July 28th, 2009
01:04 PM ET
5 years ago

Voinovich: The GOP's 'being taken over by Southerners'

Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich is not running for re-election.
Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich is not running for re-election.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who is not running for re-election next year, told a newspaper in his home state of Ohio yesterday that Southerners bore a good share of the blame for his party's lagging popularity.

"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Voinovich told the Columbus Dispatch Monday. "It's the Southerners….

"They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr,'" he said, according to the paper. "People hear them and say, 'These people, they're Southerners. The party's being taken over by Southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?'"

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint have been top targets for Democrats. Over the past few weeks, the Democratic National Committee has released spots slamming DeMint, including a tough ad that rips the senator for saying defeat of the administration's health care bill would "break" President Obama.


Filed under: George Voinovich
soundoff (293 Responses)
  1. RHM

    Great idea, Senator – alienate more people from the Republican Party!

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Tony

    You democrats kill me! Southerners are bigots, liars and thieves you say. Is that not bigotry in itself?? Quit throwing rocks morons...you live in a glass house!! The same rhetoric all of you spew about wayward republicans could be said of Kennedy, Clinton, Barney Frank, Hillary, Pelosi, Harry Reid...and on and on! I don't believe there is an upright, selfless, dignified politician in this entire country!! Prove me wrong and show me one. 90% or more are lawyers and tell me again how a lawyer can build legislation or make decisions around health care, space exploration, defense, education, etc. Thomas Jefferson said our government would be perfect if we over threw it every 7 years. He did not mean revolution...he meant term limits.

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. danny boy

    and we all know that there are no "southerners" anymore...all the northerners have been moving south for so long this guys point seems almost ignorant. Its hard to find a southern accent in the larger cities of the south these days. But then the north "is" superior...with its negative growth in some states...aging infrastructure and loss of jobs and higher taxes.
    Yep...we dastardly southerners have ruined the GOP. by the way...where was John McCain and Palin from again?

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Sharon Kitchen

    The good ol' boy system is in BIG trouble, so of course, hurting Rep.
    senators are going to say oof the wall things.

    If they EVER find a "descent" person, not related to C street....or tied in knots due to ethics............then
    maybe just maybe they may have a party.

    If not.............good night.

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. J. R.

    The book American Theocracy has a nice description on the "Southernization" of the GOP. There is much more to it than just race.

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Obamalism

    Should we recruit more Barney Franks or Pelosi's??? Yeah, didn't think so.

    Maybe the southern members should just keep their mouth shut and let Pelosi and the libtards ruin this country socially and economically??? I think not.

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. go back home

    Funny how all the folks from Ohio want to live in the South.

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. GOP = 21st century dodo

    The south has always been a cesspool of ignorance and hatred. The GOP base is concentrated there. Coincidence?

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Nancy Jordan

    What a strange comment from a supposedly educated, informed man! I suspect he has some form of dementia.

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. bojan

    You dems are what's wrong with this country. Poor, fat, lazy, liberals who voted for a animal who only wants to help people who don't work and who come from garbage. Don't be angry if he's chased out of office before 2010!

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Tom

    I'm sure Senator Voinovich is being quoted out of context, and he had some wise, pithy things to say, but based on what is quoted in the article, I would say he's just a sad, pathetic loser. It's not that the South has taken over the GOP, it's the religious right.

    When we elect our government based on a very narrow set of issues, we get a narrowly focused government that doesn't work very well outside its narrow area of interest/competence.

    July 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Bit

    I too, think that the Republican Party is being taken over by "southerners." Everytime they're on national TV it's "negative language." They don't like Sonia Sotomayor, they don't like Obama, they don't like the health plan (because they are afraid it will work), and frankly, I don't like them and I'm from the south. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby are a disgrace to the people of Alabama except for the ones who thinks like them; which is also a shame. The other southern Senators like Graham and DeMint are also a shame to their states for obvious reasons. However you look at it in my view, these "southerns" have the same mentality from years past.

    July 28, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Eric R

    Don't forget that it is the people who vote these senators/representatives into their elected positions. The Dems have had better candidates than the GOP in certain areas of the country, and vice versus. Both the Republicans and Democrats have been putting crap on the ballots in my opinion, so it can be a catch-22 for the voters. But it seems the Dems have their act together much better as a party in whole. Voinovich's complaining only further emphasizes the sad state of the Republican party. If they want better representation, then give the voters something better to vote for. Simple as that.

    July 28, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Son of Strom

    I love it! I live in South Carolina and we definitely have one too many DeMints. The way things are going the GOP will soon be the party of the deep South, maybe 5-6 states, plus Alaska, Utah and Wyoming.

    July 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. jason hough

    Its not being from the south that is the problem its the rush limbaugh type rhetoric that is the problem, the mans been in office for 6 mnths the term last 4 years.

    July 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Esco

    I believe he has a point...to some degree it is discriminatory, but at the same time its true. The real reason i think the GOPs are lagging is because they don't have any plans for the future. They were completely thrown off the wagon and they are lost. People are picking up on everything they have done (nothing) over the years and its hitting hard. The biggest issue i believe is the moral mentality of some of the representatives...they are just cold hearted.

    July 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Rorschach

    Living in Texas – I read the opinion forums in the local newspaper online (Star-Telegram). It appears that most of the comments posted there are from Perry-Palinistas, birthers, far-right wing nutcases.... people who are having a hard time refraining from using the N-word to describe what they really feel.

    If that's any reflection of the true leanings of the South, then it's no surprise that the rest of the country is saying "Thanks, but no thanks" to the Republican Party. How's that "southern strategy" working out, Rove?

    July 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. frank

    Well it's about time that someone spoke the truth. This pulpit being used by right wingers that still live in the dark ages gives them far too much exposure. Of course this is a democracy so anyone can have their say. That is why it is important for everyone to get a good education.

    July 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. joel palmer

    How did the party of Lincoln ever sink so low as to nominate and elect George W Bush? How did it stoop to nominate McCain and Palin? How does it continue to countenance people like Palin, Jindal, Ensign, Sandford, Romney, Huckabee, Crist, Foley, Vitter, Craig, DeMint and Inhofe? What a despicable bunch of mental midgets

    No wonder the gop is augering into the ground; the sound you hear is Dwight Eisenhower doing 4500 rpm in his grave

    July 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Brian0901

    The south is conservative to the point of being extreme. They feel the country should be ruled by the Bible. I am not a spiritual person, I do push my beliefs on tohers and I expect the same in return.

    July 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. jeff jackson, alabama

    Senator, I'm a Republican and let me give you a
    wake -up call. THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN PARTY
    THANKS TO LACK OF LEADERSHIP BY POLITICIANS
    LIKE YOU AND THE WESTERN REPUBLICANS,
    THE NEW ENGLAND REPUBLICANS, AND THE
    SOUTHERN REPUBLICANS !!!
    Term limits are decades overdue !!!
    You have the audacity to lay blame ???
    YOU HELPED IN DESTROYING THE PARTY.....SIR !

    July 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Charles

    Authenticity is great. It's amazing what truths will be said when there's no upcoming election. You can see what they REALLY think.

    Southern Republicans are a cancer, though. For example, they're so paranoid of Mormons they wouldn't give Mitt Romney their support. Even though most Mormons have been die-hard Republicans for eons.

    July 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. mary

    Is this Ohio senator guilty of a little regional prejudice or simply accusing others of being so? Where are the PC police? Oh yeah, they only care if the bias goes toward the Left. I agree with Shawn, the fact that CNN bothered to even print the article is "a bit odd."

    July 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Walter Wilson

    The current popularity of the GOP has nothing to do with geography. It is simply that they represent the minority in this country and will remain that way...... it's simply a matter of political natural selection.

    July 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Brad - Ohio

    Voinovich is partly right, but it's really the Southern fundamentalists that drive the problems. Religion is a good thing, except when one religion is forced upon the citizens of a multi-cultural nation. Too many Bible thumpers (Sanford, Craig, Gingrich, Giuliani, Foley, Haggard and more) have been literally caught with their pants down as they preached "moral values" on the stump. Many on the left are imperfect, too, but I will vote for the HONEST scoundrel every time.

    July 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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