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. Roxene

    I was not a fan of Romney nor did I vote for him in this election. That being said, reading this article left me feeling pretty disturbed from the things his own supposed party members are saying about him. One can always criticize after the fact, but remember that YOU nominated him out of the other candidates you had before you. YOU chose him, so give the man a break.

    November 8, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    The Tea Party are nothing more than a secularized Taliban, with a perverted interpretation of the Constitution and our history as their scripture. There is no more reasoning with them than with Al-Queda or the real Taliban: they have declared anyone, including members of the GOP, to be their sworn enemies. In reality, what they have become is not a grassroots movement for change, but another billionaire's toy, another piece to be used and manipulated. Romney never belonged to them, because even he knew that their principles could never be applied without causing enormous disruption and long-term damage to the country and our society. Does the Tea Party care about that? Nope, because they are too concerned with rooting out unbelievers than worrying about the very negative impact they have already wreaked on our country. Our credit rating was downgraded because of their unwillingness to take care of a routine matter. Its all hubris to them, because they are convinced they, and only they, know what is right for the country. In reality, their ignorance is an embarrassment of epic proportions.

    November 8, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Dave

    Man, these people posting on here a a laugh riot!!! You actually think this is the death of the GOP??!!! Get real!! In case you are not well read, the cycle of politics in this country continues on the same way it always has. The GOP will be back in the White House then it will be the Dems turn. The two party system is a scam.

    November 8, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Dave

    The Tea Party is the Republican Party. We need to take full control and put forth a candidate that is a true conservative. We will never give up on conservative principles. We only lost this election because Romney was not conservative enough!

    November 8, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Greenspam

    The irony is that Romney started doing well after he embraced Democrat positions in the first debate.

    November 8, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Good luck to them if they think going further right is the answer. Mitt Romney probably would have won this election if he had just been himself (we saw the real Mitt Romney during his concession speech). He tried to pretend he was something he wasn't in order to appease the right-wing hardliners within the GOP. As a result, he looked phony – that's what cost him the election.

    November 8, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Ken Waters

    The ammo was there but he didn't use it. Deficits, debts, spending, food stamps, poverty levels, failed international relations, whispers to Russia on when he will have more flexibility, and on and on. And the auto bailout issue was poorly handled. Romney advocated a "managed bankruptcy" which would have essentially been a bailout just like the one that happened but with some fiscal responsibility differences. The people as a whole thought he threw the auto industry under the bus. That hurt him, but it could have been avoided with clarification. And he needed to recognize that whites are no longer the population majority and you better include blacks and Latinos in your campaign speeches. And not self deportation. What a blunder that was. Romney could have been good for the U.S. but he didn't sell the goods to the less informed who don't read – they watch TV and then vote. And Obama got them all.

    November 8, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. bayoujet

    Yea, all those neo-conservatives felt Romney was too liberal – so they voted for President Obama and got him elected??? Logic – a terrible thing to waste!

    November 8, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Critical Thinking

    John F Kenndy : "ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country"

    Barack Obama : What can I do for you.

    November 8, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Locker

    Yea because Tea Party candidates have performed so well to date. Your problem is your isolationist mindset and denial of actual reality. Your solution? More isolation. I love it, you lot will NEVER win.

    November 8, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. sanster89

    You know when I read articles like this I wonder if any of the supposed "authorities" that are quoted ever had a real job.

    November 8, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. lokiswhispers

    Wow, I think these guys are pointing their fingers in the wrong direction. Republicans are TOO conservative socially. Most people do not mind or actually prefer a conservative economic platform, but are pushed away by all the anti-gay anti-abortion talk. I think the fact that four states voted to allow gay marriage should be enough to show Republicans that perhaps the country is changing when it comes to social issues. If they DO go the more conservative route and alienate people even more, they'll find they'll never win an election again. I'd personally like to see the Libertarians take over the Republican party, but whatever.

    November 8, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Paganini

    It might have been as simple as Mitt releasing his tax returns. When someone tells me "that's none of your business", regardless of the issue, you will simply never, ever get my vote. Too bad.

    November 8, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. ridmylips

    In his modern times of generation GOP can't be extreme conservative or plain conservative and ain't gonna work today, were not in 1950's.

    GOP need to reach out with minority Black, latino's , Asian etc. They need to transform from right wing Conservative to Cosmopolitan Republican, then I believe they can win the General election in the future.

    November 8, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Bill

    Oh I wish Mitt would have move farther to the right. Then there would have been a complete house cleaning of all the right wing nutters in congress.

    I'm still trying to figure out how a nutjob like Bachman got reelected. The same for Eddie Munster, Cantor, etc.

    November 8, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Toxteth O'Grady

    Wow. These idiots are even more in denial than Karl Rove and Dick Morris. They want to make abortion a campaign issue? They LOST two easy Senate seats because their hand-picked candidates demonstrated they knew less about women's bodies than did Rick of the Young Ones. Their jingoism drove the Hispanics into the Democratic Party by an unprecedented 2 to 1 majority. It cost Romney the presidency. These people need to get out of the party so that it can start attracting people other than angry white men.

    November 8, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. RIP GOP

    Not conservative enough?? How conservative are these lunatics trying to be? It's so sad to see the Republican party self destruct. My party has left me....

    November 8, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Dillon

    all the losers now want to blame everything on somebodyelse. The facts are:
    1. the republicans themselves chose this guy
    2. Romney was a pahelogical flip flopper and they knew
    3. Had Romney stuck to the now wanted extreme adgenda of the right wing he would have lost bigger
    4. Republicans hadv absolutely no concept of the make-up and views of the American electorate
    5, Republicans created a false universe based on their own desires of what they wanted the electorate to be and not the known facts which were readily available then THEY BELIEVED THEROWN HYPE!!6.. Contray to the paulists Ron Paul outsode of his district in Texas isn't eigther viable ore beleivable as he has earned no respect from eiother Party and has done virtually nothing in Congress, passed no positive or important legislation and is rightly regarded by both parties as an "out of touch" ideolog who has no grasp of the concept of reality whose only record is votring no on everything,. Had he won he would have been lucky to win one state and even fewer electoral votes. If republicans are truly interested in why they lost all they have to do is for each to look in the mirror and that will explain everything.. They also have to realizee that you cannot base a cam[paign by and on certifiable misreprentations and lies and expect the people when they become aware that they have been manipulated falsly not to repudiate them and retaliate republicans are truly interested in why they lost all they have to do is for each to look in the mirror and that will explain everything see that they are both a failed party and ideology with no relevance to the world around them or the eletorate in general.

    November 8, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Papa

    Soooo let me get this straight; make abortion a bigger issue, be more hardline, more sour, more bitter and the Repubs would have won in a landslide? Hold on; BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......keep telling yourself this nonsense.

    November 8, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. RRJ25

    The ultra right Tea Party is why they lost. They should think about breaking away from the Republican party into their own third party. Then maybe the Republicans can win one.

    November 8, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. RIP GOP

    If Mitt Romney was allowed to be himself aka "Moderate Mitt", he would have won election. The same goes for Jon Huntman, whom I supported in the primary. We need more moderates in the party and less fear mongering.

    November 8, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. timothyjaysmith

    What would they be saying if he had one? The Republicans are such a feckless, hypocritical lot.

    November 8, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. tor5

    As a liberal, I hope Republicans get it together and MODERATE. As much as I like Democratic wins, balance and compromise is a often a good thing. But when Republicans rejected even 10 to 1 spending cuts to tax increase and focused exclusively on obstruction, they failed to serve any useful purpose. This path will be their demise. But it won't be a good thing if Dems call all the shots. We're better off with two responsible parties.

    November 8, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Robert Platt Bell

    Romney didn't LOSE, Obama simply WON.

    A majority of people like his policies better than the far-right polices of the GOP. And yes, this includes Obamacare.

    They did the same thing in 2008, claiming they wern't far enough to the RIGHT to win.

    Wrong answer.

    Do you really think that Newt or any of the other nominees would have fare better? Michelle Bachman? Be serious. Instead of a squeaker, you'd have a landslide.

    Mitt was not moderate ENOUGH, and the video produced by Gingrich, "When Mitt Romney Came to Town" summed up why he was a bad choice for liberals or conservatives.

    November 8, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Do you really want to knwo how wrong the Teatrolls are about the answer being "more extremism and move further to the right"? Here it is:

    FACT: Dems running for the House won the popular vote over GOPer running for the House.

    That's right. The GOP kept its House majority SOLELY via gerrymandering the districts in the states they controlled. Even THAT is becoming exrtemely difficult for them and the popular vote for the House shows it. They have no mandate to block Obama's agenda. Don't let the GOP and MSM tell you otherwise.

    November 8, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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