the issues, and found
    myself veryuncomfortable with this current republican intolerance. I am sureit's not hard to tell where my
    vote went-i was so turned off my vote easily went to Obama. All i can saynow is that i hope that
    congress will work with Obama–i will not be voting republican again until i see a major change in attitude.

    November 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Greg

    I voted for President Obama in both elections, however, I did like what John Huntsman was saying. The GOP is letting the Tea Party take over by pandering to ideals which to most are unacceptable. For one thing there are very diverse religious beliefs in the U.S. for them to try and force Christianity on everyone. And then to ignore minorities. When I looked at the crowds at Romney rallies there wasn't much diversity that I could see, but when viewing an Obama rally I was amazed by the shoulder to shoulder diversity. I'm just saying...

    November 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. SHannon

    @ Thomas

    L0L L0L Good one!!

    November 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Name

    THe demographics is a huge factor because so many people are victim of the economy.

    November 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. rbnlegend101

    What the republican party needs is not "more crazy". The republican party needs to understand that a platform that is based on excluding people doesn't work. If you exclude a group, even if you think they are marginal, you exclude the people who are in that group, who sympathise with that group, who have family members in that group. It doesn't take many marginal groups before you have alienated a lot of people.

    A lot of people have a gay friend, or a gay cousin. A lot of people know a woman who has had an abortion. A lot of people know a rape victim. A lot of people know someone who is black, or hispanic. Hard to win a national election when you chase all those people away. Or even when you chase some of them away.

    People tell me that republicans are about smaller government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, stuff like that. The party needs to focus on that, and get rid of their obsession with birth control, gay marriage, anything justified with bible quotes, and learn to deal with "minorities" on an even footing. Bear in mind that the white male backbone of the party is, in fact, a minority now. The democrats stole the center from you. Some of the "unsatisfied" numbers you saw about the president that gave republicans optomism, were not "we hate him for being so liberal" but instead, "we hate him for being so conservative". On the national level, the democrats understand that if one candidate is in the middle, and the other is any further from the extreme, the moderat wins. The extreme liberal doesn't vote for Romney, he complains and votes Obama. The moderate republican looks at the two, and has to make a choice. Having the radical republicans screaming at him that he is a gay commie just for listening to a democrat commercial on TV doesn't swing him to your side.

    November 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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