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.

Read more on American Morning's blog

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Gus

    So many of these posts reinforce the point that Inglis was trying make. They are divisive and disrespectful. Every issue has multiple points of view and a healthy democracy is dependent on give and take and a fair and respectful exchange of ideas. That's why people like Ted Kennedy and John McCain could be friends – even though they fundamentally disagreed on a variety topics. Everybody sharing the exact same point of view and positioning anyone with different ideas as the enemy is the definition of a dictatorship or totalitarianism.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    i didn't follow his campaign. What he says in the article is good but is he only saying it out loud now that he's not running? It would be interesting to see what his voting record is...

    September 21, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Corwin

    How can it be a suprise to these people that the nutjobs have seized control of their party? Their platform is "We will abandon anyone who is down and supporting our country means allowing those in safety nets to expire to further the bizzare desires of the already ultra-wealthy. On food stamps? jToo bad...your family should starve. Old or disabled and dependant on Social Security? Great we can just let you expire too and save some bucks for our supporters on Wall St. to hoard and spend dipping their balls in gold. Part of a Union? Black? Mexican? Asian? Muslim? Too bad we have to get rid of you so we can make our rich friends even richer. This is seriously the platform half of America supports?

    September 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jilli

    Mr. Inglis is spot on, it's just a shame that he's taken too long to speak up. Much like Mr. Voinovich. In the republican party, the adults have left the room, and the inmates are running the asylum. Adults are capable of discussion, negotiation and debate to resolve problems, todays republicans rely on the schoolyard tactic of taking their toys and going home when they don't get things their way. That's not effective leadership, it's juvenile and counterproductive. Results matter.

    Current republican/tea party tactics may bring short term gains, but in national elections, it's a losing strategy. Bitter, ugly and angry gets old really quick. I think the majority of Americans prefer optimism and moving forward over the bitter ugliness and promises of regression we've been seeing from the right. And, like I said, results matter.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Corwin

    Why doesn't the Republican party just admit that what they really want is to turn America into a third world country exactly like Mexico where there are a few ultra wealthy in control and the rest of the population exist only as cheap labor and entertainment for their use/abuse? It's pretty obvious that they won't be happy until that's where we are.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    Add my name to the list of those Republicans - conservative Republicans - who shake our heads at where the party is going. We need leaders who are willing to talk rationally about the issues (both with us and with the "other side") not shouters and name-callers who appeal to the worst in us.

    The next few elections are shaping up to be difficult ones for me and a number of others. I disagree with many of the positions taken by the Democratic Party and I believe they will damage the economy and our national security. But I'd have trouble lending support to the new wave of Republican lightweights with not much to their credit except the ability to create and profit from divisions among us. I'm frankly not sure which will hurt the country most in the long run.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prophet

      Thank you, Eric, for your intelligent comment! I feel hopeful reading it, that perhaps others like you, exist. I was once a Republican, who is now a registered Independent. Voted in 2008, for Democrats. Why? Because they more closely resemble my values. Name calling, fear mongering, slandering our president, etc., is not the American way. We are headed down a very dangerous road when the Tea Party created and funded by the Koch brothers is gaining so much momentum. I realize,Eric, that you do not agree with Democrats, but sir, compared to what the GOP has become, I will vote Democrat every time. Thanks again for your comment.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Prophet

    What a shame it is to watch the SANE Republicans ousted in favor of the extremists! Believe me this will hurt the Republicans in the long run, because the majority of Americans, are not extreme........ we are MODERATES! We, Americans are sick and tired of the slander that has plagued our president. The 54% who voted for Barack Obama WILL BE voting in NOvember......... and the ones who will lose will be the Republicans. I can't help but wonder, what has happened to the GOP? The GOP has been taken over by the billionaire KOCH brothers! BEWARE AMERICA WHEN CORPORATIONS & BILLIONAIRES WANT TO BUY OUR ELECTIONS!

    September 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Robin in SC

    Inglis is one of the few good guys, even though I'd say he's conservative rather than left of center. He ran a clean campaign in SC and he lost to the TP'er whose campaign was wholly, surprise, to smear Inglis' voting record and slam him for every effort to actually accomplish something in DC. I know Bob and know his past politics. As an Independent, I can tell you he is a good man who says what he believes and's a shock...his actions actually match what he says. I appreciate his honesty and forthrightness. Once again, SC will get what it deserves if the TP candidate is elected – another political stooge.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prophet

      Thanks...... another sane comment! Your comment scares me, because the Tea Party which was created by and funded by the Koch brothers (look it up, its scary) all they want are candidates that can be used and manipulated. How sad that a good man like Inglis is tossed out in favor of some nut. I am a registered Independent, who will vote Democrat, can't have our Nation controlled by the Kochs nor by Corporations. By the people and for the people.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. svscnn

    One more "sensible" republican taken down by the rabid right.

    Too bad. He's the type we should WANT in Washington.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Prophet

    Mr. Inglis......... RUN as an Independent! ALL ousted GOP candidates should run as Independents and give people a choice!

    September 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CS

    Clean Republican? Sensible? Bob Inglis? Please – Bob Inglis was just another of those who, when the angry rhetoric was turned up, either said nothing to tamp it down, or silently smiled because of perceived political advantage. Nice try, but he's saying these things primarily because he became the fodder of those ideologues who he once thought were his allies.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ray

    There is a popular phrase among preachers and politicians. "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story." I am afraid too many hard working americans, who are finding their voices being heard less and less by government, are turning their attention to those who will say just about anything to get elected. The little liar in Delware is just one example. She just changed her stipes and followed the lines written for her, and stashed the money in her pockets under the table, and won.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. roccojohnson

    What I think is most significant and troubling about Sarah Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidates winning primaries, is that so many Republicans, and perhaps even some Independents and Democrats, are disillusioned and fed up to the extent that they would actually vote for these, in many cases, completely unqualified candidates. That's a disconcerting testament to what Americans think of their politics and politicians.

    Conservatives are sending out the signal that they want their party back. What the press identifies as "moderate" Republicans, conservatives would accuse of being liberal Republicans, or even Blue Dog Democrats. Conservatives have blamed RINOs for swallowing up the Party for the last ten years, or so, and now we're seeing them revolt—trying to regain party control by force.

    What's fascinating to me, is, that in the age of Washington as usual, change promised but not delivered, Tea Partiers are conveying that radical change is in the air. With mid-terms just several weeks away it's going to be very interesting to see if Tea Partiers and conservatives can create a new "Republican Revolution." We may well find ourselves in very strange and interesting times come November.

    September 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    You're right Dustin I'm the problem. So everyone can just blame me for the unemployment rate. Do liberals think just because they say something it's true? Does anyone in the country think we would be better off with 2 more years of progressive rule? I would love to hear the argument.

    September 22, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Lando

    Hey Mark, progressive is derived from the work progress whick means "grow, improve, move forward, advance etc..Is'nt it self explanatory???

    September 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3