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
10 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. Pete

    Who's the tea party going to pick as a presidencial candidate ,that looney Michelle Bachmann,give me a break ..They proved one thing as extremist party,they have no brains and people of their intelligence should be watched 24/7 they could hurt themselves or others its that bad!!

    November 7, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Kenney B

    It's ashame that their take from the election was Americans wanted fiscal austerity, not sensible cuts and revenue growth. That Americans wanted a severe pro-lifer with NO exceptions. That Americans hate the gays. That Americans think all the "illegals" should go back to where they came and build an electrified fence. That Americans want to invade every Islamic land. That's their take? Well if the Tea Partiers take over in 2016 then I hope they're prepared to continue seeing a frustrating decline in their party. No one wants HATE in the political sphere and I think the nation just rose up and clearly stated that. If Mitt ran as "Moderate Mitt" from the get go, with all the strikes and uneasiness surrounding Obama's first term, We'd be looking at a President Romny the day after...

    November 7, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. CharlieAdamsInKentucky

    Translation from the Lunatic Right Wing: "Hey, we weren't INSANE ENOUGH TO WIN this time, so we need to ratchet up the rhetoric and the hate speech and the thinly-veiled threats next time..."

    November 7, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. altold

    Conservatives are just out of touch with the majority and refuse to admit it. Their delusional ways are laughable. The better man won. Deal with it.

    November 7, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. emily

    and they will just keep losing......and the Democras will keep winning.........why don't they look in the mirror and see the huge huge problem they have created.....who ever wants a bunch of crazy right wingers in office? Obviously not most americans

    November 7, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Joanne Renshaw

    Simple. Stop the lies and pressing otherwise decent men (Romney) into abandoning their values and honesty in the name of Republican propoganda and prejudice. Step up to address and solve the country's problems. Get out of our bedrooms and stop trying to save our "souls" (my soul is between me and God). If the republicans do not step up now, they will face decades of defeat because they are living in the wrong century. Forward. We are tired of the bulls**t.

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

    People are hungry, out of their homes, no jobs and you think we give a crap about abortion issue. Shut up tea party already and go find a hole to crawl in.

    November 7, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. dtschuck

    No mention of the Tea Party would be complete without mentioning "clueless'.

    November 7, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    These are some real nuts. The only reason Willard even came close is because he moved back to the middle. Had he veered more to the right, his whipping would have been even worse. Keep it up baggers, even more people are going to run away from you.

    November 7, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. MJH

    We are a two party system (ie we need both parties to protect our everyone else from people like you). But, nevertheless, onward or 'forward' into the abyss.

    November 7, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. MockDaimyo

    I for one welcome their further attempts to "purify" their candidates.

    Maybe if they get stomped next election they'll finally learn math, and about how demographics are more important than baby boomers.

    November 7, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. bob funk

    Great. Stay in the bubble. Better for the real people. They're the new Whig Party.

    November 7, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. lesliee

    It would have been amazing to see the landslide this election would have been if the Republicans had put up a loony tune like Michelle Bachmann, for instance. (She really should go back on her medication for those voices in her head.) I can hear the Republican ship leaning, leaning, leaning right–and capsizing.

    November 7, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Colleen Finley

    This could be the demise of the Republican Party, a party which once had free thinking, progressive individuals. Our country is changing. Get real.

    November 7, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. nothing new here

    What nonsense.
    GOP, you had an excellent shot at the presidency with Ron Paul. If you guys had only nominated Ron Paul, we might be saying "President Paul" instead of "President Obama".
    But no matter....
    I am enjoying watching my former party implode.
    Sincerely, a former Republican

    November 7, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Ken Hoffman

    "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.

    Truely delusional, IMHO. As long as the Republican Party kowtows to right wing extreemists, they will fair pooly in a democratic society.

    November 7, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Garry

    i think Romney did a great job, there's no way things could have been different because there's to marry dumb americans nowadays

    November 7, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Ms K.

    these people are crazy...Mitt moved to the center right and still lost....majority of the US are not buying what the extreme right wing is selling...social issues are not the way to govern

    November 7, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. 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" far from these nutjobs, 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 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Ken in MD

    Yeah, they should have had someone more Conservative. Then Obama could have gotten 350-400 electoral votes.

    The only reason Romney got as many votes as he did was because of his shift to the center. Or, I should say BACK to the center. He was a moderate (even slightly Liberal) Republican when he was Governor.

    November 7, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. john2397

    Obama is loaded with more worries moment he was declared a winner. Now in less than 2 years (thereafter he will be a lame-duck President)he has to produce results of many of his promises, almost all he was not able to deliver in his first 4 years term. I think; he should start a week long "fiscal cliff" resolution conference with 7 team members of Republicans and Democrats continuing discussion until it is resolved amicably. Then; he should visit Tehran for a week to resolve the nuclear issue with Iran, and if successful continue his marathon week long crusade to resolve the immigration (ii) healthcare bill (iii)middle-east issues including Syria and Palestine. He has proved beyond doubts that no one can bit him in giving pep talks and furnishing laundry list of hopes but no one is sure whether he has ability to deliver those hopes too!!!

    November 7, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Dakota57NM

    Several of the first term Tea Party ultra-conservatives lost their house seats to far more moderate republicans.
    That doesn't exactly scream go more extreme, does it?

    November 7, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. SeannyB

    The Tea Party won't "take over" the Republican Party in four years, it will be all that is LEFT of the Republican Party in four years.

    November 7, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. the_chemist_of_discord

    The candidate was hand-picked by the Beltway elite? Jenny Beth, the candidate was picked by primary elections. You baggers don't really appreciate democracy as much as you desire anarchy. And you've proven to be electoral poison.

    November 7, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Tyrell Corporation

    They don't sound any smarter today than they did yesterday. Jenny Beth must have missed the primary race if she thinks there were no candidates representing her views. The Republicans lost so hard because they don't understand the country anymore (or the ones who do are shouted down by their more conservative members), and the Democrats do understand the country. The conservative agenda maps onto a mythical past, not any probable future, and for that reason Gingrich is wrong about the "major challenge for House Republicans" - the sought-for inclusiveness is a virtual impossibility for them.

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