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. t-party kills the GOP

    lets hope the t-party takes over the GOP as stated. i'd rather have landslide wins for the dems then close elections like this one.

    gotta laugh when they say "we need to be more conservative".....that's what cost them this election!

    just more spin and lies from the party that cornered the market on spin and lies.

    t-party....the party of traitors!

    November 8, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. ghostriter

    Yeah, haven't seen four and the door since early tuesday. Not that I'm trying to gloat.

    These folks have been blaming everyone but themselves since 2008. They are trying to once again pin it on the poor. They blamed the housing bubble on poor folks as well. Now you got folks like O'Rilley saying that 50% (where do they pulll these percentages from?) of Americans want "stuff". Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, Mitt. And Ryan.

    Well, to assume that any and everyone that voted for Obama are on the dole is laughable. There were a few welfare folks bashing Obama and I am far from indigent. But just like Sununu assumed that black folk voting for Obama only did so because of race.

    So a quick question to any conservatives man enough to show up in here: How do you explain the over 50% of christians Obama won? Or the almost 70% of the jewish community? How do these numbers correlate to yours?

    November 8, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. rucrazy

    America did the right thing!! Now Mitt is getting eaten by his own people!

    November 8, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. TAK

    I bet this is exactly how the GOP felt when Dewey did NOT defeat Truman in 1948.

    Can't help but smile when I recall all the stuff Romney promised to do during his first day in office. Too bad he did not realize that he had to get elected first.

    November 8, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. SachinK

    Conservatives are pointing fingers? Why is that news? Its a normal things for them. They whine and crib over everything and then blame others for taking away what they were entitled by God to have. They will use their God for everything, so lets stop worrying about these people and have some real news like...fatest states in US are conservative states, states with most broken schools are conservative states, and so on.. That's why they hate everything because these guys havent got anything good to look at.

    November 8, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota


    Another thing that thrills and encourages me is that even though billionaires like the Koch Bros and Addleson spent multi-millions trying to put their man in offiice, in effect buying the presidency, they didn't succeed!.

    And boy oh boy are they upset. Apparently they believed Romney's hype that he was going to win. Old Mitt had a real humdinger of a Victory party all laid out for them, too. Wish I could have been a fly at that party when Ohio was called for Obama. Begging the question: why would THEY believe his lies anymore than we did? Guess Mr. Mittens lied to them too.

    November 8, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. lu

    I throw out my tea bags out after they have lost their taste. Maybe the TP should also take notice: Your out !

    November 8, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Jean

    I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Ryan either, the love of the T bagger's heart Although I find it hard to believe that he is the good hard-line Catholic he claims. No good Catholic would agree with Ayn Rand's policies, an open marriage advocate and athiest of the first stripe who sneered at anyone who was religious at all, calling them ignorant.

    And what good, contraceptive shunning Catholic would have only three children?? I know, a bit snarky on my part, but a reasonable observation since he is so against contrception . A good Catholic at his age should have at least six kids! Another" do as I say, not as I do", perhaps??..

    November 8, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. notogop

    The Teapublican Party reminds me of my first wife. She and they are unable to see their shortcomings and adjust to changing circumstances. They don't see that they lost on the content of their message not the delivery thereof. Their messenger, Mitt, was never accepted by the Teapublicans as a legitimate conservative and therefor the base (Fox News) never fully supported or agreed with him. The Tea Party has so fractured the Republican leadership that no one knows who is in charge. Hard to run any organization without leadership. The Repubs had better oust the Teabaggers from their caucus before they alienate more of the electorate than they already have.

    November 8, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. SherryLane

    The Republican Party nominated Mitt Romney; and that's exactly who they got, Mitt Romney.

    November 8, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ gmermel
    Radical Left wing paranoiac ideation? Well.....

    First, institute voter suppression of minorities in the name of nationalism (ID laws, reduce the days and hours of early voting.....):

    Put Romney in office.

    Stop the Justice Dept from challenging future voter suppression laws.

    Add a conservative Supreme Court Justice, and the court rejects challenges.

    Constitutionally protected minority totalitarianism.

    We were that close to the slippery slope.....
    This election wasn't so much about President Obama but the complete disenfranchisement of the American voter, the middle class, and the 47%. It was about a small group of people thinking themselves capable of buying the presidency and putting a man with, as Norquist so succintly put it, with enough digits to sign legislation tht we place before him.
    It was about plutocracy.
    It was about going to hell in handbasket with our hands tied behind our backs.

    November 8, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Jean

    No Malory, different doctor. This one is a dermatologist from Huntsville AL. Ha. I didnt' think anyone with a college education was dumb enough to be a T partyier, but here we have 2 doctrack tors! I made the mistake of geting caught reading a tract in his consulting room when he came in. Clearly ultra right wing stuff..

    November 8, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Shalynn

    These people are just clueless and ignorant. Please, let them take over the Republican Party. They will push them over the cliff totally sooner rather than later.

    November 8, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Lonnie

    Please, please, please keep doing exactly what you are doing Jenny Beth and the rest of you Teabaggers and I'm looking SO forward to 2014 Midterms. Americans are seeing you for exactly what you are.

    November 8, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. libfreak48

    Was I dreaming or did conservatives not have the choice of 8 different, wonderfully conservative candidates who lost in the primaries? Conservatives didn't seem to have too much trouble finding quite conservative candidates for Congress and the Senate. So to put this on the GOP party is a bit much in the "I didn't do it" department. But then, conservatives for the most part are quite immature about things like this, especially when it comes to confronting the reality they don't like.

    November 8, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. tarmac

    Here's where the problem is for republicans (as reported in the National Journal): 1) democrats have now won the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections (matching the record of any party) 2) President Obama held all 18 "blue wall" states that have voted Democratic in each election since 1992. This is the most states Democrats have won that often since the formation of the modern two-party system in 1928 3) with Romney's defeat, the GOP candidate has not exceeded 50.8% of the popular vote or 286 electoral votes since 1988. There is a slow but inexorable change in America that understands that: 1) government does have a valuable role to play in making our society better 2) that appropriate tax rates for the well-off grow the economy (and i'm one of the 1% and am willing to pay more in taxes) 3) people want folks to stay out of their bedroom 4) equality is a fundamental freedom (i.e., gay marriage, etc.). I can only hope the republicans double-down on moving to an even more conservative agenda as that will continue to make them less and less relevant.

    November 8, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. John

    Republicans refused to believe that their anti-woman, anti-latino, anti-black, anti-union, anti-gay, anti-muslim, anti-youth, etc. policies are the reason they lost. I hope they run their most extreme conservative in 2016. As a Democrat I would love to make a political contribution to Rich Santorum's 2016 Presidential campaign.

    November 8, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. GadFly2012

    Let's see, Latino voters overwhelmingly supported the President, again. Willard Mitt praised Arizona, Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio as a "model" for the nation. But what was missing was someone who was MORE Tea Party-like? He could hardly have leaped farther to the right without putting a white sheet over his head.

    The GOP does not "get it." Nor from these posts does it look like they will anytime soon. They will blame Willard, Sandy, Chris Christie, etc. But they will not look in a mirror–if they did they still would not see the colors of this strong, diverse country; nor will they hear the different accents and inflections of its voices.

    One hopes they put up Palin, Trump, or Rick Santorum–assuming they have the guts to actually run. Against Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden? Now wouldn't that be nice...?

    November 8, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Come on, really?

    "They just aren't getting it, the repubs and the tea party are out of date. They have no idea what is really going on in America. You know if they don't want to get an abortion then don't but also don't tell other women what to do. It is none of their business. They want to send women back to the 1950's. Everyone is an individual with free will, and these highly conservatives have no right or business in others lives. They need to worry what they are doing and leave the rest of us to make our choices freely. They want to take our freedom and that is our inherent right as citizens of this country. So glad Obama won, so glad!"


    Okay, don't make me pay for it. Also, leave my Holiday's alone, and quit shoving your debauchery in my face at every turn. No one wants to take your freedoms; we want to preserve them, but realize that we are running out of money to pay for irresponsible behaviors. Do what you want, but then PAY FOR IT YOURSELF! Quit requiring me to pay more for you. I AM the one who stayed up all night to finish graduate school while working full time and raising three kids. I did it so I could get ahead and afford nice things, not so I could pay for some irresponsible, gullible, "gimmee gimmee gimmee" girl to sleep around and get pregnant, or someone who "just doesn't feel good" to collect unemployment, or someone whose uses excuses to stay downtrodden. Give me a break. I BUILT my life by working three jobs, taking responsibility for my actions when I got pregnant, and finally finishing school. No one wants to send anyone to the 1950's (and really, what was wrong with that time period - looked pretty good to me). We want you to quit being freeloading pansies and take responsibility for earning an income and behaving with dignity.

    November 8, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Bola

    Well, would like to support wthe reason Mitt Roomney lost the Presidential election. Mitt lost his bearings and focus. He deviated from what the Republicans stands for, he goes a step forward and three steps backwards. And his managers must have added to his confusion. Yes, within the next 4yrs the need to map put strategy towards the next election.

    November 8, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. ProfPaul

    OK – so almost everyone, except for the Tea Party extreme fringe, agrees (after seeing post-voting polls) that the Republican party must change to survive. IF that is a given, then apparently what the Democrats must do to stay ahead is to anticipate what the Republican party MAY attempt to do, and either get there first or defend against that action. As one example, moderates in the Republican party say they must promote those aspects of their platform that might appeal to the Hispanic bloc as that bloc (and pretty much everyone agrees on this as well) will become an even greater power in upcoming elections. If the Republican party, in order to woo Hispanic voters, starts promoting their focus on "family, religion, hard work, entrepreunership" etc, then what must Democrats do NOW to counter-act that? (Not that the Republican party will actually be able to implement this type of internal change due to resistance from the Tea Party fringe. Which is why, as a Democrat, I LOVE the Tea Party.)

    I'm about as progressive as they come, and I can see why Hispanic voters have chosen the left over the right so far (based of course, on each parties choices about the Dream Act, border fences, etc.). However, I also want progressive ideas to expand in power for a long time to come, so I'm hoping the Democratic party has some plan in place to defend against possible attempts by the right to woo the blocs they have so far insulted (women, Hispanics, youth, gays, etc.). NOW is the time, while the right is taking a beating and may be unable to mount a resurgence in these growing voting blocs, to "lock in" those blocs with the correct approach.

    THIS should be the focus of left-wing discussions (after the gloating is done) because, while gloating is fun, it won't move the party or its policies forward.

    November 8, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. TAK

    The answer is sooo simple.

    It was God's will that the Republicans be punished for their pride and arrogance.

    .nuff said!

    November 8, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Illeagle-j1

    The GOP may point fingers all they want, but, the main reason for their loss is that the Republicans under the influence of the far right, is no longer relevant in our society. Americans for all their faults have gotten used to certain rights. Freedom to believe as they want and freedom to live as they want. It has nothing to do with ethnic background, it has to do with one basic fact. AMERICANS ARE A FREE PEOPLE, WE WILL NOT ACCEPT A THEOCRACY!!

    November 8, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. patw

    Conservatives are pointing fingers at the RINOs that run the Republican Party. The same RINOs that do everything in their power to prevent a real conservative rom being nominated. They force the second most liberal candidate ever nominated down are throats .

    November 8, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thought about you when Minn. went blue for Obama!
    My friend we did it. We dodged a bullet. We protected our democracy. We faced down voter suppression. We said no to exclusion, and turing back the clock on hard-fought for rights. We rallied like Americans are wont to do when we need to the most.

    America did not so much speak on Tuesday it ROARED!!!!!!!!
    I am so incredibly proud to be an American "where at least I know I'm free" and my voice, my vote can still make a difference.
    God bless America. God bless our President Barack Hussein Obama.

    November 8, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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