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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    Scott I agree with your post but I would like to state, for the record, that we rejected the messenger as well.

    November 8, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. judy

    get rid of the tea party the religious right and the old white guys and maybe you might end up with a party. The republican party is out of touch with America as it is today. We don't want your narrow ideas on women we don't want your religious ideas. We have seen where trickel down economy has got us.Don't tell us who to love. We don't want people that sign pledges governoring us. We don't want outside money buying elections. We want a candidate that does not lie that keeps his money here not over seas . Someone who can show us his tax returns. Whats wrong with the republican party??? They still don't get it. Forward

    November 8, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Johnston

    A Tea Party takeover of the GOP would spell its doom. The Tea Party slid too far to the right.

    November 8, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Susan Prock

    Not Conservitive enough? What a joke these Tea Party nuts are! Romney lost because he tried to play two ends against the middle and came across as a flip floper, liar and elitest snob (47%). The Republicans need to return to thier roots and give the "Tea Party" the shaft. The last real Republican president was Eiesenhower.

    November 8, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Brina

    They need to stop, because they still voted for him! Now they want to talk about him!

    November 8, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Mike Smith

    Candy Crowley and CNN are the most biased and unfair journalist in the world. You allow cnaiddates to blatently lie about everthing the say and do. Your handkling fo the debate was discusting,,,I am sure glad ZI do not have to watch you on TV anymore.

    November 8, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Pam of Long Beach, CA

    The GOP are so fantasy based, that Sarah Palin said that the people who voted for President Obama are the dregs of society and not "real" Americans. I hope they continue in their idiotic ways and they will NEVER win nationally again. Keep insulting women and minorities and people who want fairness in their government and Democrats will never lose. Thank you GOP for being such creeps.

    November 8, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |

    I can tell by the comments coming from right wing posters that
    -they didn't learn anything from losing
    -congressional inactivity will continue
    -and the GOtP will continue their quest to utterly destroy President Obama

    November 8, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. rjo3491

    "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years," Kiss it goodbye Republicans, you'll never see the White House again!

    November 8, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. The Unsub

    I will give the GOP a bone today: Romney was not the best candidate in your pool, hell he wasn't even the best Mormon. Romney seems like a good guy, but putting Paul Ryan on the ticket absolutely frightened folks because Ryan poisoned the ticket with reminders of the Tea Party. There is nothing wrong with conservatism, but that is not what the RNC is today!

    November 8, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Malory Archer


    I blame the voters. Most are too uninformed to know why they voted for Obama. My wife asked 3 of her co-workers who were voting for Obama "why" and not one of them could come up with a coherent reason.


    Maybe your wife has poor cognitive skills. Perhaps she is in need of a neurological specialist – could be early onset Alzheimer's.

    November 8, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. robert

    I hope the Tea Baggers keep it up. This will make it easier to marginalize them evenmore than they were this election. And this was a major butt kicking. I will give the other side the benefit of the doubt-maybe it was not a mandate for Obama, but it sure as Hell was a mandate to stop the insane wing o the facist right. Keep it up Tea Baggers. Keep saying anyone to the left of you is a comunist. Keep saying anyone not a fat old white christian with diabetes is unamerican. Keep saying that Corporations are people. Keep believing that COrporations care about you becasue you believe their shiny funny commercials. Oh yeah-The Health Care Industry cares about your health. British Petroleum cares about the environment. Sure.There is such athing as Clean Coal. Right. Keep it up. Please double down on all the hate and divisiveness you used to campaign with over the last 4 years. Know this-the Republican Party is no longer conservative. They are fascists. Where are the real conservatives? Where are the adults in the GOP? They are hiding.

    November 8, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. chris

    Pointing fingers again... what they do best. Cast blame with 20/100 hindsight.

    November 8, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. James

    So after reflecting on the election for a couple of days and the aftermath that followed... I'm somewhat perplexed why everyone is referencing prayer and God, if you truly believe in God. You must believe this is part of God's plan? Right... or have I got it all wrong :/

    November 8, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Jean

    Nick, I know full well why I voted for President Obama, I didn't want a corporate purchased, eliteist, tax dodging, flip-flopping phony to be elected. He wasn't presidentiial material. However if confronted by someone like your wife who asked me why..and I can guess the tone of voice..I prefered not to argue and would just back away from the question. Especially a co-worker!. I had a T partying doctor practically follow me out the door telling me I should watch Fox TV instead of the other networks. I could have spent the afternoon debating with him, but it wasn't worth my time or effort. I told him I was a moderate conservative, and it's true, but that wasn't good enough for him. And that is why some people don't get their questions answered. .

    November 8, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Bob

    Mitt was "hand-picked by Beltway elites and the country club establishment" Republicans? Really? So all those primary races that people voted in were faked? All this time I thought the rank-and-file Republicans who voted in the primaries chose the nominee. If so, they should look in the mirror to see whom to blame for the selection of Romney. And if they think a more "severly conservative" candidate would have done better in the general election, they are even more delusional than any of us thought. Try that in 2016 and it will be GOP/RIP!

    November 8, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    So, these conservatives would actually have us believe that they voted for Obama because Romney wasn't conservative enough? A conservative is never going to vote for a Democrat–the Republican candidate will always get their vote no matter what. And if they think that the normal people in the rest of the country would have voted for Mitt had he been more conservative, then they're more delusional than I originally thought.

    November 8, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Bob

    Wakeup call for GOP. The 1% can buy a candidate, fund a campaign and sling mud. However you cannot buy votes from our leisure and diverse society. US is the only society in the world to give away what was fought and worked for to those with their hands out and kids who cannot see past their high school lives.

    November 8, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Dennis1020

    And the Republican circular firing squad continues.

    November 8, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Jonathan

    Jenny Beth Martin is a joke. You here me hillbilly girl? On Tuesday night, of the handful of representatives that chose abortion as part of their agenda, nearly all of them LOST. By all means GOP, keep listening to trolls like Ms. Martin who just DON'T GET IT. The GOP party cannot survive, let alone win, with this right wing agenda. If Ms. Martin wants to place blame, look in the mirror (probably take two mirrors of course). Romney's loss was not because he was moderate, it was because the people (the majority) do not trust him to NOT follow the agenda of radical, extremists like your Tea Party.

    November 8, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Jack

    Hey–I was hoping Santorum would have been the candidate. Then there really would have been a landslide–in the Democrats favor!

    November 8, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. ponyboy

    The teabaggers should thank Obama, because of him they will now be in business for four more years.

    November 8, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. AgrippaMT

    The tea baggers and other assorted right wing loonies and extremists are more than welcome to choke on their own anger and disappointment. They got precisely what they deserved.

    November 8, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Sparky

    I would have voted for Romney if he wasn't forced to represent the nutbags on the far right. He should have ditched the nutbags and moved to the center after the republican primaries. What were the ultra conservatives going to do? Vote for Obama? I don't think so. In the end, his promises to repeal Obamacare were what kept me from voting for him. As a small business owner, I can't wait for 2014 when the healthcare exchanges open. I spend $14K subsidizing an enormous healthcare monopoly known as Blue Cross Blue Shield. I'm in that bend me over "small group" with only 2 people on the plan, and let me tell you, I'm being a*s reamed. Rates keep going up and service levels keep going down. I'll spend 4 hours on the phone with that bloated pig Anthem to make a simple change. Too many departments, etc. I might as well go through the government to get insurance.

    November 8, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Haven't seen Four and the Door or TruthHurts, or any of our friends.

    I juust want to remind them and all the other FAR-right folks that being butthurt IS covered by Obamacare.

    Even if it has been a pre-existing condition the last four years.

    November 8, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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