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. Lisa

    As an Independent, I believe he would probably have won had people seen him as more of a moderate. Most Americans are sick of the extremist views on both sides. The fiscal issues are important to me. Their outdated social views were what anger me the most! The Republicans talk about smaller government, but want to tell everyone how to live their lives.

    November 8, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    Jean

    I had a T partying doctor practically follow me out the door telling me I should watch Fox TV instead of the other networks. I could have spent the afternoon debating with him, but it wasn't worth my time or effort. I told him I was a moderate conservative, and it's true, but that wasn't good enough for him.

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

    Is that doctor's name David McKalip?

    November 8, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. TommyTT

    Conservative Republicans failed because they've swung too far to the right. Unable to believe that, they're pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

    November 8, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Paul from New Haven

    Paul Ryan was certainly much more conservative than Romney, and he couldn't even deliver his own state. They called Wisconsin for Obama about 20 minutes after the polls closed.

    November 8, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Al

    Duh...They just don't get it. The electorate understands their right-wing views. And rejected them. Simple. Denying this will only lead to more delusion on their part.

    November 8, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Typical Republican losers–always blaming others for their own delusional shortcomings.

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

    As long as Republicans refuse to face the reality of a changing, albeit more enlightened demographic, they'll continue to be marginalized. They should be most afraid of that last comment in the article which predicted tea partiers would control the Repiblican party in 4 years. One can only hope. If so, Democrats will win 2016 by a landslide. Looking forward to it!

    November 8, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    Haven't seen any of our usual bloggers....Four and the Door ( name change to Eight and the door ? ) Truth Hurts, etc.

    Just wanted to let all that are upset with the outcome and have suddenly become concerned about the debt and wars since January 2009 one thing: Obamacare fully covers being butthurt. Even in those as a pre-existing condition since January 2009.

    November 8, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Bocalex

    The Republican party was defeated by their own blindness to the peoples' regard. Abortion, gay marriage, should not be political issues. Join the 21st century or we will become a 1 party system. Time for a new manifesto. Time for young leadership. Time for the evangelical right to moderate. Time for a centrist profile. The fundamentalist right has no place in today's world.

    November 8, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    aidan

    Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough? Then why did Murdoch and Akin lose?
    -------------------------------------------------
    If I were a politician I'd say "Good question".
    But since I'm not I'll just ROFLMAO at your on point sarcasm!

    November 8, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Jean

    Another thing that thrills and encourages me is that even though billionaires like the Koch Bros and Addleson spent multi-millions trying to put their man in offiice, in effect buying the presidency, they didn't succeed!. Thank goodness,they didn't suceed. Since the laws have been changed allowing this kind of cash to be raised and spent by wealthy people and corporations,, potentially allowing them to buy a president who will do their bidding, it is wonderful that this blew up in their faces...this time.

    November 8, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. BamPow

    How about a candidate who stands by what they believe in, rather than pandering to conservatives?

    November 8, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    Why does my first post come out as Anouymous ?

    Strange.

    November 8, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Woman In California

    Willard was just a bad candidate period, and no amount of "dressing him up" was going to change that. No tax returns, Bain Capital, 47% comment, Mormonism, off shoring of American jobs, money in Cayman Islands, car elevators, his lies and the list goes on and on, and for those who try to say Obama painted him in a negative light, I say nice try. Willard was the worst candidate in my lifetime and so were his advisors. He lost and there were plenty of reasons why. The next time anyone has the idea they can run for POTUS and not release their tax returns, they'll remember his big time loss and spare us the time of doing so. He loss, deservedly so and he has years to blame no one but himself for it.

    November 8, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Art Leigh

    Wasn't when we saw moderate mitt that his numbers picked up? This is proof positive that Republicans are insane!

    November 8, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. truth

    They really don't get it do they. The only reason the race was close in because Romney DIDN'T talk as much about conservative ideas towards the end, he became more moderate. And yet these people think being even more conservative would have helped... my goodness, they would have lost by an even bigger margin. These people think it's their way or else.

    November 8, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. truth777

    They really don't get it do they. The only reason the race was close in because Romney DIDN'T talk as much about conservative ideas towards the end, he became more moderate. And yet these people think being even more conservative would have helped... my goodness, they would have lost by an even bigger margin. These people think it's their way or else.

    November 8, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    The Unsub

    Limbaugh, Hannity, Orielly, boy are they upset today! Trying to spin Obama's win....YOU JUST LOST...PERIOD!
    ----------------

    Maybe this will help them out:

    Dear Conservatives:

    Anti-Obama Bashing Is So Yesterday ...
    America has moved on.

    Signed,

    Real America

    November 8, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Kurt Kramer

    BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX
    Haven't seen any of our usual bloggers....Four and the Door ( name change to Eight and the door ? ) Truth Hurts, etc.

    Just wanted to let all that are upset with the outcome and have suddenly become concerned about the debt and wars since January 2009 one thing: Obamacare fully covers being butthurt. Even in those as a pre-existing condition since January 2009.

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

    I hurt my butt laughing out loud after reading this comment. Thanks.

    November 8, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. TickTickTick

    After four more years of stagnation we will see how smug you are then.

    November 8, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. 2012liberal

    Republican circular firing squad....shhh this is the best part!

    November 8, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Margo

    They just aren't getting it, the repubs and the tea party are out of date. They have no idea what is really going on in America. You know if they don't want to get an abortion then don't but also don't tell other women what to do. It is none of their business. They want to send women back to the 1950's. Everyone is an individual with free will, and these highly conservatives have no right or business in others lives. They need to worry what they are doing and leave the rest of us to make our choices freely. They want to take our freedom and that is our inherent right as citizens of this country. So glad Obama won, so glad!

    November 8, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. william reed

    Teapartiers and other assorted rightwing nuts insist that followers adhere to the party line – a la the Soviets – or it's POOF! – off to the gulag! When are you gonna learn? The average American doesn't like to be told what to think about politics, religion or anything else. The average American does, however, appreciate common sense.

    November 8, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Joe B.

    I would say that only fingers that are pointing are towards the mainstream media for not reporting on Obama's failed record and policies. Obama has won but not without the help of his media friends lying and not reporting the truth. Here's the best part of Obama winning. All the liberals in the big cities will watch their taxes go through the roof come January 1st. Let's see how all you feel after it hits your paychecks. Also you will now see a rise in your health insurance costs and watch the quality of care disappear.

    Not an issue for me because I'm taking as much out of my company this year so I don't get hit next year. Also, my money allows for me to get the best health insurance coverage while the Obama winners will be suffering. Your wish came true and you got what you wanted. Hope you enjoy it.

    BTW: Where was FEMA during the 2 inches of snow back east? You have all been fooled again suckers....

    November 8, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. California Gary

    @anonymous.......I think our ultra conservative friends are probably hiding under their beds sipping on the best scotch they can find until it stops hurting.

    November 8, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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