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. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    Because if anyone has conservative values, it's Senator David "Escort Service" Vitter.

    July 29, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. CJ/PA

    What - sputter - what?? David Vitter talking about getting back to conservative family values??? Maybe he should move to C Street - – he'd fit right in! It's a shave so many of these hypocrites are from the South - gives The South a bad name!

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. kay

    Core conservative values??? Like.....frequenting a prostitute in New Orleans and being made happy while wearing a diaper? Who does he think HE'S Kidding. Does he have even the faintest glimmer of an idea of how ridiculous he sounds???

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Clint Lynnwood Wa.

    The whole GOP party is wishy-washy.

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. chelle

    See Vitter doesn't get it – Republicans didn't used to be ONLY socially conservative people. He is actually making Voinovich's point for him. If Republicans continue to see themselves as "you are socially conservative or NOT a Republican" they will fade away quickly to a regional party of the South with pockets spread hither and yon across the US. Such blindness and narrow-mindedness are simply staggering....

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. Mike Ft Collins , CO

    Voinovich was correct and Vitter of all people is not the spokesperson to challenge what was said.

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. just joe

    ...what was the name of that political party these guys were talking about?......was it called the "Do Nothings" or the "Know Nothings?"
    Thank God ( if it is still allowed), it they couldn't jaw about each other, there would be nothing else to talk about, now would there?

    Where is John Adams when we need him?

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Does the GOP really want Vitter out there talking about "values".......really?

    July 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Peoples Voice

    The South isn't called the bible belt for nothing. It's all the bible thumping, we are better than you and God is going to send you to Hell for disagreeing with us morons who are ruining the GOP.

    They need to get these disgusting people back into their churches and out of the halls of government.

    July 29, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. shucks

    I couldn't agree with Voinovich more. The southern right wing evangelicals are destroying an otherwise noble party. Also the fact that they don't live what they preach is as hypocritical as it gets.

    July 29, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Ronald Schwartz

    The south has more freedom then the rest of the country,especially when it comes to the second amendment . and gov interferance. I lived in Mich,born and raised in Ind. and I wouldn't travel to the east coast Wisc, Ill, or cal, because of there laws
    The republicans need to learn from the southern reps. Wash, and obama don't even have a clue to what American freedom is all about.

    July 29, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Karen

    I hold Senator Tom Coburn in very high regard. I'm sure he makes some of the other politicians uncomfortable as he holds their feet to the fire on excessive spending.

    July 29, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. Steve

    People are not doing their research. Other than Romney and McCain candidates were from the South and were Southern Baptists. McCain attended a Baptist Church in Arizona and Romney is a Mormon.
    Want to say now that the South is not in control of the Republican
    Party except the Republican Central Committee which seems have gone adrift in a different direction on its own.
    Don't think you can blame them for seizing contol except I do not think you can blame them for being tired of being used by the remainder of the Republican Party in the North and West for 40 years.

    July 29, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Owen

    I have no problem with what Voinovich said, save for the regionalization of it. The staunch conservative Senators all happen to be southern and western, but that doesn't mean people from those areas are that way. Only 50.1% need to be to elect these guys.

    The larger problem is that Congress as a whole seems more interested in serving the needs of their big money donors than their constituents.

    July 29, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Rob Johnson

    It's amazing to me that so many Republicans actually believe the fairy tale that the reason they lost so badly in 2008 is because they weren't conservative ENOUGH.

    If they want to base their game plan on that faulty assumption, they are welcome to do so. However, I have a hunch that 8 years of GOP incompetence in the White House was the real reason they got slammed last year.

    July 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Stuart L. Riley

    What values is Vitter talking about?

    The Republican party has not yet understood that they lost the last election because Americans switched from voting according to their "values" to voting the value of their 401Ks.

    (To be fair, we're also watching the Dems to make sure they tow the line.)

    But, the Reps just keep hanging on to fringe issues that don't matter much to those who are unemployed, uninsured, or just too underpaid to afford the same life-style these politicos have become accustomed to.

    Glad to hear some level-headed Reps trying regain some sense in the party. I hope Voinovich and those like him keep pushing to make the changes necessary to make the party great again.

    July 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. James, Ho. TX

    Sen. Voinovich, don't look now but your "Conservative Values" are showing. It's been 4 yrs since "CATRINA" with no improvement near, from You nor G.W. and all the G.O.P. Cronies. But, You haven't missed a PayCheck yet ! Is that right Cousin?

    July 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. jmg

    Yeah Dave, I suppose those values include cheating on your wife with a prostitute. I bet you also supported GWB while he increased the size of givernment more than LBJ too. What a hypocrite.

    July 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Jimmy Carter

    Some of my best friends are Southerners.

    July 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Napoleon Complex

    Glad to see the Republican further marginalizing themselves. Apparently they still don't realize that their predecessors lost the Civil War 150 years ago and that Americans are tired of be held back by their antiquated way of thinking. The more they reveal themselves as the successors of secessionists and segregationists, the less support they’re receive in the years ahead. But, I hope they keep it up because America is much better off without them in power.

    July 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. CK

    I dislike the the right wingers like Vitter, I am proud to be a moderate Republican, at least I am willing to work across the aisle and get things done! Guess Sen. VItter isn't one who is "wishy-washy" when it comes to making up his mind, espcially when it comes to cheating on his wife. Hope you lose next time Sen. Vitter, I'd rather a moderate in your place!

    July 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Angie in Pa

    So according to this far right nut Moderates are WISHY-WASHY Then they wonder why they cant get the North East or Mid Atlantic most of those people are Wishy Washy moderates what a Joke!

    July 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. dave

    If getting back to core conservative values is really what your about, why have we not heard from you on the conduct of other republicans who stray.?
    Why not public outcry and ask them to resign their republican positions
    If the best you folks can do is have Rush as your spokesman and Palin as a canidate , and who was the senitor who messed around with the helps wife? Oh yea you republicans are the truely christian people.
    Instead of being a spokesman for one religion ,try being supportave of all the people.
    Just keep up with what your doing during the next election, you will be a smaller minority.

    July 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Bill, Bloominton IL

    To Voinovich: Good Bye and thanks for playing. Maybe you could be the next Arlen Spector. Since you dont like southerners, (I am from Illinois) you call pal around with the smart people from the north. Maybe Palin and Gingrich?

    July 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. sean

    "I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values," Vitter told the Washington Times.. and that includes a prostitute or two, right? These guys are so full of it. Vitter has no validity, he should have resigned.

    July 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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