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. Canuck

    "you better start swimmin'
    Or you'll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin'"

    Bob Dylan

    November 8, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. cupquest

    As the Tea Party grows, the GOP's long-term viability shrinks! It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Long live the Tea Party! Need a more conservative candidate? That'll help the GOP win? What planet are you on? Not sure how people can be so stupid.

    November 8, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. ridmylips

    8 years of conservative agenda during Bush era. what have we got? RECESSION.....

    November 8, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Ex-GOP Con

    As always, the GOP TEA Party establishment RINOs allowed themselves to be bought by millionaire money and phony conservatism. INSTEAD of point the finger at themselves for nominating Rich Money, they blame him instead. Puhleeze!

    Nominate a true conservative like Ron Paul next time!

    November 8, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. FilmProf58

    Oh yes, please, do go further Right! In fact, go ahead an re-name it The Anti-Abortion Party or The Anti-Immigrant Party. LOL. You guys think the problem was that you weren't conservative enough? LOL.

    November 8, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. BostonBruins02110

    Mitt was a twitt, that was his problem! Like he did in Massachusetts, he flip flopped on issues when it served him to do so. Mis-handled the economy of our Commonwealth and basically had a "smoke and mirrors" approach to problem solving which basically solved no problems. He left the hard tasks to Governor Patrick (D). Ultimately, he left office with a 30% approval rating. Interestingly enough, he got 36% of the vote in our Commonwealth his latest Presidential endeavour. That says something! The American people made the right decision, thank goodness!

    November 8, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. 332 electoral votes for Obama

    The tea party has managed to get Obama elected to a second term. The weak positions poor Mitt was cornered into made him unelectable in a general election. It may work in Kansas to be stupid and intransigent but these people who think doubling down on stupid is all it takes move the general electorate their way are, well, just stupid.

    November 8, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. cupquest

    As the Tea Party grows, the GOP's long-term viability shrinks! It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Long live the Tea Party! Need a more conservative candidate? That'll help the GOP win? What planet are you on?

    November 8, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. sbueler

    These far right nut jobs are the best thing to happen to the Democratic party in years. It would all be great except they have managed to elect people who don't believe in the spirit of putting aside partisan politics to get something done and trust that checks and balances actually works. So, good for Democrats; bad for the country. And to think that they consider themselves friends of America.

    November 8, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. was a repub

    The tea party movement has split the gop away from what they once stood for. Instead of focusing on abortion and gun control (that no repub before has ever made a huge issue) They need to get back to the core beliefs of focusing on this country and internal issues like Regan and Bush Sr. They were the ones that motivated the core of the GOP and not the "new tea tippers" . These folks have already tainted our core values to a point which I do not believe we can recover. The truth lies near the middle (slightly right of course, not exterme right). That has never worked in the past and the American Public will never buy into a candidate that talks and walks that way. Reagan, Bush Sr. and even Nixon knew that and used it to their advantage to get elected. Even George Jr was smart enough to not go too far right.

    November 8, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said a few days ago that if the rethugs started whining that they lost the election because their candidate wasn't conservative enough, he was going to smack them. His smackin' hand must be mighty sore right about now!

    November 8, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Mister Mike, Always Right

    Tuesday was just the beginning of the end for the Tea Party. Moderate Repubs are waking up and saying let's throw these folks out with the bathwater.......Six years from now the Tea Party will be like the Libertarians INCONSEQUENTIAL....

    November 8, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. md22mdrx

    Let the TEA Party crazies keep believing that the answer is they're not right enough. Please, keep up this belief and lose ALL credibility with the American people for GENERATIONS to come. The reason Romney lost is because he was a lying sack of crap ... was PROVEN to be so ... despised the working class (this was PROVEN) ... and was off the right wing deep end on many issues.

    November 8, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. greasemonkey

    Please Republicans.....believe that the reason that you lost was that you weren't far enough to the right.....pretty please.....

    November 8, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. chrisw1964

    These people are delusional. Romney was the closest thing to a sane, electable candidate the GOP could offer. I mean, it's not like the people who didn't think he was conservative enough voted for Obama....

    November 8, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. The Unsub

    Limbaugh, Hannity, Orielly, boy are they upset today! Trying to spin Obama's win....YOU JUST LOST...PERIOD!

    November 8, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Phattee

    As a severe liberal, I urge conservatives to keep going as far right as they possibly can.

    November 8, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Davester

    Four more years of the Obamanation.

    Hold onto your seats, folks.

    November 8, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Scott

    "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,"

    These people are really blind. First, it was Romney's fault for not being conservative enough and that's why he lost. Don't look at any of the polling results that showed Obama crushing Romney with moderate voters who are the core of this country. Did they not see how easy it was to slam Romney for all those lunatic positions he supported in the primary? The Tea Party wanted an anti-immigration candidate so they got one. One who got destroyed in the Latino vote and only won 20% of it. The Tea Party wanted hard line anti-abortion candidates. They got them and that's why the Dems picked up a seat in the Senate instead of losing control like they were predicted to.

    The Republican party is going to lose more and more elections until they realize that it was the message, not the messenger Romney, that people rejected.

    November 8, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. John

    The TEA Part need is not the Republican Party. It needs to create its own and I bet it would never win another elections. True Republican are not extremist. Elections are about demographics and America's demographics are changings. You win elections by widenign your base not by narrowing it.

    November 8, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. ridmylips

    Tea party is out of touch and full of bull.

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

    Let the TP continue on this futile path, pulling the GOP away from center into the nether regions of right wing darkness, and we Dems will own the WH for as many years, keep making gains in the senate, and win back a house majority when people tire of their crazy blabber and stonewalling congress. Fools.

    November 8, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. firebird9999

    Wow! Talk about being tunnel-visioned and out of touch! What an amazing lack of insight.

    November 8, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Bob

    It's not that people don't want conservative,it's that they don't want the self serving,racist,supremicist,iconoclastic,facist ideas of the lunatic fringe,self – proclaimed " voice of the American people" Tea Party. Any group that would hold the American economy hostage to score political points with their handlers,is more of a terrorist organization than any in the Middle East. Let's reverse history,keep the tea and throw the Tea Party members in the river.

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

    Tea Party = racism. I am white, anglo saxon and middle aged. Voting for a Tea Party or Republican candidate at this juncture would be like voting for Hitler.

    November 8, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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