July 29th, 2009
02:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Vitter defends Southern influence in GOP, slams Voinovich

Vitter fired back at Voinovich Wednesday.
Vitter fired back at Voinovich Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana slammed fellow Republican George Voinovich Wednesday for saying the GOP's problems stem from the fact that it is "being taken over by Southerners," calling the Ohio senator "a moderate, really wishy-washy."

"I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values," Vitter told the Washington Times. "There are a lot of us from the South who hold those values, which I think the party is supposed to be about. We strayed from them in the past few years, and that's why we performed so badly in the national elections."

"[Voinovich is…] a moderate, really wishy-washy," he said.

Voinovich, who has decided not to run for re-election next year, told a newspaper in his home state that Southern dominance of the GOP was hurting the party elsewhere.

"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 . . .' People hear them and say, 'These people, they're Southerners,'" he said. "The party's being taken over by Southerners. What the hell have they got to do with Ohio?"

DeMint and Coburn are both major critics of President Obama's health care reform plan. DeMint has emerged as a top target for Democrats, who have launched ads attacking the South Carolina senator for saying the defeat of the proposal would "break" the president.


Filed under: David Vitter • George Voinovich
soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. Dan

    Is sticking your 'lil' Vitter inside a prostitute part of "conservatives getting back to conservative values." You're a shameful little boy David.

    July 29, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. irwin

    It's about time a Republican 'broke ranks'. They've been showing they're out of touch, so Voinovich is a breath of fresh air. We need a progressive party to counter the Dems and, while I don't see the Repubs getting there soon, any retreat from its neanderthal policies, will be good for the country.

    July 29, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Tyrone in NYC

    NEWSFLASH: CNN goes off the air and off online for a weeklong period. People DO NOT miss it and are more than happy with the non-news stories that continually seem to be reported on there, including the non-sense BREAKING NEWS flashes.

    July 29, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Remember this is political speak. Southern conservative values = right wing religious extremism.

    July 29, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Fla.

    Yeah Vitter. And when you say, "conservative," you mean CONservative. Americans have already seen the so-called values exposed as hypocrisy. Give me a break.

    It is beyond comprehension how Vitter even retains his seat after admitting to illegal activity with a prostitute. These GOP standards are indeed wishy-washy in that quest for party "purity."

    July 29, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Change_Has_Begun

    this is exactly why the republican party is failing – they slam anyone with godd reasoning...

    July 29, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. AntiRush

    Voinovich is right. The Southern Conservatives only care about guns, religion, and abortion. They endorse any candidate who agrees with them on these issues (see Sarah Palin) whether or not the candidate is actually qualified to do the job. While the majority of Americans think that these issues are important, the majority of Americans are mostly concerned with 1) the economy, 2) the economy, and 3) the economy. Note the results of the recent Presidential election, and the issue that decided the outcome, the economy. Until the Republicans come up with some kind of ideas on how to make the economy better, besides tax cuts for the rich, they will be in trouble. It would also help if they stopped telling people how to conduct their personal lives.

    July 29, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. JonDie

    The problem is that Voinovich isn't a real "Christian" man like Vitter, Sanford or Ensign, Voinovich's never been caught with a prostitute or a lover.

    The GOP does have a problem with the South since the average IQ of southerners is much lower than that of the rest of the country, thus, the GOP always has to pander to people with limited mental abilities.

    July 29, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Kevin B

    Voinovich is right, the southern GOP caucus continous dogmatic, knee jerk negative reactions to any and everything that would benefit average americans is met with resistance for purely political reasons andwith no thought given to even thier own constituencies best interest .

    They have become the new dixiecrats, truely a relic of the past.

    July 29, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. John S

    I'm not sure that either Senator has it right but it does appear many of the more conservative fractions of the party also appear to be evangelical. These are typically based in the South and Southwest. Not saying there is anything wrong with this per se but the Eastern, midwestern conservatives draw a very fine line mixing politics and religion and this maybe something that conservatives will have come together on if they ever want to become anything more than a parochial party.

    July 29, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Zack

    It's just sickening and incredible that the republicans had no trouble giving Bush carte blanche in funding the illegal Iraq war, which has cost far more than health care reform would, and yet they will turn their backs on fellow Americans in need of health care reform now. Why is it they cannot come to a consensus that the American people deserve the quality of health care members of congress already get, that we, the tax payers pay for...Jeeessshhhh!

    July 29, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Kevin B

    Voinovich is right, the southern GOP caucus continous dogmatic, knee jerk negative reactions to any and everything that would benefit average americans is met with resistance for purely political reasons andwith no thought given to even thier own constituencies best interest . They have become the new dixiecrats.

    July 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Ron Martin

    The southeners hold the GOP hostage and you wind up with the Sara Palin's of the world leading the party and people think it is a joke.

    July 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Core Conservative Values

    Pretty quickly the GOP will be as pure as the John Birch Society - and about as politically powerless.

    July 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. John

    That is about the funniest thing I've heard in a while: Vitter thinks that Republicans have done badly in the past couple of elections because they're not conservative *enough*!

    Yeah, you guys keep getting *more* conservative – that'll help *rolling eyes*

    July 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. KP

    I guess this guy Vitter thinks "Dixie" is gonna rise again. These folks need to learn how to get along with the rest of the world and stop living in the past. "White is always right!" is no longer popular.

    July 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Suzan

    Republicans just might have to give up some of their core values........some of them are old and out dated........to many young new people in the country that don't believe in the Pro Life, or pushing the gays aside like they are not human beings, we are not begots or racists like most of the old GOP, people have had it with the religions of this country that is trying to run the Republican party trying to tell them what is right and what is wrong and then set back and watch these fools get caught in their own adultrous affairs.........this party needs new young life and young blood........The old GOP is DEAD

    July 29, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Josh

    "I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values"... I'm assuming Vitter is referring to values that relate to family and honesty and stuff like that... I'm glad Vitter thinks he's a paragon of "conservative values" because the rest of us aren't that dense.

    July 29, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Alan

    And this solidly identifies Vitter as part off the GOP's problems. Sorry, Vitter, the guy's right. And since he's leaving public office he can speak freely. I think I would believe him before I believe a word you said.

    The Republicans are clearly in ruins and frightened. There are already signs that a recovery isn't too far off and they're determined to make certain any way they can that it doesn't - just so they can get re-elected. When Rush said he hopes Obama fails, he meant it and was speaking for most of the GOP...but for different reasons.

    That's plenty of reason to make certain they aren't.

    July 29, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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