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. rbnlegend101

    You could call this election by looking at pictures from the conventions. The only minorities at the republican convention were paid to be there. I'm not saying they were some sort of actors or agents employed by the party to make it look diverse. They were selling concessions, doing electrical work, and reporting on the event. They were doing their jobs, which happened to be at the convention.

    November 8, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Rynomite

    If Republicans want to have someone elected to a National Office, they need to become more centered NOT more right.

    Talking to young, educated, wealthy people that I work with, part of the reason why they won't vote for the current incarnation of the Republican party is the extreme turn off associated with all the baggage brought to the party by religious fundamentalists.

    November 8, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. RR

    The Tea Party will die before the 2014 elections because the Republicans will not tolerate anymore seats being lost in the House or Senate. Mitch and John will make sure of it. Mark my words, the Tea Party's influence will be silent.

    November 8, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Sniffit

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

    It actually makes sense if you think it through and put it in context. Why? Simple: the response from the GOP to losing the moderate vote in 2008 was the Tea Party. That the Tea Party now seeks to enact the same strategy, i.e., fleeing further to the extreme right and radicalization in response to continuing evidence of America's overall moderate political demands...that should come as no suprise. Conservatives are exrtemely enamored with the idea that doing the same thing over and over eventually leads to a different result as long as you believe in it harder, repeat it more often and scream it all the louder each time.

    November 8, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. SouthernMan

    I can't wait for Texas to turn blue. When that happens, it's all over for the Republican Party for at least a generation.

    November 8, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. 1984

    I dont feel sorry for them. Quick to point fingers as usual to go along with saying NO to everything, thats their motto. Its about working together and they dont see that. They want it all one way as usual and that's what gets them in trouble. They dont listen to the people. They care less about the 47% of us.

    November 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Bimal Ghose

    The best chance to survive for the Republican Party is to open the doots for Latinos, Asians, Black but not token representation of Justice Clarence Thomas or ridiculous 999 Cain. Jeff Bush should be the Chairman of RNC and Marko Rubio should be projected as the leader of the party. Nicky Helay should take a back seat. Dinesh D'Souza must be expelled and dont go by the stupid polls of Dick Morris, Rasmussen, Hannity, Ann Coulter

    November 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Mara

    yeah, because the whole problem with the GOP is that they're not right-wing *enough*. Sheesh. When will these folks learn that they ARE the fringe? When will these folks realize that they lose NOT because their candidates aren't hard-core, it's because their ideology is beyond the mainstream of American values? When will they learn that the *majority* of folks don't mind doing their fair share (and even a little beyond)? That most folks don't care what their neighbors are doing in the bedroom? That women are NOT about to give over their autonomy, nor leave decisions about their most personal issues to a bunch of old men who will never have to face the same circumstances?

    When will they learn that they are *not* the arbitors of what is and is not 'American'? Indeed, they are increasingly *against* the policies that have defined us – how we make war, how we treat the sick, the poor, the desperate, our live-and-let-live tolerance, and our ability to innovate the future instead of live in the past. No, it not that the GOP hasn't gone far enough right...it's that they've gone too far for most of us.

    November 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. NYbywayofTexas

    Well, if ever one wants to experience the sight of Politcial Party Schizophrenia, just look at the GOP. Trying too hard to cover too many of their far right extremes. Their lack of 21st century reality has placed them right where they belong... LOSER CENTRAL. Their attempt to participate in the political process of 2012 with a 1980's mentality is nothing short of insanity. Wake up!!! The world has changed. Shouldn't you?

    November 8, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Thomas

    By all means, let them take over the GOP or form their own party. They will become the fastest minority party in history.

    November 8, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Already seeing massive layoffs

    Lisa (my name too by the way), I respectfully disagree with your comment that "Republicans, as a whole, have no respect for women or women's rights." I am a Republican, and I see just the opposite. I think they want women to fight for their dignity. I work in a typically democratic profession, and I feel like women are being manipulated by the "women's right to choose" as a platform to appeal to emotion to gain votes. I think women deserve the right to keep themselves out of compromising situations by learning that there are consequences to actions, that they are strong enough to persevere even when things aren't warm and fuzzy, and that they are intelligent enough to make conscious, responsible, health care and birth control decisions. Part of that responsibility is paying for things yourself. A man has to buy protection, so it's not unreasonable for a women to do the same. Above all else, I see the republican woman's stance as that of responsibility, and I think ultimately that is the stance of liberal women. We, have fallen for the very arguments that men used to try to suppress our votes. They said we would be controlled by our emotions, and it seems they are right. I'm republican because I see the advantages in self-reliance, hard work, taking risks and reaping a profit. I also believe that our young women are damaged by the "free for all, no consequence lovefest" mentality. I also realize, that no matter who is in office, the abortion policy in the US will never be changed. It just won't. The men in power know this, but continue to use it to earn votes. Women need to quit falling for it.

    November 8, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Vince

    The Tea Party statements are typical. The election was as much a referendum on their extreme policies as the Republican's phoney candidate.
    Instead of going towards the middle the party was full of these right wing nuts who were out of step with the real America. Take Huck and Rush's advice and find a more conservative candidate and see where you are in 2016. The losers club once again. The Tea Party is dead in America and Republicans need not bow to them anymore. See where their hate got you Republicans? Anyone notice how the Tea Party numbers have dropped recently?

    November 8, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Nodack

    That's right Republicans, you lost and the reason you lost is because you didn't electe a candidate that was extreme enough. You need to find somebody that is super religious and super right wing. Somebody that wants to shut down all government agencies. Somebody that would execute anybody caught getting an abortion. Make education illegal to any child of a parent that doesnt make at least 200k a year and shut down all public schools. Make being gay illegal and force them into religious anti gay classes. Run on a platform of zero regulations for any business and make solar, wind, hydro and bio fuels illegal. Dump Obamacare and replace it with nothing. Fire all those lazy Policemen and Firemen sponging off of society and don't allow those lazy veterans any benefits.

    I'm sure if you run on those tea party platforms there is no way you could lose the next election.
    :)

    November 8, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Susan B.

    Please no more "Tea" and they don't have a clue how to " Party". Here we are the only wallflowers at the dance. Can the " Tea Party" just throw Americans some scraps, crumbs...we' ll take anything except for this "poison" they keep trying to shove down Americans throats. Time to take a "spoonful of sugar so the medicine goes down".

    November 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Rob Ryan

    From Rachel

    "Wow – 4 more years of stupid with Joe and Barack"

    Now you know how we felt in 2004. It's impossible for me to feel sorry for you when you guys gave us eight years of Bush and even tried to give us the old angry guy and Moose Barbie. Serves you right.

    November 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. BobInIrvine

    The odd thing is that on the Federal level voters tended to the more liberal candidates, yet locally the Republicans are taking over. This federal-state governance gap will add yet another potential for gridlock.

    November 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Ludwig

    The type of extreme candidate the Tea Party is calling for would never have a chance of getting elected. While most people agree that we need to get our fiscal house in order, it is pretty obvious the majority of the country does not share their narrow views on religion, abortion, etc. Like many other people, I noticed the differences between the Obama crowds (which were diverse and representative of the current population) and the Romney crowds (which looked like an old country club ad). Alienating people is not the way to drum up support for your cause.

    November 8, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Willieboy III

    If the Republicans want a REAL shot at 2016, they had better have a minority candidate with a centrist platform on social and economic issues.......Otherwise, hang out the sign "OUT TO LUNCH"!

    November 8, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. bckerr

    Pretty much the definition of insanity; Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Good luck there Tea Party.

    November 8, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Cowdog

    Just like the GOP to point fingers and place blame on anything other than themselves personally.

    So much for personal responsibility and rugged individualism... just blame everyone else including members of your own party instead of owning up and making things right.

    November 8, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. mrhogan

    Advice for republicans - step 1 – STOP talking about abortion, move on to the next topic. Step 2 – come up with an immigration policy that is workable – step 3 - put some distance between yourself and Donald Trump, he's killing you with his buffoonery.

    November 8, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Dianna

    The GOP will probably never get the minority votes that they so badly needed on Tuesday night because they have this persona and portrays it to the entire country that the Republican Party is strictly for older southern white men and everyone else is to follow their lead. Until they show compassion or love to all people regardless of their color, gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference their party will remain dwindling downward, you just can't play god in politics. Judge not that you be not judge, the party is too judgemental

    November 8, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Michael

    I certainly do hope the tea party takes over the republican party within 4 years as Richard A. Viguerie suggests. That will ensure that no republican occupies the white house for many years to come, and will reduce right-wing hard liners grip on the house as well. These people just don't seem to grasp that the majority of Americans are not with them.

    November 8, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. rocki

    Mittens is out of here.. O let's get this country going. Time to rock and roll. Jobs jobs jobs.

    November 8, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Torchman

    The repubs lost big time because they went for the pretty face (Romney) rather than a true conservative (Ron Paul). Ron Paul could have defeated Obama, as he would have taken most of the independents along with the repubs with his policies of downsizing government, and pulling our troops out of the wars and the other 130 countries in the world whom we are occupying and defending by borrowing from the Chinese. Remember, the cold war ended when russia could no longer keep up with our defense spending. We are repeating the same mistake ourselves (debt) which eventually kill us.

    November 8, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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