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. Wes Scott

    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.

    PLEASE let this happen! It will truly be the end of the fascist GOP on a national level. It would be the greatest possible gift of the far right to Hilary in 2016!

    November 8, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. FactCheck

    Yes yes... Mitt lost because he wasn't conservative enough. And Mourdock and Akin lost because they weren't "rapey" enough and Mandel lost because he didn't lie enough. I can't wait to see the looks on your faces in 2014 and 2016... Please proceed.

    November 8, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. RH

    I am a life-long Republican. I can't for the life of me figure out if Tea Partiers are whacky wingnuts or if they're just a can of mixed nuts–with some good nuts and some nuts you always avoid. If they'd keep the rhetoric to economics and basic tenants, I might be swayed. But, when they get into social issues, I can't be swayed. I can't become a Dem, so where does that leave people like me?

    November 8, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Paul

    When Ohio was declared for Obama, giving him the victory, I heard lots of noise outside my house. Didn't see any fireworks, but come to find out it was the conservative heads "exploding" all over the country. Now we know the answer to the question; that if a conservative head explodes in the forest and no one is around, will it make a noise?

    November 8, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. M

    The radicalization engineered by the Tea Party using the same techniques as the Taliban and Nazis is the result of why Romney lost. He just could not fit in with that exteamist agenda – I mean he tried but failed.

    November 8, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. FactCheck

    He was a leader that had good business sense.

    His good business sense allowed him over the last 6 years to build up a campaign coalition that wiped away the Democratic Party... oh wait, reality just set in.

    November 8, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. snoozie

    LOL! What a great article! So, in other words, they lost the election to a man whose ideology is the opposite of theirs, and they think the reason is because they needed to be push their ideology harder? That is just hilarious! At least it ensures dem leadership for a decade or so.

    November 8, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. 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 chosen a more radical conservative they would have lost by a bigger margin. Hopefully they'll try that next time.

    November 8, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. FactCheck

    I AM the one who stayed up all night to finish graduate school while working full time and raising three kids.

    Sure, and the government, who likely funded both the infrastructure and the facility of your school, had nothing to do with it right? What a clown.

    November 8, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Bill Hannegan

    The candidate wasn't conservative enough. The candidate should have made more clear that he wanted control over women's reproductive issues. The candidate wasn't enough of an extremist. The candidate should have taken more of a hard line. Please, PLEASE, let these pundits pick the 2016 Republican candidate as well.

    November 8, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. LetsBeCivil

    I understand the Republican's stance on the economy... I really do, but the price it would cost in the gains we've made in human and social rights is too high. You want votes from minorities? Treat us equally and with respect THEN we can discuss your economic plans.

    November 8, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. razberryshus

    Garry said:
    "i think Romney did a great job, there's no way things could have been different because there's to marry dumb americans nowadays"

    Ummm, no i am pretty sure he lost because of the fanatical archaic socially conservative ideologies.... Oh, and btw Garry, not quite sure what your definition of dumb is but let me enlighten you: you failed to capitalize "I"; it is "too" not "to"; "many" not "marry"; and i am pretty sure "nowadays" is not a real word...
    I would not be suprised if the GOB ran Jim Bob Duggar for 2016

    November 8, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Can someone tell me exactly how much money the Kochs, the Addelsons and the other 10 donors that comprised Romney's "following" WASTED in trying to buy the Oval Office for Romney and themselves in turn?
    Was it well over 1 BILLION?? Please tell me they wasted $1 BILLION dollars on that stand for nothing Etch-A-Sketch.
    It would sincerely make my day even brighter.

    November 8, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. MJ

    I just can't understand any of the bantering or pointing fingers. Is it remotely possible that they lost simply because more people agree with Obama?

    November 8, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. heywood

    As a Reagan Republican I can tell you this as sure as the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, if you keep listening to the religious right (sep of church and state, remember? No one cares about your beliefs, this is America, keep them to yourself and mind YOUR business) and you have men telling woman what they can and cannot do to and with their bodys (legitimate rape, fat drug addicted rush name calling) continue to make EVERYTHING a democrat or republican debate rather then acting like AMERICA comes before the party, you will never ever win the White House again, ever.

    November 8, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Romney is NOT My Hero

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

    LOL – You just found the cure for Romnesia as well! Hopefully whoever's posting as Obamacide will go take a whole case of them.

    November 8, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. #teamObama

    the GOP is wondering why obama won! I will tell you why because he isnt represented by childish so called "republicans" that try to put the blame on one another! i know i wouldnt even want to associate with people of those traits

    November 8, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. ohng12

    This article again shows why the GOP is known as "The Stupid Party"

    November 8, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. plain&simple

    Every tea party extremists in congress should now be left by republicans to defend their positions. Sane republicans to save their party should work with democrats to resolve the budget.....then see what happens. The tea party cannot exist without republican support!

    November 8, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Al Ford

    As a first time voter, for me it was repellent extreme social ideology of the Republicans.

    That and the unwillingness of Tea Partiers to compromise.

    You know what? When I pick a leader that person needs to be able to compromise for the good of this country.

    Otherwise they are simply an ideologue.

    November 8, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Hangtownie

    The GOP need to distant itself from the likes of Limbaugh, Trump, Rove, Tea Party and Fox news. They have become toxic to there cause. Once great political party is now controled by extremest. Ronald Reagan is rolling in his grave!

    November 8, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. keith VanZandt

    Winehz is in my opinion a great american. He is thoughtful and respectful and has his eyes wide open when it comes to the problems his party and this nation have together. This democrat would like to give him an ATTABOY.

    November 8, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. lewtwo

    "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years," he said

    If they do them true Americans will respond by making the GOP even more insignificant.

    November 8, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Angie

    This whole situation is reminiscent of the Gnome trying to eat himself inside out.....

    November 8, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Gregg

    The GOP will go the way of the Whig party if they do not get rid of the tea party,Limbaugh,Hannity,and Beck.

    November 8, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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