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. Wow

    Love, love, love how they think they lost because their guy was not far enough to the right.

    November 8, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Mark Smith

    Take away all the cheating at the polls and Obama wins by a wider margin! A vote for hate will never win!

    November 8, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Hope4America

    It's sad that the tea-party religious fundamentalists don't see the problems with their beliefs and positions. How in the world did they come to the conclusion that being more conservative – my way or no way, is the ingredient for success??? Maybe they're so used to talking to themselves and among themselves, they really don't see what's around them. Well, if you can't adapt or evolve, you will become extincted. Oh wait, they don't believe in evolution either! I rest my case.

    November 8, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. rfritz

    I hope the tea party does take over the GOP. Then they'll never win another presidential race.

    November 8, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. w5cdt

    This woman is stupid. Any additional movement to the Right and they would have been beaten by a wider margin.

    November 8, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. Martin

    So these are the same people who back in August were all rallying around their newly appointed candidate.

    Now they're complaining that he was weak and ineffective, but we knew that BEFORE he was appointed the Presidential Candidate for 2012.

    If they wanted someone that would fight for them, they should have nominated Ron Paul.

    November 8, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Martin

    How are TEA Party candidates going to take over the GOP within 4 years?

    TEA Party candidates got all but wiped out this cycle, and none of the new candidates representing TEA party were elected.

    Miohelle Bachmann, founder of the TEA Party caucus, only held on by the skin of her nails.

    How exactly are the TEA Party taking over?

    November 8, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. baylady1

    I hear the death knell of the Republican party and it's a very sweet sound.

    November 8, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. Piaffe

    Obama won by women and minorities. The moment Romney picked the religious right Ryan who sees no case for abortion and is proNRA he put the nail in his coffin. If he had picked Marko Rubio, a smart reasonable Republican, rather than rigid self righteous Ryan, I believe he would have had a chance. Rubio connects but Ryan distances. Bringing abortion to the table rather than focus on the economy killed Romney. They focused on the Evangelicals and lost the rest of the nation. I was listening to Romney until he announced Ryan as his running mate. Keep religion out of politics. The Republican party is no longer conservative it represents the unyielding religious right.

    November 8, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. RI Jim

    The only way I will vote for a Republican again is if they publicly denounce and lose these extremist nutbags! But they sure were entertaining to watch during the primaries, wern't they? Old Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave. And I voted for Ronald Reagan.

    November 8, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  11. pendulum

    Conservative base is shrinking and they keeps insulting other minorities when mixed their religion with politics. Also they are not that creative bunch. They should hire some smarties from democratic party but who would like to work with those ole timers.

    November 8, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Discernment


    Initially I was disappointed to hear people like Tea Party co-founder Jenny Martin accuse "Severe Conservative Romney" of NOT being extreme enough. Are you kidding me! And now Jenny believes she must find a conservative more extreme than the Severe Conservative?!?!

    But we shouldn't be surprise. These Tea Party extremist live in a bubble full of other extremist, and they cannot see the facts nor reality.

    November 8, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  13. ludvig

    I'm an old white guy who was told the other day that since I was white I should have voted for Romney. I'm not a Nazi who believes in racial superiority. The GOP problem is their ideology. Make rich people richer, poor people poorer and cut out the loopholes on the middle class such as the home financing interest deduction so the rich can get even a bigger tax cut. Enough with the tax cuts. The feds have cut taxes, cut taxes and cut taxes some more and the Repugs want another tax cut. They are spoiled morons, plain and simple, a dying party. RIP GOP RIP Tea party. Good riddance. Die off of old age. Look at those beautiful young multi-racial people dancing at Obama's victory celebration. Magnificent.

    November 8, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. Cindy

    I have heard several Republicans blame their loss on Hurricane Sandy. I guess that means God was on the side of President Obama.

    November 8, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Doug

    Obama didn't win because of his policies. He won because of his popularity. If there is anything left 4 years from now, hopefully we can take back the whitehouse and begin to pick up the pieces. I would HATE to be the next president.

    November 8, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. Emma in Baltimore

    "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.

    I wonder if she would've felt that way if Romney had won.

    November 8, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. AnnieM

    The United States is NOT a white Christian country nor was it ever intended to be. It was designed to be a country of all races and all religions. E pluribus unum (out of many, one)I wonder how many more generations will have to die off before certain groups figure that out...

    November 8, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  18. Patrick in Wisconsin

    He Republicans, your loss across the board two days ago? YOU BUILT THAT!

    November 8, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. onestarman

    The Republican Party is about to either Split in Two or Implode. It is quite unlikely that the Power Structure that is currently in place would be able to Open itself up to be more of an Inclusive Big Tent. The Tea Party Lunatic Fringe that has Taken hold will Insist on ideological PURITY. The Moderate to Liberal Republicans from the time of Legend will then Re-Appear like Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt riding a Bull-moose and Dove to form a New Party with REAL Conservative Values like Fiscal Responsibility and a government that is non-intrusive into Personal Liberty and adverse to foreign involvements. And the MOST Conservative Idea of all – To CONSERVE the Planet that sustains our LIFE.

    November 8, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. Gotta move forward to be first

    I really hope Republican keep thinking this way. I hope the tea party takes over the party, it'll mean the Dem + Ind can move this country back into leadership. Hold fast to your horses and bayonets Repus.

    November 8, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. Richard

    I fully believe that they should run this country like the Bees do in their hives....KICK OUT THE NONE PRODUCERS!

    November 8, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  22. mike sylvan

    The Republican party is doomed due to the fact that they hold views that are not in line with the majority of the American people. Newt and Bachman – what a pair!

    November 8, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  23. IanA1

    Republicans should have the basic sense to be angry at the bs they were told by Fox, Limbaugh, and the like. They were told Romney could easily win, and laughed at sources like Nate Silver's 538, calling such sources "liberal media lies".

    Well, 538 was spot-on accurate. Republican sources were dead wrong. There is no vast liberal media conspiracy. You were simply being told what you wanted to hear by sources of low journalistic integrity. Fox, Limbaugh, Newsmax, etc. are a little more than entertainment that will happily tell you anything, as long as it keeps you watching, and keeps that advertising cash flowing in.

    November 8, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. whitehousenotforsale

    "It should have been a landslide for Romney, had he embraced a truly conservative agenda..."

    Didn't they say the same thing in 2008? So funny.

    November 8, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. George Busch

    Repugs, always looking for someone to blame. It's always easier to place blame than to confront the true reasons and try to resolve the problem. But all the GOP wants to do is find someone or something to blame then try to convince their followers that things will be better next time. Their policy is wrong, their assumptions are wrong and the results of the next election will be worse for them than this was. With all the money and slamming of Obama they put into the 2012 campaign, they got beat. Soundly. RIP GOP

    November 8, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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