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
8 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. bb

    it's simple- go for the 3rd party – conservatives can put up a hard right living in the past tea bagger.
    it would be great for the Dem's.

    November 8, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. Nasenbohrer

    So, that's why? " tea party activists ... in Washington [decried] what they described as Romney's failure to represent conservatives on a national level."
    They always wanted a more extremist conservative candidate, like Gingrich, Santorum, Perry. Let's add in more of their favorites: AKIN, MOURDOCK... Yayyyyyy..... The GOP went the same way as did its utterly deluded underlings Akin and Mourdock. Listening to Akin made my skin crawl. In his 'concession' speech which was pretty lame and full of him and god explaining why it didn't all work out.
    Hey, he was right even when he was wrong.
    He told his flock from the concession pulpit that he "warned them not to believe the polls" presumably those liberal media polls predicting his demise. Now there's a Big Question Mark. He DID lose, big time. So the polls Must have been right. So, what is he saying? That god and he are still right but that it somehow did not reflect in those pesky voting numbers?

    I think god knows how to count, and he must have said, "enough is enough. I did not sanction life via the detour of legitimate rape. I like my women on earth just as much as the guys, but some issues really should be decided by women not old geezers, who do not even have children, like Akin. So he send Akin a memo.
    Problem: Akin can't read that good [sic, grins]. Cave men don't read polls and voter intentions very well.
    And putting a woman in front of TV cameras, (his last TV add) saying she was raped. She had an abortion. But nowhere says that the abortion was a result of the rape pregnancy. Well, god hates lying politicians, he told me so himself. And he fired Akin, and Mourdock, and a bunch of others.
    Thanks, Mr. God.

    November 8, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. anagram_kid

    GOP Logic: The reason for the loss was that majority of people voted for a liberal because the conservative was not conservative enough.

    November 8, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. tstorm92

    Conservatives just don't get it (and they will keep losing elections until they do). During this election Republicans openly insulted gay people, demeaned women, disparaged blacks, boo'd our military, and told teachers, firefighters, and police officers that they were the problem with the economy. Then they campaigned on, "elect us and we'll give bilionaires even more tax breaks!" and then Republicans lost and are so suprised... really? Really???

    November 8, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. vatoloke

    Reince Priebus, I blame. Too much hate in his heart to be chairman of anything.

    November 8, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. tstorm92

    After insulting blacks, telling gay people they don't count, debasing women, booing our miliatry during one of their debates, telling America the problem with our ecoomy is all those "greedy" teachers, firefighters and police officers, and offering even more tax cuts to billionaires the Republicans lose this election by a landslide and they act suprised.... really? Really???

    November 8, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Paoulo

    Doubling down on a losing hand is just not a winning strategy. The party elders are putting ideology before pragmatism, just like Rove and Morris have done in their predictions. It is simple math that the elders ignore at their own peril. This is not something you can wish away, or blame away. The grip of the evangelicals, tea partiers, and corporations will lead the party to a dark age.

    November 8, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Stephen

    So, Newt thinks that Republicans need to "...create a schedule and a program and include people who are not traditionally Republican". Create a schedule and a program? Really!!!. How about reevaluuating and changing your policies and practices to reflect REAL concern for the majority of citizens who just handed you a resounding defeat?

    November 8, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. NMRA123

    They eat their young

    November 8, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. farside6262

    Pointing fingers is a waste of time. Until Republicans realize that they cannot pander to the extremists and carry the majority of the nation while doing it, they are doomed to failure.

    November 8, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. rs

    Alger Dave-

    First of all, look up "liberal" in a dictionary- I am a Christian, and a liberal and quite proud of it. Mr. Obama is a centerist and not a liberal by almost any measure. This means my friend, that it is people like you are the GOP's problem. You have no clue about what you party stands for and just how out-of-touch it is. More so-called 'conservatism" is nothing more than a faint for wealthy-welfare and more corporate subsidies- niether conservatism, or "christian.

    November 8, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Jeb

    If you look at the electoral map not as red or blue states, but as counties there are hundreds more red counties than blue ones. The electorate in this country is center-right, and the Republicans, thanks to stupidly intractable tea party politics and the everlastingly annoying evangelicals who refuse to acknowledge the possibility of any truth but their own, lost the center. Clinton played a center-left game that beat them, then they just stupidly threw their own center to the right wing wolves, driving even their own moderate office holders from office. They desperately need to reset themselves along center right lines. One can only hope they will...this country needs both parties to engage in fruitful cooperation, each representing their point of view, but dedicated to the business of government, not the foolishness of obstructionism.

    November 8, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Political Observer

    The idea that a more conservative candidate would have prevailed in the Presidential election is...absurd. The national vote totals are incredibly close, and it's clear that Obama won because of a far superior campaign organization. A Rick Santorum or a Newt Gingrich would have gotten clobbered because their views are so far from the mainstream that they would in no way have been able to attract moderate, independent voters. The farther the Republican Party tacks to the Right, the longer it will be irrelevant nationally and on a state-wide basis .. witness the Indiana and Missouri Senate races.

    November 8, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. sara

    Seems the colony is still living on the moon.


    November 8, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Nasenbohrer (comparing the old union and confederate state results

    Crosscheck. I highlighted all the original Union states and confederate state of the civil war and how they voted in 2012.

    Guess what? 10 of 11 ex-confederate states voted for romney. 20 of 23 Union states voted for Obama (the number is slightly fuzzy because some states are listed as "dual government [Maryland] and some states only came in late, like Nevada)
    Does this tell us something about the GOP??? Should that not be a guiding light where they should be heading. Hint: it's not the past.

    November 8, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. JimC

    Do they not get that they lost because the republicans pushed too many swing voters away with extremists stances on social issues? Do you think Rush Limbaugh or Anne Coulter actually attracted moderate voters or pushed them away? Look at the voter demographics. The ONLY group the republicans dominated was middled aged white men. Women, minorities, and younger voters overwhelmingly chose Obama. Going father to the right is just going to make it worse on them. If the republicans don't do something to change their agenda, it's a death nell for them. The only group that voted for them is shrinking while theose that voted for Obama are growing fast.

    November 8, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. David

    The further right the GOP goes the smaller the party will get. The Tea Partiers are brewed from a cracked pot.

    November 8, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Dee

    So Romney wasn't conservative enough? Ever hear of a bell curve? I am willing to bet that the peak of that curve is somewhere in the middle between the two extremes, meaning moderate. The reason Romney didn't get elected is he moved away from the middle and chose a running mate even further off. The economy may have been the number one issue, but don't write off the importance of social issues. No one wants to be told what they can do with their bodies, who they can love and which moral code to live by. Moderate Republicans need to distance themselves from The Tea Party and ultra conservative Christians (It's already happening–bye-bye Akin and Mourdock!) and work harder to include women and people of color.

    November 8, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. markefried

    The Republican party needs to accept that certain issues have been fought and won by the other side, much in the way that Democrats had to accept in the early 90s some of the economic principals of globalism they had been fighting for decades were lost. The country is overwhelmingly in support of gay marriage. They are overwhelmingly in support of the richest people paying a little more to assist in the paying off of our debt. They are overwhelmingly in support of health care reform. They are fighting losing battles and they can accept that or they can continue to lose.

    November 8, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Gumby

    What most of those quoted don't seem to understand is the majority of Americans no longer hold the same values they do. It's not the 1950s anymore and we don't want it to be. We are tired of hearing about nothing but gay marriage, abortion, and immigration, which seems to be code for "it's no longer a white America and we want it back".

    November 8, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. Dave

    Wow – talk about a sore loser!! PMS must have REALLY kicked in. The electorate has sent a clear message that they are NOT interested in the Tea Party rhetoric. Their positions on abortion, same-sex unions, taxation, etc. did not gain traction. Blaming Romney is wrong on too many levels. The Tea Party is almost 100% to blame for the loss of the presidency. Tea Party – you may have been relevant in Boston so many years ago. Today, not so much.

    November 8, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. CarolinaGirl

    If the Rebublican Party let's the Tea Party take over they will fail like this election year.

    November 8, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Shandha L.

    The truth is that the polls did not tell America's truth. While upper middle class and the more fortunate americans were busy guessing on how to slice this american pie the rest of America(47 precenters) were out living the American dream to the best of their ability. I hope this teaches media/ news agents that most of us don't have time to poll we just vote when it counts. Romney didn't stand a chance even with his divisive tactics, America's heart now beats on truth and can not be derailed when it counts.

    November 8, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Brud

    We had two great candidates in Rick and Newt but we chose a flip flopping fool to represent us. What can anyone expect, when you're not true to your core beliefs you lose, whether in war or politics.

    Get smart, start now in promoting one of these two real Republicans.

    November 8, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. John Craig

    perhaps you should have nominated Michelle Bachmann? Or fat Rush Limbaugh? Or fake Sarah Palin? Or one of the right wing nuts you can see on fox news(?) every day. When you have crazy people spouting your "message" on a daily basis, you will seem crazy. Listening to Hannity last nite was comical. "Why"? he plaintively wails. "Why did the American people not heed our call?" Calling people un-educated leeches and idiots and morons has always been an effective strategy for gaining support for your cause. HELLO?...HELLO?..you lost the last election with that strategy. Right? What in Gods name makes you think it will work now? Look up the definition of insanity. It's right beside the picture of Michelle.Morons

    November 8, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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