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. Terry Ward

    Oh please Oh please, take over the Republican party.
    O wait...they did.

    November 7, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. rickenbacker

    Denial... The more the Republican party panders to the tea party or evangelicals, the more they will lose. This election illustrates the fact that the more conservative they get the less attractive they are to voters. But their stubborn, denial is going to make things drag out even more.

    November 7, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. ppadler

    Had the GOP trotted out a more severe version of Mitt, one that met the needs of the Tea Party, last night's carnage would've been greatly magnified. America rejected the Tea Party & their extremism. The lunatics had better keep to the fringe.

    November 7, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. NateFromIndiana

    Much as I think it would be a healthy thing for the country if Tea Party folks got the message that their candidates lost because moderates and independents aren't as willing to roll over for them as Republicans have been, I'm not holding my breath for them to achieve that epiphany. They think they're in the driver's seat of the GOP and they're going to drive it into the ditch.

    November 7, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Zenith

    These people are truly delusional. It is actually pretty pathetic.

    November 7, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. gimpymom

    You want to know why Romney lost. His pro life stance, anti abortion, anti planned parenthood, immigration, anti gays, NRA etc. He flip flopped on many of his previous stances from years ago. He was so far to the Right that he is out of touch with women, youth and the general population. No one wants to have abortions as a birth control method, but no choice is not going to work with the modern women of the US. He might have done wonderful things for the economy, but that was lost in all his Far Right stances. Maybe he should learn from his mistakes. He has 5 sons, perhaps if he had a daughter he would think differently on women's rights.

    November 7, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. DM

    Congratulations to Jenny Beth Martin and other Tea partiers for Obama's re-election. Hillary in 2016!

    November 7, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Dennis Q

    Challenge accepted, Tea party members. Give America your strongest, most conservative, least moderate candidate. Somebody that makes Jenny Beth Martin ecstatic. Guess what will happen? Remember Barry Goldwater? Yes, it will be that bad.

    November 7, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. V in Chicago

    These people are unbelievable and live in that altenate universe I've heard so much about. This is not about conservative values. America is a melting pot of all races and religions and they all deserve a voice and respect. That is what you have to embrace if you expect to move forward. Long gone are the days of the White Master telling the people of color what they can and can't do.

    But – keep it up. It will only further insure that Democrats will rule and you will all be left in the dust. Kind of sad though. I was Republican until the Tea Party got involved. I will miss real Republicans . . . Oh well.

    November 7, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. cuprunnethoveragain

    As a former Republican, and now Independent I can tell you that the problem with the Republican party is NOT that it is too moderate or liberal. The Republican party is barely recognizable anymore, it has been overtaken by extremists.

    Romney's pandering to these extremists during the primaries and the general election is what caused him to lose the election. If the Republican party's response to this election is to be even more conservative, the Republican party will be a permanent minority party in this country.

    November 7, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. jwpulliam

    If the tea party didn't exist, the republicans would control both houses of government and possibly the white house, if they didn't force their nominee to perform a set of convoluted gyrations to gain their support. Their support was the kiss of death for the republican senate nominee in Indiana. Senator Lugar would have easily won here, and if he could have run as an independent, would have won as an independent. Instead we had a slash and burn primary in which he was sacrificed on the alter of conservative orthodoxy, which looks as if it was torn from the pages of "Mein Kampf". I agree with some conservative positions, but I feel that they want to rule rather than govern, and if they can sacrifice someone with the stature of Richard Lugar it will be a cold day in hell before they get my vote. (Looking at the Romney headquarters last night, the audience make up told the story of why he lost. I didn't see a black, hispanic, or asian in the audience, which doesn't mean they weren't there, but not readily visible. It might as well been an ostrich convention.

    November 7, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. iTALIAN NONNO

    How come all the ultra conservative candidates got their clock cleaned last night?.. Joe Walsh , Alan West, Mourdoch, Akin,..and Michele Bachmann, barely made it in a uber conservative district.

    November 7, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Instead of pointing fingers, look at your platform. Duh.

    November 7, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Dave

    I'm a republican, but it's the Tea Party that ultimately led me to change my vote to Obama.

    November 7, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Greg Taylor

    A psychiatrist once said, "Neurotics build castles in the air; psychotics move into them". That is what is happening to the GOP and the Tea Party. The TP's fantasy that American voters would flock to them this year was their hallucination. Taking control of the GOP in the next four years would signal their physical and final detachment from reality.

    November 7, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. UBmyguess2

    Jenny and the Tea party still don't get the message!! It is precisely the extreme conservative approach that people don't buy any more. When are these people going to evolve? They should thank Romney for loosing such a close race. If he would have followed the Tea party's "trully" conservative approach, Obama would have been declared President by 8PM. Wake up, Jenny, this is the 21st century.

    November 7, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. The Unsub

    get out of the way folks, let em fight! You don't want to get any blood on you!

    November 7, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. The Unsub

    I would like to thank (four and the door, truth hurts, myviewis, and other haters) If it wasn't for your daily vitriolic posts, PRESIDENT OBAMA would not have been re-elected! I hope that this is the END of the Republican Party as WE know it!

    November 7, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. cnnloudmouth

    Love it! Half the Republicans think they need to move to the middle, and be more inclusive, and half the Republicans think they need to move to the right, and be more conservative. Obama was correct in his analysis, that the only unifying element in the Republican party was their unified hatred of him. The Republican Party will never, ever, ever get back together.

    November 7, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Sid

    Romney – Moderate Republican failing to re-brand himself into the cookie cutter conservative mold. In the end he lost track of his personal ideals and beliefs. A moderate republican is far more likely to win but when you try to be someone you are not to satisfy the bases, you fail on both accounts. Additionally his choice of Paul Ryan was not the greatest.

    November 7, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Centrist Steve

    Romney lost for exactly the opposite reasons the tea party gave; they pushed him too far to the right and made him unappealing to centrist voters. Elections are not won by appealing to the extremes of a party, but by getting enough moderate votes to win. Romney only had 1/4th of Hispanic voters because the tea party forced him to take extreme positions in the Primary.

    November 7, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Warren Lankford

    All of you ideological extremists are still delusional. The demographic situation is clear. The Republican ideology is stuck in the 1950s and unrealistic about the changes in this new century. If Romney could have been the true moderate that he is, things could have been different. He had to commit to extremism on social issues and that's why he lost. If he hadn't backpedaled to the center, things would have been worse. Fortunately the American people looked at the whole picture and understood.

    November 7, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Alaskan1st

    Beck, Rush, Hannity, Bachman,Palin, etc,etc. All reasons the party will soon be extinct. Time for a truly moderate party. Like the people of America are........ Mostly.

    November 7, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. kahn keller

    ...I don't believe this.... this bimbo is complaing that romney did not swing right far enough....and it was the social
    issues of the right wing religious extremist that killed him ever having a chance to win... if this is the dialog of the republican party for the future...we will not be a two party contest in the future....the taliban republicans will kill
    the republican party.

    November 7, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Name Independent Thinker

    Two of the main reasons Romney lost are, the right wing who seemed so intent on taking us back to the early 1900 and the american people wanted to prove to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers that no matter how much money you throw at an election, you can't buy the Presidency.

    November 7, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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