As predicted, many of the more obtuse Republicans (okay, Tea Partiers) believe their Election Day losses are due to having a candidate who just wasn’t conservative enough. Some of them blame Karl Rove; others blame Republican leadership. They blame candidates who said stupid things about rape, but not the mentality that made them think that way in the first place.
In other words, it’s not them. It’s not their policies, their politics or their message. It’s just that it wasn’t delivered properly! Just keep telling yourself that, guys:
Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama on Tuesday unleashed predictable angst and debate in a Republican Party that must now decide how to attract a more diverse electorate.
But for conservatives who identify with the tea party, one emotion seemed to dominate all others: a white-hot anger at the Republican establishment. Tea party supporters are angry at the GOP for embracing as its presidential nominee a “moderate” like Romney. For undermining “true conservative” candidates. And for “choosing to ignore” the conservative agenda.
Wednesday, the political direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie gathered a group of disenchanted conservatives for a news conference in Washington. Calling Romney’s loss “the death rattle” of the GOP, Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said, “The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today.”
He called upon the Republican leadership to resign for its part in the “epic election failure of 2012.” That includes Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who has not announced whether he will run for the post again, House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
But he didn’t stop there.
“In any logical universe,” Viguerie said, “establishment Republican consultants such as Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie and Romney campaign senior advisors Stuart Stevens and Neil Newhouse would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again and no one would give a dime to their ineffective ‘super PACs.’”
Rove is a pioneer in the formation of the outside groups that raised more than $1 billion for the election. Gillespie, a Romney strategist, worked with Rove in the George W. Bush White House. Newhouse is the Romney pollster who famously said last summer, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
Viguerie’s attack didn’t sit well with many mainline Republicans, who blamed conservative “purists” and the tea party wing of the party for squandering the GOP’s chance to regain control of the Senate.
Friday, for instance, conservative columnist Michael Barone told an audience at Hillsdale College’s center in Washington that the tea party, while bringing some talented politicians to the fore, also brought some “wackos and weirdos and witches.”
In a video of his comments, posted on the Daily Caller website, he singled out the GOP’s losing Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana — Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock — who he said committed “unforced errors” with their remarks against abortion cases of rape. “Don’t nominate dogs, OK?,” he said.