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. zoe122

    They have it exactly backwards. The fact that Mitt Romney took nearly half the popular vote is due to the fact that no one really believed he was in bed with all the looney extreme-right anti-equality rape apologizers.

    November 7, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Bongo Congo

    3MgH said EXACTLY what I was going to. America is NOT a nation of hard-core, narrow minded conservatives and we don't WANT to be! The further right Romney had moved the worse his loss would have been..

    In any case, the President is not the problem. The nest of greedy, partisan, self-serving clods who make up Congress are the problem. Until they are forced to do what they were elected to do – work for ALL of us – gridlock will continue to be their default state.

    November 7, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Malory Archer

    ezduzit757

    This is EXACTLY what MSNBC said we would see today.

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

    Lindsay Graham said a few days ago that if any neocons started whining about losing for not being conservative enough he was going to smack them! His hand must getting sore right about now!

    November 7, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. fayse

    I recall the words of Anne Coulter " if Christie doesn't win, it will be Romney and we will lose" No Anne, Christie would not have won either. The Billionairs created the group of losers to run in the Primaries in hopes that they would make Romney look acceptable. The NV casino owner didn't want Gingrich to win, he just wanted him to stay in the race and make a fool of himself. Tea Party you've been had and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving group.

    November 7, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. vintel7

    We Love It! Keep letting the Tea Party Nazis dictate which direction the Republicans go and the Republican party will be no more in 5 years. After Obama serves the next 4 years, we will be electing Hillary Clinton as POTUS, who will serve for 8 years. The Republicans won't see the inside of the WH until after 2024 ....and that is if they even still exist as a party.

    Republicanism is nothing but codified and politicized narcissism. Narcissists can't take responsibility so they blame and point fingers. From narcissism springs racism, bigotry, misogyny, and all the other psycho spiritual poisons that dominate the party of NO.

    November 7, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. silvercloud41

    It seems ironic that those that the republicans were counting on the most never came through... be that who it may. What we need are really sound principles of government... and honest men and women to fight for them. We don't need a powerful "monarchy" like the democrats are building (on socialist principles) that builds a populace dependent on big government (handouts) to support them. Spreading the wealth is not the answer because soon there is none to spread as the equality promised by the democrats shuts off the flow of profits.

    November 7, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. killaw

    Why giving a tribune to the most pathetic collection of losers ever, even by the GOP standard? Romney lost precisely because of them and their backward ideologies and extremism he had to pander to during the primaries: Romney never was as much popular than when he was the all new "moderate mitt", not the other way around. The GOP habit to rely on the racist southern states and the old angry white men to win the election sure is turning bad when it comes to demographics.

    November 7, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. humanbeng

    Imagine trying to explain the purpose of a political party to someone immigrating to the US, then have them read this article. One would think, a political party like the GOP, that likes to think they represent at least half of our population, would be at least somewhat sensitive to the sound trouncing they just had at the hands of American voters from coast to coast. To put it simply, the Tea Party must be high or something. First of all, just the name Tea Party elicits some sort of patriotic past that was actually more about taxation without representation, not against outright taxation. And secondly, the Tea Party/GOP is WAY out of touch with American reality. Just look at the Red and Blue states on the map from last night. Show me any Red state that has anything of any significance to offer a forward looking America? The red staters are the only people these outdated conservative ideals appeal to, not the people innovating in America. There is part of me that hopes they all keep their course, get ran out of town on a rail and join Chuck Norris, Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and Bachman in seceding from the US, and taking all the conservative dinosaurs with them. Then, and only then, will I maybe consider going back to my republican roots and possibly vote for a republican in the future. Yo Tea Part/GOP folks – AMERICANS ARE NOT AS STUPID AS YOU THINK!

    November 7, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. tea dude

    Jenny Beth, you dont get it, if Mitt followed your path, it would have been a bigger loss than it turned out to be. Wake up and smell the tea!

    November 7, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. markoboston

    As a Democrat, I would welcome a complete Tea Party takeover of the Republican Party, and a further Republican shift to the right. When moderates are no longer welcome in the Republican Party, Democrats will win back control of Congress and state governments.

    November 7, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Dave Jaipersaud

    Ha! Ha! – Romney/Ryan & the Republicans lost. What a bunch of losers. The GOP can try to blame it on Democrats ground game, weather, too much regulations, tax increases on the rich, climate change etc. but the people saw through all the lies and nonsense they were selling. I hope the Republican learnt a lesson that the American people are not forgetful and stupid. We can remember clearly what happened when the Republicans were in charge of the White House.

    It was painful watching Fox News try to spin a major Republican loss into a major Republican win. All of their projections that Romney would win were dead wrong. It proves that Fox News has not credibility. Everyone of them. So for those folks who watch Fox News and listen to House and Senate Republicans and their surrogates spew their lies as gospel, this is a wake-up call. They are leading you down a losing path.

    Now we can continue to build and move this country forward.

    November 7, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Winehz

    Ok, just a couple quick things. First off, everyone in the party including heavy activists like the tea party members need to take responsibility for the loss. I say this because their tea party members lost in the Senate as well. It's really easy to point fingers from the outside, but difficult to take responsibility and then make corrections. If a football team loses a game, bench players who didnt even take the field don't go on cnn and point fingers. You need to learn from the mistakes and make corrections.

    Secondly, the article correctly states that the republican party does have to please the independents, so rallying two voter groups is harder than one. But the problems don't stop there. You have the religious right who wants single issue voting to take the forefront, true conservatives that want smaller government and the tea party who is fiscally minded first. The republican party is going to have to rectify this before they will win again. It's not that difficult, but you need a strong figure who can come up with real plans and use real figures to execute those plans. You need to take a stand on what issues matter to the party, and stop worrying about smaller groups like the religious right who don't deliver presidencies. Those same people voted for Romney because he was a republican, not because he wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade (he did not support overturning).

    The fact that they are now saying Romney was not conservative enough is proof that they still don't get it. They will though. There are smart people in the party and it's getting younger and more savvy. Just have to wait and see, but I hope for them that they can figure it out in 4 years or less.

    Grats to Obama, the right guy won!

    November 7, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    The Republican base is nothing more than the KKK rebranded

    November 7, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. California Gary

    If you want to point fingers......try pointing them at all the GOP Governors and Secretary's of State that tried so hard to suppress the votes of the poor and the minorities. Their efforts had the opposite effect than they had intended. It just made people even more determined to get out there and cast their vote.......no matter how many hours they had to stand in line. It was not just an affront to democracy, it was a fatal tactical error in the election. They got exactly what they deserved.

    November 7, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. speechanalysis

    I can't believe after that they think they need to go further to the right. My hope was that they would take the defeat as a statement about the efficacy of their argument in America today. Instead, like a drunk they think that merely talking louder will make us understand. Truly amazing.

    November 7, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Holli Hollister

    I find it highly ironic the Teapublicans actually believe they lost because Romney was not Conservative enough. Hey kids you had lyin Ryan [a tea party darling] on the ticket...so why weren't all of the rigtwingnuttery voting for him? And isn't it intetresting they do not hold him responsible in any way for the loss. Why was he not spewing the tea party agenda? Hum, could it be they want him to run in 2016...I sure hope so. Tea partiers need to also take notice especially Marjorie Dannenfelser and her wanting the anti-abortion agenda front and center that that thinking was repudiated by the American voters. Some of her fondest anti-aborton dimwits were soundly defeated in their races last night. Cons are incapable of self reflection or assuming responsibility and this article reflects that perfectly. They're out of touch with reality.

    November 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. speechanalysis

    Truly amazing. Maybe if we just speak louder they will understand.... It is not the volume but the substance of your views that are objectionable.

    November 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. EricTheEngr

    Wow. "It should have been a landslide for Romney, had he embraced a truly conservative agenda." This is what's great about these hard-core conservatives. Their slate of candidates gets beaten soundly, and they decide it's because they didn't do what they were doing hard enough. The only way they can think of to get out of the hole they're in is to keep digging. Over half of the nation voted for the President. Where do they think those "landslide" voters would have come from? Conservatives and independents who stayed at home or voted for the President because Mitt wasn't conservative enough? It never even occurs to them that their policies and agenda aren't in line with the majority of voters.

    November 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. wabbit

    When and if the tea party ever got one their favorite sons elected to the presidency, it'll be first time that the first lady of the country has to wear a burka in public appearances. Stonings and beheadings in sports arenas will become commonplace for minor infractions, children will be forced into early marriage commitments and any freedom to criticize the government will disappear and that includes any and all press outlets.

    The Taliban, realizing that they have been out-crazied by America, will start to seek legal immigration to the United States to see what they can learn from the real professionals of political insanity.

    Or maybe I've had too much coffee for this early in the day.

    November 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. zike619

    Why must you conseravatives constantly find fault?? Spend more time looking for the solution and maybe you can be on the winning side. However until then, look at it from the winning side and stop blaming everybody but yourself. Crying about the deficit, you should have used your money and resources to serve the good for the people instead of yourself. You are a bunch of self people and as long as you continue to think the way you do. Bottom is where you belong

    November 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Laverne

    What is amazing is these people think if they were more conservative it would have resulted in a win for them! They are nuts, Romney took very extreme positions in order to try and win and it was exactly why he did not win!

    November 7, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. bill collins

    the tea party is not the answer to the crybabies and whiners of th GOP Party !
    in order to win the next time in 2016, the party must embrace all levels of the society !
    They can't win at all if they cater to special groups !

    November 7, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. AnthraxMan

    What are these rabid Tea-Party members saying?

    Are they saying that because the Republicans ran Romney, all the Tea Party people voted for Obama?

    Or are they saying that because the Republicans ran Romney, none of the Tea Party people bothered to vote?

    Either way, it would appear that the Tea Party people caused the loss.

    The idea that if someone like Santorum or Bachmann had run they'd have done better than Romney is a preposterous fantasy that only a Tea Party member could believe.

    November 7, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Linnval

    Funny – I was afraid that Romney had a chance of winning BECAUSE he was almost moderate enough. My fear was that these far-right ideologues would have taken that as a sign that ultra-conservatism won. I really wish the Republican party would put up the most far-right radical they can locate to ensure the next landslide Democratic victory.

    November 7, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Jeff O'Dette

    There will mever be a tea partier in the white house. Unless, of course, they are invited by the POTUS

    November 7, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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