September 21st, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Inglis on losing to Tea Party, where GOP went wrong

Christine O'Donnell’s surprise win in Delaware is sending shock waves through the GOP. O’Donnell is just one of several Tea Party success stories, which some say is threatening the existence of the moderate republican.

Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, who lost his primary in June to a Tea Party candidate, is now speaking out against the Republican Party. Inglis spoke to CNN's John Roberts on "American Morning" about where things may have gone wrong for himself and the rest of the GOP.

Bob Inglis: I don't think we build our party by distraction and we don't serve our country by division. The key here to pull together as Americans and to build on truth, especially to build a conservative movement, a credible conservative movement, build it on truth.

The truth is that the president is not a Muslim. He's - he was born in America. And he is not a socialist. He is left of center, I’m right of center. And, in fact, he might say very right of center. But that's okay. We can have a debate about real facts. We don't need to [be]making up things because as time goes on, that gets embarrassing when you're found out to have built something on false information and on scapegoats rather than solutions. The customer turns away and says you've got nothing for me because you're not delivering a solution.

John Roberts: Congressman, during your election campaign or the primary campaign, rather, you resisted saying some of the more charged things about the president that your opponent was. Do you think that hurt you?

Bob Inglis: Oh, yeah. People wanted me to say - calling me a socialist every other day. But the ninth commandment should constrain us. Don't bear false witness against your neighbor. That's something that we are socialist conservatives should be evidencing in our campaigns. We don't go around saying those things because it's not true. It's also not true that he's a Muslim. It's not true that he wants to take over as a dictator. These things - we need to get rid of these things so we can build on credible, solid information. We do that, we can build a credible, conservative movement in this country that shows that free enterprise and family are the solutions we're looking for.

John Roberts: Congressman, what are your thoughts on Christine O’Donnell who is a conservative? She's the republican nominee in Delaware. Some establishment conservatives like Karl Rove are saying she says a lot of nutty things, she has a checkered past an she's not a candidate that's going to win for us.

Bob Inglis: Well, I’m concerned because, you know, the things that I read, I don't know her personally. I hope it works out, and that some of these things that are reported don't turn out to be correct. But I think it's, again, very important that we be credible. And have candidates that don't - don't run in front of the flame throwers. That's a reference earlier we've got these hot microphones that want to charge up the fearful crowd and have them run toward the cliff. And if we get leaders saying you don't know the half of it ...

John Roberts: Now, candidates like Christine O’Donnell hold the position that the Republican Party over the last decade has gotten way off track. And they're just trying to put it back on track.

Bob Inglis: Yeah. Well, I think that we surely did get off track in the years that we had the majority. And we didn't balance the budget. That's for sure. That's correct. But here's the thing, there's a structural deficit. It's Medicare, Medicaid, social security. At 60 percent of what we spend now rising to 90 percent in 2050, that's a structural challenge.

That's where America needs a solution. We don't need scapegoats, don't need to blame that on the president. It's not his fault. In fact, he's just been president for two years. This thing's been decades in coming. I've got enemies, Al Qaeda, Taliban, they're not the democrats, they're my country men. They're often wrong, but we can have a debate about how to get that done. We happen to believe as conservatives it's free enterprise that's going to fix that and reliance on family.

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soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Geoffreyf

    I don't know that I agree with all of Bob Inglis's policy views but finally – a clean Republican who stands up for truth. There are always different ways of seeing the same facts but leaders who stand by and benefit from lies should never be in office, no matter their policies or platform. Sadly, so many members of the Republican party have taken the cheapest route of negativity and slander. I'm glad Bob Inglis has integrity.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I agree. If more Republican's lately spoke like Inglis, then I think we would be back toward a working government vs an obstructional one. Problem is, you speak like Inglis and somehow you're seen as a traitor to the conservative ideals. Debate? Compromise! Work with the opposition to develop laws and policies that might actually be good for ALL Americans? Heresy! Weak Washington Insider Atheist Closet Democrat!

      September 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Denise I

    I watched this interview this morning, and I was stunned. Finally, a rational, honest Republican. I'm a Democrat and I do believe in a two party system. But both parties have to offer realistic, valuable choices on the ballot. The Republican party is failing to do so. I don't agree with Mr Inglis on the issues, but he is obviously a very good man! He is exactly the sort of person that we need in Washington today. The Tea Party voters are very busy destroying the country by electing people like O'Donnell.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      So let me get this right its people like O'Donnell who are destroying the country right now. Do I have that right? an unelected candidate that does not support the far left point of view. Does president Obama do and say the same things as candidate Obama did? There are plenty of moderate republicans to vote for this election season they are called democrats. Right now the "danger" to this country is the far left and everyone knows it. They are subserviant to unions and "community organizer" types, who do not have this country's economic stability at heart.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Prophet

      Denise, you are correct. Perhaps O'Donnell is not "destroying our country" ........yet......... but the extreme conservative agenda of the Tea Party/Koch-brothers, is downright.........scary! They want to take away healthcare from those who need it; do away with Social Security ......what will our grandparents do? They want to get rid of Medicare (Seniors need to know) and O'Donnell wants to bring HER VALUES to Congress......... and her values are nuts.
      Folks, IF you want candidates like the inept O'Donnell, Angel, Miller, Rand, etc., to represent YOU then vote GOP..... IF .........not GO VOTE DEMOCRAT!

      September 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dustin

      And Mark is a perfect example of the problem. Blame it all on the radical liberals who want the country to fail economically. That makes perfect sense.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Yenta

    Bob Inglis? I never heard of him, but thank you for posting this. I agree with you 100% and might even vote for you if I had the opportunity even though I am left of center.

    We need people with the skills to govern–on both sides of the aisle. The Tea Party folks are just interested in giving everyone else the finger. We will be in tough shape if these people every get control of Congress. By not speaking up, the Republicans have ceded their agenda into those doing all the shouting. And we do not even get into the subject of the Koch Brothers funding the Tea Party's extreme libertarian "Do not tread on me" agenda.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    Agreed. As a small business owner, people assume that I'm a Republican. While I agree with the GOP's theoretical focus on small government and responsible budgets, they haven't exactly been able to accomplish that when they've been in power. And can the GOP just drop the whole "family" plank? Are Dems and Independents anti-family? As a long-time Independent, I can say that whenever Republican spouts about "family", I'm hearing "I'm anti-gay" and "I want to shove my God down your throat".

    Bob Inglis is exactly the kind of guy the Republicans need more of, and they've just voted him out. Brilliant !

    September 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. americaprivat

    from here at the left of center, mr. inglis sounds rational and level headed. where have you guys-the ones we could have a conversation with-been? this is the first time the right has spoken out against the slander and I appreciate it.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. La Piovra

    Reasonable Republicans have either retired, like Chuck Hagel, or been driven out of the party, like Charlie Christ. They were actually "conservative" – moving slowly and carefully in any direction, in order not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Neocons, paleocons, and Teapartiers – let's not call them "conservatives", which makes them sound as Sunday-morning safe as the jam we put on our toast. Let's call them what they are: reactionaries, fascists, even, and the panicked lumpenproletariat they drive over cliffs not as "populists", but as so many lemmings. Maybe there is no right name for them yet, but there must be. Those who seek to be absolute rulers of a brainless, frenzied mob must be known for who they are.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Erin

    I probably don't agree with this guy on his social stances (i'm more left on that).. but I think that he is RATIONAL, HONEST, and probably very eager to lead twoards fiscal restraint.

    Too bad that the Right is so off of their rockers that they're voting guys like this OUT, and people like O'Donnell IN. That frankly says all you need to know about the current state of the Republican-Tea Party.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. beaumontgirl

    wow as an american and an african american that voted for obama, i am a true political junkie its what i look forward to everyday. Mr. Inglis has gained so much respect from me. I look for people to just be honest and not promote fear and hate towards anyone. this is the first time i have seen anyone from the republican party besides Collin Powell, say the truth about the President and without trying to cover it up. Why do we glorify putting down the man who was elected to lead this country dont people understand our enemies are laughing at us because we are so divided and what better way then to catch us off guard, the hatred towards our President is so scary it makes me as a 38 year old want to just cry because i thought somethings in life had turned corners but really it hasnt. it doesnt matter who's the president we should respect his office and not just talk about him like he is just anybody. i really appreciated what Mr. Inglis said and although we are on different sides of the political isle we can be civil and not spiteful. God Bless America......

    September 21, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Thinker

    The only way to get the republican party back on track is to keep them out of power. They are showing me nothing that would get me to vote for any of them.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Yes, they are becoming more like Democrats everyday.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Charlie

    The TEA party is right on many things. Unfortunately the TEA party represents a segment of Society that works, pays excessive taxes, and gets no government handouts. In essence, their votes have not been bought with tax payer dollars. Rest assured, those in the Democratic party who support the democrats are getting their fair share of kickbacks.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      Since most of them seem to be retirement age or older your description doesn't ring true. What they seem to be is a mob that has been whipped up to a frenzy by the lies pointed out by Mr. Inglis. The real problems in America have been a long time coming but not one of these tea partiers seems to have any memory of anything that pre-dates the election of President Obama and that just makes no rational sense to me.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thersa

      The Tea Partiers are older than the general population and more likely to be receiving Social Security and Medicare than the average American. They were working during the last 30 years when taxes were not covering the expenses incurred by this government and had not troubling throwing their unpaid bills onto their children and grandchildren. This is truly the greediest generation. Taxes are at the lowest they've been in fifty years and still they whine. They will be revile by future generations and rightly so.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      funny. i am a democrat and supported the president and am not receiving a kick back. why not stick to facts and not generalizations? Tax rates are among the lowest they have been in decades for everyone -FACT. Conservatives have destroyed this economy with their tax cuts for the top 1% and their de-regulation of commodities markets and lack of desire to oversee anything happening on Wall Street – FACT. The GOP and Tea Party folks that are funded by corporate america have done nothing but say NO in order to lower the effecitveness of this President and Congress -FACT. want some more facts? you won't get them watching Fox News. Take off your tin foil hat and open your eyes.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Darth Squid Ink

    Too bad Bob Inglis didn't feel the urge to come clean about all this before he lost his primary. That's because he needed to endorse all the Tea Party nuttiness to win his primary. If he had, he would still be spouting their nonsense. There's absolutely zero integrity inherent in Rep. Inglis's comments to Roberts. He's out this election cycle and he's got to re-position himself toward some semblance of centrism in order to run again for the seat in 2012. And if the Tea Party is in firm control of the Republican Party at that point, Inglis will go right back to sand-bagging the President in the most repulsive ways possible. Rep. Inglis also shows in this interview that he has learned absolutely nothing about the GOP's disastrous policy choices over the last 30 years. The only thing he and his fellow wreckers know about economics is the need to be parsimonious with the truth when you're a Republican political leader.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ivan Bial

    Unfortunately he only took this tone because he lost to a nut case.
    Where was he a month ago? Standing shoulder to should with is kindred saying no to everything and being silent on nasty false rumors.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dub1045

    What this guy and others like him in the Republican Party and some on here do not get is that these were Primaries. Now it is Republican vs Democrat in the General. He should be pulling to get Republican Candidates elected. There is no longer according to the nominations, Tea Party Candidates and Republican Candidates. The fact that we have differing opinions in the Primaries is what they are for. Now get them elected as Republicans. We have had RINO congressmen and it has taken the Tea Party Movement to begin getting rid of some and getting others to vote as true Republicans.

    Inglis should reexamine his stay in Congress and try to understand why we didn't want him back as a Republican. Maybe in the future he will listen to those who vote.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Prophet

      Problem is Dub, that hate-lies-fear-and-division the strategy of the GOP/Teabaggers will get old fast. Inglis and other sane and moderate Republicans could not speak up (where was their freedom of speech?) because they would have been crucified at the altar of the Koch brothers who created and fund the Tea Party! Be careful....... America is not up for sale!

      September 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lovable liberal

    Bob Inglis is a conservative. But he's evidently not a wingnut wacko, so the Republicans don't want him any more.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. grumpy

    These are all wonderful things to say now - but where were Inglis and other GOPpers, who lost primary re-election bids and also making similar comments, for the past 18 months? Where were their voices when the lies about the President were being expounded by GOP leadership? Where were they in terms of conversation and compromise and doing things to make the country move forward rather than play obstructionist? And finally, where is the compromise now, while they are still in Congress and can make a difference?

    September 21, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
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