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. aCanadianObserver

    So do I understand this correctly: The Republicans lost because conservatives would rather vote for a liberal or democrat than a moderate conservative In reality, if the Republicans had chose a more radical conservative they would have lost by a bigger margin. They just don't get it. Hopefully they'll try that next time and they'll never get in.

    November 8, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Bruce

    Until the Republicans learn that the extremism they have engaged in drives people away they will remain on the outside looking in. The fanatics within the Party: the Tea Party; the Right to Life; anti-immigration; women’s reproductive rights do nothing but drive people away from the party rather than into it,. Their unwillingness to compromise on budget issues has brought the country to the brink of fiscal suicide and unless they suddenly become willing to cooperate they will do so again by the end of this year. When you match those groups with the obvious hatred and racist views many on the fringe feel for the President it makes compromise difficult.

    November 8, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Russ in MD

    Romney was the best choice to get our countries fiscal problems back in line. He was a leader that had good business sense. The country will be forever changed by what they have elected to do. Sad, Very sad. I am a government contractor and I am not only worry about my job come January 1, but I am also worry about MY countries security after Obozo cuts our defense to a third world power.

    November 8, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. aCanadianObserver

    So do I understand this correctly: The Republicans lost because conservatives would rather vote for a liberal or democrat than a moderate conservative. In reality, if the Republicans had chose a more radical conservative they would have lost by a bigger margin. Hopefully they'll try that next time.

    November 8, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Metalcrow

    Wow oh wow wow. They are kidding right? I mean am I reading this correctly that Tea nuts and other Fringers think Romney lost because he was not conservative enough and did not project enough just how conservative he is. WRONG how you can get it so WRONG is beyond me, if you cannot see that his trying to show how conservative he is during the primary was what hurt him most of all. He ONLY started to gain ground after he dropped and acted like he never said all the ultra conservative stuff but it was to little too late then and for many it just reinforced the flip flopper image.

    You are putting the nails in your own coffin and the coffin of the republican party if you think that taking all ultra conservative positions will ever win. I am happy for you though.

    November 8, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. AnAmericanWHocares

    why do you never see any black people in the tea party ? Why do you hardly see any minorties of any kind ? These people are a menace , political terrorists who are just out to gain power pretending to be Republicans. Thank God the American people are starting to see this , and see them for what they really are. Bigots , religious Zealots and fanatics ....You know what the tea party really is the new American NAZI PARTY

    November 8, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. CanadianObserver

    So do I understand this correctly: That the Republicans lost because conservatives would rather vote for a liberal or democrat than a moderate conservative. In reality, if the Republicans had chose a more radical conservative they would have lost by a bigger margin. Hopefully they'll try that next time.

    November 8, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Russ in MD

    Remember this all you progressive liberals out there, Obama did not win this election, the Main Stream Media won this election and that includes CNN. Welcome to the United States Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R).

    November 8, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. RES

    t-baggers are irrevelant!!! Don't blame me, I VOTED FOR OBAMA

    November 8, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Lohocla

    Well, one good thing came from it. The threat to "legitimate" republicans to have the teaparty primary them and the fear of the money involved is now moot. Rove pounded how many millions of dollars at this election for a net gain of 0 seats in the senate and no new president. The tide has broken and real R's can go back to their roots. Finally

    November 8, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Why does my first post come out as Anouymous ?

    It happenned to me once as well.
    You have to make sure that your "Name" and/or E-mail fields are populated before you submit your post, otherwise you're labeled as "Anonymous".

    November 8, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Felipe

    "Must have sweeping, generous immigration reform,make existing law- abiding Hispanics welcome. Most are hard working family people." Rupert Murdoch
    Even Murdoch knows Latinos are conservatives, but if you threat them with self-deportation you will lose their vote. Time for generous immigration reform.

    November 8, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Brian

    When I start to feel conservative I take a laxative and then I return to normal.

    November 8, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. justin

    The republicans lost because they went out of their way to alienate pretty much everyone except fellow rich white republicans. Stuck in their 1950's mentality, republicans still think that rich white protestant republican males have been pre-ordained by none other than God himself to rule this land. What they fail to realize is that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant as their numbers decrease, while at the same time the numbers of those whom they have stepped on all these years continue to increase due to the demographic changes in this country. What a wonderful, refreshing development! The stern rebuke that was delivered to the republicans in this election hopefully will reinforce to them that more and more people just really don't care so much anymore about what they say, think, or do.........

    November 8, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. jvance

    No complexity, it was simple demographics and a weak message.

    November 8, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. gateway

    Jenny Beth Martin certainly looks angry and not willing to listen to anybodyelse's point of view. I can't believe she thinks Romney lost because he wasn't...conservative enough. LOL.

    November 8, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. RapidOne

    These idiots never realize it's THEIR OWN FAULT, for being too hateful, intolerant, uncompromising, unreasonable and–wait did I say HATEFUL??? These people are a plague to this country.

    November 8, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. DumbasRocks [R]s

    "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.

    This is pure delusion, as are many of the posts on here. You live in la-la land if you think Romney or any [R] candidate would have gotten more electoral votes if the candidate had been even more feral in his obedience to the rightwing underbelly. The trend in the polls show unequivocally that the only reason Romney's numbers improved towards the end is that he shook his etch-a-sketch and turned towards the middle.

    The fairytales being put out about turning even further to the right are a true sign of the distress and desperation that is now rampant in the Teaparty. The Teatards got their rumps kicked soundly on Tues. Ask yourself: where is the poll data that indicates a move to the right by Romney would have won it for him? It just does not exist.

    If [R]s are stupid enough to believe their political salvation is even more to the right, they deserve to be in the wastebin of history. They already have one foot in there....how stupid can you be to think that your escape from that is to put BOTH feet firmly in the trash can????

    November 8, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. everybodyknowsthisisnowhere

    Everyone on fox had the look and sound of, "Hey, I paid good money for this, it isn't working!" Their founding mother, Tokyo Rose must be shocked too!

    November 8, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. PJD

    Tea Party = 1950 segregated America...down with government (until you need it, of course). TP'ers are small-town bigots who want their country to stay white and full of guns. You make me sick.

    Abortion should not be part of any campaign – nor should religion. What happened to separation of church and state? Our forefathers would be sick over this religiously-charged nonsense.

    November 8, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. rob

    Maybe the tea party should stop tea bagging each other and see that "the times are achangin." Unlike these tea baggers, the Dem party cares about other people, cares about their problems and believes everyone is equal, PERIOD. Tea Party, see ya in 4 years.

    November 8, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Shalynn

    Republicans all ways eat their own. They fry, bake, broil, grill or steam them. They should be consoling poor old Mittens and Queen Ann. Boy, did you see her face Tuesday night? She was already measuring the drapes.

    November 8, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. JASON

    Tea party was an arrogant reply by the GOP to the Bush fu*kup. No wonder the nation hates them with heart. They were ralying for the banksters that caused the nation to almost fail under the GOP leadership. They showed racism and disdain for anyone that was even slightly unlike them. They showed inhamanity unparralled since the Nazis. They showed treson to be patriotic. They showed vice to be a virtue. The nation was shocked initially but when the reality kicked in even the tea baggers were ashamed of themselves. The teaparty was the KKK revolution of 1920's

    November 8, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Chutzpah

    The Republicans tested out a number of extremist candidates during the primaries (Bachman, Santorum...), and they were laughed off the stage. If Romney had been allowed tro run as Romney, and not as some kind of Tea Party-pro-life-severe conservative Frankenstein monster, he might have had a decent chance.

    But no – this dysfunctional, schizophrenic, self-obsessed Republican Party takes away the lesson that they need to be even more extreme. The loss of touch with reality will shortly produce an excellent example of evolution at work. Good riddance, GOP...

    November 8, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thought about you when Minn. went blue for Obama!
    My friend we did it.

    Well, I tried to tell our GOPer friends it would ... ! (and got raked all over the coals by Truth - of all people - lol!).

    And, yes, my friend ... WE DID IT. Again.

    November 8, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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