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. clayton_bigsby

    "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years," he said.<< B.S. if the tea party really had clout, Romney wouldn't have been their nominee to begin with, the establishment won when it mattered most to get a nominee, only to find out it didn't matter at all.

    November 8, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |

    I told you alll the POTUS is, and continue to be BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA...read it and weep Truth, Bob and you other right wing republicants, I Told You So! And I'll tell you something else. The momentum of change is coming to your state and local areas. Today you enjoy the red sates status, tomorrow you will be blue or purple. You cannot stop the momentum; It will be easier to stop the rain...

    November 8, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. Joe

    As a registered democrat, PLEASE keep touting "social conservatives" and Tea Party candidates as the solution to the Republican Party's current electoral woes...you need to strive to be even better foot soldiers in the battle for the souls of the lost 47%. Remember, GOD is counting on you...don't let Jesus down. Make it Bachmann/Palin in 2016!

    November 9, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  4. Daniel

    The conservatives can kiss my pink toenails, I used to be a republican, until they went crazy last year.

    November 9, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. Ron Bennett

    Ha, according to Karl Rove and Hannity, they blame the election on God. they said that a hurricane named Sandy, which was an act of god caused Romney to lose the election...

    November 9, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  6. alanisretired

    I hope Richard A. Viguerie is right, and the ultra conservatives and evangelicals of the right wing finally take the lead and set the agenda for the republican party. Their extreme points of view, especially on social issues, should surely endear them to the up and coming, multi ethnic, generations of voters. Why, in another two election cycles you may get a massive 15-20% of the vote. And then you can blame the liberal media. Right.

    November 9, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  7. dustin

    93% of black voters voted democrat. 72% of hispanic voters voted democrat. This is the normal trend. Hispanics and blacks made up 6% more of the electorate this year than in 2000, and it will only continue to increase. Unless republicans can find a way to start appealing to minorities, they will likely never win another presidency as whites continue to decline as the most populous race in America. It is pretty clear the GOP needs to change their platform, or change their strategy to make their party more inclusive of all Americans.

    November 9, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. Tim/Canada

    LOL...so...The Tea Party wants to double down on what got the GOP defeated....brilliant! Most thinking Americans are now fully aware that simpleton Tea Farty 1950's-era philosophies are just plain stupid and contributed to Obama's success.

    November 9, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  9. rick

    As their past great white hope, Sorry Palin, once stated...."Let's take this country back", which translated means.......let's take this country back to the days of slavery, when women couldn't vote and 12 year old kids had to work ten hours a day to help support their families. So now the big question is, does nugent go to jail or do himself in? Congratulations all.

    November 9, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  10. chevhu

    This party is full of ignorant people who firmly believe they have all the knowledge. They will continue to lose in next elections.

    November 9, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  11. Bill

    If the Repubican party fails to go to the middle, they will not hold the House in 2014 !! There is a new Majority and it is only going to get larger if they continue to go right.

    November 9, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  12. Chris

    Adopting policies based on ideas of a Russian-born fiction novelist/"celebrity" (whose obvious enamor of the wealthy colored her fiction and who seems to have been the ultimate opportunist) doesn't seem very conducive to a democracy. In other words, We read her Atlas and Shrugged the Self-Named Gold-God Worshippers Off Our Backs. The Republican Party needs to emerge from their ignorance.

    November 9, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  13. shelbyanne

    Bush did it.

    November 9, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  14. jumbo1

    By the time the GOP figures it out, they will all be dead.

    November 9, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  15. Fred Earel

    IF the Tea Party has its way in 'reforming the Republican Party' the party will be relegated to the state of an irrelevant rump for at least eight years, or possibly longer. This was a close election. If you want to see what happens when radical conservatives are in control, roll back the clock to the 1964 election. Johnson was a moderate Democrat. Goldwater was a conservative Republican, but NOT a radical conservative. The fact is, American's have more sense than to embrace the shrill bleatings of a minority of radicals.

    November 9, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  16. KS2 Problema

    We've seen this cycle before.

    No matter what the tea leaves look like, conservatives always take away the same reading: the losing Republican was simply not conservative enough.

    This is the only interpretation permitted under what has become of the Republican right.

    November 9, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  17. Umesh Singh

    Why is it that when all the polls say the Republicans lost because the super-right candidates couldn't keep their mouths shut about "legitimate rape" and "God's will", the Tea Party folks read that as "Let's have MORE of that, please!"?

    November 9, 2012 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  18. Mark

    So, these Conservatives are saying Romney didn't get elected because he didn't make abortion a major issue or go harder to the right? I hope these people rise to control the GOP, because they will assure Democratic control of the White House for decades to come. If the GOP wants to survive as a national party, they need to become more inclusive of non-white people. You don't become inclusive by harping on abortion, religion, or social issues. You want to win the Evangelical vote? You lose most everyone else. Its time the GOP put these radicals out in the cold and actually become a national 21st century party. Otherwise, you just become a bunch of religious crazies yammering on about rape and fetuses. That's not a winner for the White House.

    November 9, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  19. CTheB

    Why are the Republicans so hell bent on obliterating what remains of the separation of church and state?

    November 9, 2012 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  20. Facepalm28

    If the Tea Party is able to, as they say, take over the Republican Party, it will set up the biggest Democratic landslide since LBJ vs. Goldwater, and for the exact same reasons.

    November 9, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  21. thomas tetreault

    As for the Tea Party-can we look forward to an Akin-McGourty ticket from them?
    You'd think the six or so Senate seats they cost the Thuglicans would be enough of a contribution.

    November 9, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  22. thomas tetreault

    Paul Ryan support Simpson-Bowles-fat chance.
    He's already voted against it.
    Paul Ryan was the worst VP pick since well Sara Palin.
    He completely switched the dynamic of the election from jobs and the economy to a focus on his obsessive desire to destroy Medicare and Social Security. A real loser for the Thuglicans.

    November 9, 2012 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  23. William

    The Tea Party was actually a huge success in local races. Their are more real conservative Governors now after this election cycle then ever before. The next Republican Presidential Candidate will be one of these people. The fact that the Republicans keep choosing these limp wristed rhino's to try and sway democrats into their voting block, I believe is what causes them to lose. The Tea Party candidates are also hated in the GOP and these People sold out on campaign promises. They lost because they didn't have the local support after they had a proven history of being typical politician. The Republican party also underfunded their campaigns. You have to remember their is a Left Wing and a Right Wing and they are both connected to a Globalist Banker Bird, who's destination is our destruction. Talk about the wings all you want people, don't watch the bird.

    November 9, 2012 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  24. MarkinFL

    If the Republicans allow a final and complete takeover by the Tea Party ( I really thought they already controlled it anyway), we'll just see a huge increase in independents and they will mostly vote Democrat or third party.
    The Tea Party has always over-estimated their own potential and is made up of exactly the sort of people that could spend years and years in denial while they are busy killing off their last real influence by marginalizing the GOP.

    November 9, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  25. Mark_in_FL

    If the Republicans allow a final and complete takeover by the Tea Party ( I really thought they already controlled it anyway), we'll just see a huge increase in independents and they will mostly vote Democrat or third party.
    The Tea Party has always over-estimated their own potential and is made up of exactly the sort of people that could spend years and years in denial while they are quickly losing their last real influence by marginalizing the GOP.

    November 9, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
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