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
8 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. fernace

    There they go "doublingdown" again! They need to be More rigid & extreme!? Uh, Ok? We can't hear what the real conservatives are saying, because the T-Party drowns them out! It's time to realize it's not about "party politics & agendas" it's about us, the humans & animals who live here & about the nation & how we can improve everything: education, healthcare,economy, jobs, civil rights, communication, co-operation & compromise! Because it takes all of us to accomplish these goals! Even the T-Party has the freedom to express themselves....& we have the right to vote: No! Don't agree! The American way!!

    November 7, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Kayacafe

    "It should have been a landslide for Romney, had he embraced a truly conservative agenda," Huh? The Tea party truly is delusional. It would have been a landslide for Obama! What planet are you guys from?

    November 7, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. v_mag

    Yeah, that's it! All they had to do was nominate Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum! They would have gotten 99% of the vote!

    So, how do they explain that Akin and Mourdock, two of the most right-wing tea-bagging nut jobs around got wiped out? How do they explain that their poster boy West in Florida went down? Was that Romney's fault? The teabag thing is pretty soggy now. The tea is very cold. Warmed-over tea is not gonna sell, either. How do they explain that Alan Grayson, a rabid progressive, beat his teabag opponent by 25 points?

    We know these folks don't believe in or understand science or math. This finger pointing is proof. They prefer to believe the earth is flat and that what America wants is more nitwit wing-nuts.

    November 7, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. The Unsub

    For once HATE lost!

    November 7, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Michael Nance

    If the Tea Party is so unhappy with the treatment they get from the Republican party why don't they just run their own candidate?

    November 7, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Grahame Rhodes

    Tea Party you are done...That's it because in four years your main base of support will all be dead from old age.

    November 7, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. The REAL Truth...

    The Tea Party originally had some good ideas. Then, like OWS then began to be infiltrated by those such as Failin Palin, Bachmann and the looney right who saw an opportunity to capitalize on it. Like OWS, these extremists caused it's demsie. The Teapugs should now go home and stay there. If the real conservatives in the GOP do not make that happen, then they can forget 2014, and blow off 2016 as well.

    November 7, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Eli

    My vote for Obama was not a vote against Romney, it was a vote against the Tea Party.

    November 7, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. v_mag

    Maybe a better explanation for the GOTP loss is that the Republican primary season was covered by the news media. Therefore, when Romney shook up the infamous Etch-a-Sketch, it didn't fool anybody. By that time, we had already seen these monkeys climbing all over each other to claim the highest point on the conservative compost pile. "I'm more of a right wing, self-serving tool of the rich than you are!" No amount of "compassionate conservative" claptrap could obscure what everybody knew about these guys from months of campaigning.

    November 7, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Bluejay

    Is good news the Tea Party will take over, then it will be easy for the democrats to win again! there is no way the independents are going to go for tea party ideology.

    November 7, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Curtis

    So, the Republicans failed to win the Presidency....and the right wing nuts are crying that they weren't conservative ENOUGH? The ONLY reason why he came even close in the popular vote was because he moderated some of his hard core right wing views. What a bunch of idiots.

    November 7, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Jon

    The reason Romney lost is because he did not have enough support outside the conservative clique. He could not appeal to the broader public. Going more conservative will further polarize the party from most of America. Don't these people understand not everyone thinks like them???

    November 7, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. grafzeps

    Dear Tea Baggers – I beg you, I plead with you, I implore you to take over the GOP. You folks it right and I hope you will continue to stand up for your crazy and irrational principals.. Who knows, maybe in two years you can help the Democrates win back the house? Unfortunately I fear that your two years of rash. fierce blaze of riot is over and you will slowiy melt back into historical footnotes.. Too bad, it's been fun watching you rant and rave while gnashing your teeth and pounding your brests. Turn off the lights, your party is over.

    November 7, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. IndianaProf

    Speaking as a Hoosier who watched the implosion of the Tea Party's candidate Mourdock. I am one of the Hoosiers who would constantly vote for Richard Lugar, because he was a man whom I trusted would do the best for the country and our state. As a former volunteer for both Lugar and Donnally, I was not sure who I would vote for in the election. Mourdock solved that problem for me. If the Republican Party wants to get any more conservative, I think majority of the voting population will come to the same conclusion I did.

    November 7, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. JohnW

    Perhaps they'll never learn. McCain was a moderate that kowtowed to the far right and he lost. Ditto Mitt. The only reason it's close is BECAUSE they're moderate. The more conservative a candidate they put out there, the more they'll lose by. Most of America does not think like these people.

    November 7, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Linda

    You lost because this country is getting more and more tired of the mean-spirited, narrow-minded, not grounded in reality ideas of your party. You are a dying breed, deal with it.

    November 7, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. BLKMANinAmerica

    OK I'm confused.................so it's not like the sorry repuks had a convention in August to pick the persons to run for President and VP.......so why on earth did they pick robo-Romney and now cry about a bold-faced LIER lossing the election? Please the repuks really have too many issues to ever be consider any type of 'leader' America needs and requires. They (repuks) are stuck on STUPID!

    November 7, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    Oh Yeah.... the circular firing squad. Shhhh, I love this part!

    November 7, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. JDMArkansas

    Does this make ANY sense at all to anyone?? These right-wing nutjobs really seem to think that the majority of voters in the country voted for Barack Obama because Romney wasn't conservative ENOUGH??? This is like someone adding a cup of sugar to their glass of Coca-cola because it is too sweet! In what Bizarro world does this make sense?

    November 7, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. B.

    They need to point their finger at themselves because they alone supported a fool to run and most Republicans knew that in the beginning!

    Why would anyone believe Romney really wanted to lead half of the country?
    He had nothing but Contempt for the other half!

    Romney is all about Money and power, Obama is all about helping People. That is why Romney LOST!

    November 7, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. FLIndpendent

    Guess these Tea Partiers didn't learn a thing when their candidates lost one by one in the primary. The only reason that Mitt got so close was that in the end he turned into the white Obama!! However, let them keep on with their blind ideology as that will keep the Dems in power for years to come!!!!

    November 7, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Bobby

    Please, PLEASE nominate a Tea Party conservative four years from now, Republican Party. It's harder to win an election after eight years of a particular party, and nominating a fundamentalist would ensure a landslide for the Democratic candidate.

    November 8, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  23. antilunatic

    What lunacy. So people who voted for Obama, a liberal, would have voted for Romney if he had been even more right wing? How does that make sense? There's that great Repubelicker logic again.

    November 8, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  24. gfc

    Jenny Beth and you other delusional tea-party bubble dwellers, are you reading these comments?

    November 8, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  25. Indiana Voter

    I as a conservative point my finger to all liberals. There are too many liberals in America and that is what will bring America to it's knees eventually. Liberals don't believe that of course, but all you have to do is look what happened overseas to other countries with liberal policies and see that they are all going bankrupt.

    November 8, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
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