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. Joe Doctor, Austin

    Back to their "core conservative values"? That (and a bunch of sex scandals) is why they lost in the last election. It has nothing to do with them straying more center. The farther from the center they slide, the fewer people will vote for them.

    Shame is that they are more loyal to "The GOP" than they are to their fellow Americans. Southerners do have core values, but they're also pragmatic enough to row away from the rocks.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. dave johnson

    When you're ready to retire "down south", Sen. Voinovich, be sure to put out a press release so we (take your pick; southerners, rednecks, crackers, etc) can be sure to hold a welcoming party for you!

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Respect

    Reagan, Bush 1 & 2 left the country in the largest recorded debts ever. We don't need their type of fiscal responsibility.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Zero.

    Seems like more Socialism at work....

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Bev

    Bill Clinton was from Arkansas. Jimmy Carter was from Georgia. The North versus South bit is old. People who criticize the south have never been there. Cost of living is low. People are friendly, nice, and get along. Quality of life is high. All races get along equally without all the political nonsense. I've lived in the north, south, east, west and overseas....the south is hands down the nicest place I've been.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Realistic

    Core conservative values? What are they? The problem is that the republicans always talk about conservative values and how they need to get back to those values. They talk and talk about it when they are out of power and trying to regain power but once they get in power, they get amnesia and forget all about conservative values and fiscal restraint. They will say and promise anything to get into power and once they get the power, they go back to their old way, give to the rich and take from the poor.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. mrut

    David Vitter's "core conservative values" include cheating on his wife with prostitutes. Hypocrisy seems to be another "core conservative value."

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. George L

    I am hoping the Republicans continue to coalesce in the south. At least we will know where they all are. The south and that party deserve each other. Southern superstition and hypocrisy are perfect for the Grand No Party. No gays. No minorities. No immigrants. No religious tolerance. No power.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Barbara

    Democrats don't need to go on the attack to further weaken the Republican brand. They're doing it to each other! All we need do is sit back and watch the last gasps of the party.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Hannah

    I am surprised that David Vitter could pry himself away from hookers long enough to make these inane comments. So I guess if George Voinovich espoused Family Values, Christianity, and "traditional" marriage while patronizing a prostitution ring, that would serve to make him less "wishy-washy"? Seriously, this guy could not be more irrelevant.

    July 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Bob

    I guess those conservative "core values" include frequenting prostitutes. Vitter is just another shameless moron.

    July 29, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Frank

    "I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values," Vitter told the Washington Times.

    Would those core conservative values include marital fidelity?

    July 29, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Chris from NY

    Which values is he talking about? The same God that said thou shall not commit adultery also said thou shall look at a woman lustfully. The God that said thou shall not kill also said thou shall not hate thy brother. Which values do you hold Mr. Vitter that is all that different from American value which preaches to love thy neighbour as thyself? You pontifcating freak.

    July 29, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Coming from the South and being a white Moderate.....I can not think of any Republican Sen who can represent the Southern GOP better than Vitter. His outstanding family values that have been slightly compromised by expensive call girls(HOOKERS) depicts the many hypocrites that call themslves Republicans and Christians down here. NOT ALL Southern Conservatives are of the same mold.....but unfortunately Vitter and the rest of the Southern GOP have been elected as the spokes persons of the NEW ????? South. Just as the DEMs have liberal nuts cases the Republicans have the Ultra Right. It is just that there are so many concentrated in one Georapic area.

    July 29, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Gill

    Everything is hurting the republican party. Mostly getting the reputation of the Party of "NO!"

    July 29, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Vince

    The republican party continues to infight and fracture, insuring their dwindling irrelevance.
    Here's my prediction. The fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats will fracture off, drawing in those Republicans that are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, as well as a chunk of the moderates. The remaining Democratic party will still be significant (equally so?) and will also draw in those moderates that don't see investment in the country as a bad thing. The Republican party will still exist, consisting primarily of the ultra-conservative Evangelical extreme-right wingers. They may steal some votes from the Blue Dogs, but nothing terribly significant. They will likely continue to hold a few seats in Congress (in some conservative districts) but will no longer have relevant Presidential candidates. It may even pave the way for some of the other minor parties to grab a couple of congressional seats. And thus, a departure from our two party system will be born!

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. roger

    So I suppose those core conservative values include being embroiled in a scandal involving a madam and brothel? Thanks Republicans for proving once again how stupid you are and that you have no footing on which to make an argument about anything involving values.

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. george from alaska

    the most ridiculous thing about the current republican party is the notion that if you aren't one then you are going straight to holy roller hell.

    i like my religion straight...not watered down, distorted & blasphemed by goose stepping republican lemmings who practically ran us all over the cliff. thank God the majority wised up and kicked them out on their rear end.

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Hugo

    He must be mistaken the errrrr, errrrr, uh speech pattern is already taken and dominated by President Obama! If yankee's don't like southerners, why have they moved to the south in droves and insisted on ruining our way of life? This guy Voinovich must be a racist targeting someone for their place of birth, think of what is next, what if they were black or hispanic, next thing you'll see is a Senator from New York that can't even master the english language, oh wait!

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. jake1969

    Vitter?? He's still around? Do those core conservative values include seeing prostitutes? I guess so...in case anyone forgot, this is the guy caught up in the DC Madame scandal.

    Funny, conservative hypocrisy continues...

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Richard

    "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."

    - I think they should stray from those "values" more often, they might do better in national elections.

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Kevin

    Yeah Vitter, lets get back to the good ole days of the Southern Hang'em High republicans. Those core values are discriminatory at best and brings to mind the likes of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Haley Barbour, Trent Lott, Good Old Governor Wallace "Segregation yesterday today and forever" Yeah come on with the Good Old Souther Republican perspective. We look forward to it.

    July 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Former Republican

    Does that mean "family values"? Or perhaps "Staying the course"?

    July 29, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. austin

    Hearing Vitter talk about values is hillarious – he obviously needs to spend som emore time with his prostitution connections.

    July 29, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. ETM

    Republicans have performed badly in recent years because of their ignorance and incompetence, neither of which is a core conservative value. Vitter is just another example of a right-wing demagogue who manipulates the fears and bigotries of poorly educated Southern whites to get into office.

    July 29, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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