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. jimranes

    Interesting article! When the Tea Party takes over the GOP in four years, they will become irrelevant to the rest of the country. It will be a one party system with fringe parties. If you belong to the lunatic fringe, it is irrational to believe that you can appeal to anyone but like minded individuals. Political extremism is inoperative.

    November 8, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  2. TBONE

    I say this was probally the most beautiful thing that happened on election night was the fact that for once the tea party and their nut case right wing agenda was put out to pasture. Let me rephrase it, probally the second national election that the majority turned out and voted for a good man. Obama might not be a perfect man by a long shot, but I give props and was proud to vote for a man that represents 21st Century America. If Romney would of gotten it, I would of gotten behind him, but I feel the people want something new and fresh and Obama represents that vision going forward. His speech alone on election night cemented that. The problem is deep rooted in the Republican party. What has made both parties successful is when either side goes Moderate and to the center. What happened was that Romney already too much history established along with the other candidates, that really none of the candidates including Ron Paul would qualify to be President. I just do not think GOP has many more chances and need to get their act together and join the program as they used to say in the military, or face extinction. God Bless America!!!

    November 8, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  3. shankar

    Sorry you guys lost. Next time stop tell lies. Don't associate with people like Rush,and stop insulting the poor. No sympathy .

    November 8, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  4. concerned

    The little exposure that I witnessed of the Tea Party (via Facebook, and a family member who unfriended me yesterday) it is filled with radical, hateful, Propaganda spreading citizens whom like to refer to themselves as "Conservative Christians" Yet some of the information being exchanged among "some" is quite frankly disgusting to the point that I am ready to report some of what I have seen, and believe it needs addressed by the FBI or Secret Service. When someone is on Public Forum speaking of ordering 3000 rounds of ammunition, encouraging other "tea partiy patriots" to contact him with "the plan" dressed in militia fatigues with no less than 5 automatic weapons strapped on him. UNFORTUNATELY, I did not get his name before my family member by marriage did her unfriending. I am sickened by the snapshot I have witnessed, I truly hope this behavior and ideology is NOT the basis of this branch "within" the arm of the Republican Party if it is, then those that are leaders within the Republican Party need to sever ties and distance themselves from this horrible example of representation.

    November 8, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  5. Rina

    Wow – you would think election night would have opened some eyes. They still "Just don't get it". But that's okay. Tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends – not for America! Keep on with your deluded thoughts and lack of vision. Because that is what keeps handing the elections to us democrats – and we love it!!!

    November 8, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  6. maglor

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

    If this happens, I hope the " Beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party" would break off, buy some friends from democrat side, and form a third party, because I trust those elites and establishment wing much more than the Tea Partiers.

    November 8, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. Centrist

    @Indiana Voter I'll ask you what I once asked my ex-best friend: What would you do with all the "Liberals"? I mean if they are the majority? You make it sound like they should be deported or exterminated or something. Maybe they need the "reprogramming" that Bachmann and her husband tried to to for homosexuals? Embrace the fact that your party is not as high and mighty as you'd like to think.

    November 8, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. quinLee

    It's understandable that folks become disappointed when their chosen candidate does not win. We pour a lot of emotion into our politics. But it’s unfortunate that so many folks were so misled and are now really stunned. The thing on the right was to blame the mainstream media, discount facts, and follow Rove and Fox off the cliff. They wanted to shot the messenger with bad news and hire a new one that would ride into town with only satisfying news. Meanwhile the country is moving on without them.

    November 8, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. g

    they remind me of a 1930 brown shirt party -and every one knows how that turned out

    November 8, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. Rina

    Concerned – I completely agree. We have some real right wing n u t s in our area. These people are nothing short of dangerous. And the republicans still don't get it – it's unreal how lost they are. But, they keep handing the democrats the elections – and I don't get that!

    November 8, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. I Could Have Been A Contendah

    It appears as if stupidity and rabid ideology are neighbors somewhere along the chain of DNA.

    November 8, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  12. Bill in Florida

    To Indiana Voter: WAKE UP! If you truly believe that liberals are in the majority in the US - and I don't agree with you - then that means that you and other conservatives are OUT of the mainstream. Don't blame us for being in the majority!!!!!!

    The GOP needs to purge itself of all the ultra-rightwing lunatics from the Tea Party. This is the 21st century! A party platform based on restricting abortion and alienating immigrants will get you NOWHERE! Become an inclusive, "big-tent" party again and you'll start winning elections again. Stick with lunatics like Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Sharon Angle, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Donald Trump and you'll keep losing elections!

    November 8, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. Thomas Geofferson

    Indiana Voter – you do understand that the US is (nominally) a democracy, right? Saying, "There are too many Liberals..." may be how you feel. But the fact that there are too many liberals, in your opininon, just means that you have elected to be in the minority, as a conservative. Now that the electorate has spoken, we all have a Moral obligation (no matter which side we were aligned with) to support the elected government. Otherwise, democracy fails.

    November 8, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  14. dagooz

    The GOP is the conservative party in a country that is growing more liberal by the day and their answer to getting blown out in an election that they should have easily won is to be more conservative. What it really needs to do.
    Get rid of the RINO garbage. You need all the votes you can get, I'm sure it makes you feel wonderful to be in the party of purity, but it's loses you elections.
    Go for the Hispanic vote. They're the one group in the Dem coalition that you can pick off. There seems to be a divide between the black and Latino cultures, your divide and conquer tactics will work.
    Drop trickle down economics. It's been tried and the only thing that trickled down was urine. It's a loser with the majorities.
    Push legalization of pot. Sounds odd, but you put Obama and the Dems in the position of having to defend something that's very unpopular. Use the fiscal argument, costs too much to enforce and look how much money we can get from sales taxes to fund schools and other good things.
    I say all this secure in the knowledge they won't. Just listen to the Tea Party folks, what they're saying is they lost the election because they weren't wacko enough...

    November 8, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  15. chill

    Pleae, please, please Republicans. Do nominate a purist conservative next time so he can get his butt whipped good and proper and the party can get back to its roots, where they present conservative, market-based solutions to the country's problems instead of sticking their head in the sand and praying to their true god- Capitalism

    November 8, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  16. pgh

    I have to laugh when the Tea Partier quoted above is disappointed because they got a 'moderate' candidate instead of a far right wing extremist. Wake up-- The GOP lost because they alienated roughly 10 percent of the Repub voters who would've like to see alternatives like Ron Paul. The more far right extreme you guys get, you'll lose and alienate even more people in the next election. A moderate is PRECISELY what you need to win!!!

    November 8, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  17. Evangenital

    The Tea Party gets crazier by the second. The best guy running for the republican nomination was Huntsman and he was at 0% during the primaries.

    November 8, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  18. jkoberg

    So the Tea Party believes that they need to run a candidate that is even farther to right and with that they will win? Wow are the Democrats in for a long reign. Face it the Tea Party can win their little territories in the Bible Belt and will be able to send Reps to the House. But there ideology will forever prevent the wining of Senate seats and the Presidency (see Missouri and Indiana in the Senate and Ohio, Pa, Wisc in the Presidency).

    November 8, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  19. USAF Vet

    Is this story from the Onion or something? They want the GOP to move to the extreme right? This last election didn't show them anything? Start running a Tea Party candidate in national elections and see what happens! You will siphon away maybe 10% of the Republican vote (a boon to Democrats), but hey! At least you have your principles and won't have to sell out to the Republican Party!

    November 8, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  20. pgh

    Incidentally, Romney's leadership of 'The Party of Rape' probably didn't help all that much with those of the fairer gender, even the conservative ones.

    November 8, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  21. Facts don't Lie

    come outside the right wing FoxNews bubble and perhaps you will see what the real world looks like. When things don't go your way it's always a some one has conspired against you, paranoia and stuff like polls are skewed and books are cooked. Right now you can bet there are some right wingers that say the election was FIXED. Give it a break..turn off Beck, Rush, Sarah, Dr Laura and Trump and see that you are about to be left behind if you don't.

    November 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  22. cocosegura

    The GOP is so blind that they think is about bringing some afro and Latinos... and that´s it... hahahaha

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

    And then, the GOP will be just a marginal southern party...

    November 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Tea Partiers are definitely the Neanderthals of evolution...a branch of the tree that led to extinction..oh wait!...they don't believe in evolution...so they can't even see it coming...delusional to the bitter, and hopefully rapid, end.

    November 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  24. lisajt

    concerned – Yes, please notify the FBI or Secret Service! I don't think it matters if you don't know the person's name. If they have your relative's name or the name of the FB page/group, I am sure they can find it. (Nothing on the internet is ever really gone.)

    November 8, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  25. bonester

    "Hand picked by beltway elites" She means the people that wear shoes.l

    November 8, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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