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. rs

    Russ in MD-
    Given the cuts Mr. Romney would have to put in play to keep his even grosser tax cuts for the rich in play, or the s0-called "Sequestration" bill that will come into effect unless the GOP comes to it senses, your job may in fact be toast. Your job however is no more or less important that the thousands of vivil servats who will be taking the hit in any event. This is why trying to balance the budget on austerity is a bad idea- government workers will lose their jobs- but hey that is a GOP philosophy more than anyone elses.

    November 8, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Ran

    Conservatives can't understand why they lost......and that is why they lost.

    November 8, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Lurker

    This is why the GOP didn't get anywhere. Why would I elect a group that points fingers at eachother? Who would you side with when you have a group where everyone's back-stabbing eachother and bickering, within their own ranks even. I'm a independent and I don't care for either side, but I'd never vote for a group like that unless a moderate candidate stood up and talked more sense. Sad that anything with "moderate" tagged in the GOP is considered shunned. And they wonder why Obama won? Look in the mirror for someone to blame.

    November 8, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. The Unsub

    Rush called Obama Santa Claus and he gives people "things." O'Reilly said Democrats want "things." This is why Repubicans will Never win again!

    November 8, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. rs

    Russ in MD-
    Get your facts straight. 304 electoral college votes to Romney's 203 (and as Obama leads Florida- likely another 29 for him there). The popular vote looks at least to be 50-48% for Obama- probably a million more popular vites than Romney. I'd say that is a legitimate win by any measure.

    November 8, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Ralph M

    The conservatives need only blame their selves. The world is changing. Dinosaurs need not apply. Some of the things the Republicans said and did...especially the Christian right, did them in. If they dont make some changes, they are doomed.

    November 8, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Marla

    Go right ahead, tea party extremists. Drive the GOTP to run somebody who is more conservative than Mittens next time. It will be even more fun defeating them.

    November 8, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. The Unsub

    Someone needs to remind the GOP that Ronald Reagan is dead and is not coming back!

    November 8, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Not conservative enough! LOL. Did you pay any attention to how the tea partyists performed above the local level Tuesday?? Real success, wasn't it?

    The definition of idiocy: Repeating the same behavior and expecting different results.

    November 8, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Layne

    If Paul Ryan returns to Congress and uses his influence as leader of the Budget Committee to get Simpson Bowles passed, he will be our next President. But if he doubles down and continues obstructing any kind of real progress, the Democratic domination will continue.

    November 8, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. israel

    if tea partiers take over the gop then may god help them, if they really think the solution to their problems is to move as far to the right as they can then they obviously dont understand the american people, and as long as they alienate women and minorities theyll never win in the elections

    November 8, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. yep

    Richard A. Viguerie states that theTea Party will take over the Republican party in 4 years. If true it would mean that the Republican party will NEVER again have a winning candidate. The Tea Party is like a cancer to the Republican party and will eventually destroy it unless it is erradicated. Listen to Newt, you need to include people not exclude people. Get a clue for gosh sakes!

    November 8, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    Go figure--Guess America just wasn't ready for a Facist State.

    November 8, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. The Unsub

    Just heard that Marco Rubio is making a trip to Iowa to "test the waters"........here we go! Really?

    November 8, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. michael

    The conservatives want to accuse Romney of not being a good enough representative of the conservative movement, but the problem is that he presented himself as too much of a conservative instead of a moderate, which is why he lost..

    November 8, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Jim arnold

    If the Tea Partiers take over the Republican party, expect more of the same results that came last Tuesday. If it returns to a fiscally conservative, socially moderate stance, the Republican party will regain its status as a legitimate force in American politics. Now it just seems like a party of whiners, with the likes of Rush, Hannity and a drove of others like them that have been making money from spewing hatred. Doubtful that Washington, Adams or Jefferson would give that crew the time of day.

    November 8, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Me IN HOUSTON

    Conservatives are not willing to take advice from liberals
    They are not willing to accept the logic that we offer
    They are unwilling to admit they are wrong.
    They have too many people under the same delusion who tell them they are right
    Nobody wants to admit when they are wrong

    November 8, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Laurie in Spokane

    They lost because they haven't a clue to what's going on; Romney blatantly lied about things, and he totally insulted 47% of the population with his remarks. Republicans still think it's 1960 and white Republican males call the shots. Listen up – they no longer do.

    November 8, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. Armand

    I certainly do hope they're right and take over the republican party. We can then kill two birds with one stone.

    November 8, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Grahame Rhodes

    Ah What a shame they should have voted for Sanatorium

    November 8, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. SMW

    The Republicans don't have to point fingers blaming one another, all they have to do is look in the mirror. A party platform that revolves around women's reproductive organs and religion is not going to appeal to the majority anymore. The Tea Party/Republicans are nothing other than the taliban in disguise.

    November 8, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. John Black Hills/SD

    Conservatives need to look at the Presidents promise to Americans in his first run for the White House to understand why they lost. Obama passed his health care reform which was one of his promises to Americans in his first term, he accomplished what 5 previous Presidents promised but failed because they didn't want to lose a second term. That's one reason I voted to re-elect the President. Conservatives talk real loud but they're the weak link in DC, they pretend to be leaders, but they didn't fool 51% of the voters, and they are now exposed as blowhards with a bible in their claws.

    November 8, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. Jessie P.

    "Independent fact checkers" and "videotape" showing Mitt Romney and the Repubican Party's lies is the reason they lost. Who wants to elect liars.

    November 8, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. Robert Scott

    Welfare or The Wealthy!
    Why do we all ignore the fact that the 1% is mooching off the 99% in numerous ways – offshore tax evasion, low capitol gains tax, tax loop holes for the wealthy. Not to mention the leverage wealth gives you to build wealth thru insider trading, favorable governmental contracts, subsidies for NFL and oil companies. This list goes on on how the top 1% are mooching off the system. Raise the top tear of income tax bracket to $1 million and increase taxes there. So many intelligent proposals are on the table. Using new language to describe what is going on can give tax reform efforts in favor of the majority some more bite. Remember what words did for Estate Tax changed Death Tax. The 1% also powerful. Words are power be creative and use them to put a spot light on the wealthy top 1% who are mooching off the system. Grover Norquist needs a spotlight also. He is a red blooded Vampire squeezing his victims who sign his pledge to death unless they become vampires themselves and prey on the American people. We need some creative slogans please think of some and put them out there for the media to pick up on and start using.

    November 8, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Facts don't Lie

    myself being a moderate I used to think that the left wing was the biggest crybabies when things did not go their way UNTIL the 2008 election and I see the right has whined, cried, and stomped their feet ever since. They took a break in 2010 but they are back at it again. That alternate universe they live in where they are supposed to have every thing go their way all the time must be just awful.

    November 8, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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