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. Laverne

    Yea, just too bad you so called "conservatives" couldn't find the guts to voice your opinions and stand up to Dick Cheney and George Bush. You all are a bunch of spineless cowards!

    July 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Klow

    These people are absolutely crazy! They really have a problem with sticking to substantive issues. They would rather discuss things like how people are scared of Sarah Palin (who has absolutely no power, remember she and McCain lost), proposing legislation to force Obama to make a formal apology to Sergeant James Crowley, the birther's claiming Obama is an illegal alien, etc., etc. What next, Obama is really an alien from Mars and has his UFO secretly stashed away in Roswell, New Mexico. Maybe the Republicans should get their own house in order and then attempt to sell this ridiculous nonsense to the American people.

    July 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. R in Maine

    Vitter is just a piece of garbage. He thinks that he has the right to determine what health care other people have a right to. He is the cowardly form of an arrogant republican. The rank an file should take him out so that he does not permanently damage his party.

    July 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Ben Raskin

    David Vitter calling someone wishy-washy? This from a man who beds with hookers and is a part of the most corrupt and illicit group of quasi-religious (if you call the C Street philosophy of "Men of Power" religion and not fascism) is questionable at the very least. Perhaps Voinovich was a bit harsh in condemning "Southerners" – he should of said Ultra-right wing Republicans, they come from under rocks all around this country – not just the South, but his general point was dead on.

    The Republican party can continue down this path of ignorance and exclusion as long as they like. Just look at the dwindling number of people willing to call themselves Republican to see where this path will lead them. In a country becoming more pluralistic and diverse with each passing day, these racial/religio centric fools are doomed. The light of truth is beginning to shine more brightly on their ways and means – the American people will not accept this as a means to lead this country forward in the real world.

    July 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Regressive Party Refugee (former republican)

    Boy, it didn't take long to organize the circular firing squad. Woe betide the republican moderate who speaks their mind, even if he was right as rain that they are the ruin of the republican party.

    They benefited most from the republican creation and sponsorship of the culture war that beget their brand of religio-fascism that scares the crap out of any moderately thinking constituent. Ye sow what ye reap – that was Voinovich's main point. But of course, in true conservative fashion the right-wing nuts will divert attention from the main point with the time worn tactic of attacking with an out-of-context excerpt, in this case to portray him as perpetuating the caricature of the drawling Southerner.

    July 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Michael

    when did the term 'moderate' become bad? and can Sen. Vitter please detail his core values....because I know he moderated on the adultery one.

    July 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. bob

    Oh the hypocrisy. Vitter should have put a sock in it. He is not one to be talking from a position of moral latitude or credibility.

    Just goes to prove Voinovich's comment.

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Eric

    Conservative values...like "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran? Cheat on your wife while living in a Christian fellowship house? Lie about weapons of Mass destruction to make a profit for your industry buddies? Gut the economy? Invade our privacy

    What exactly are they conserving?

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. See what you're doing

    So tell us Mr. Vitter, just what are your "core conservative values"? Is it running up the debt under a Republican president? Is it trashing the Constitution in the name of security? Is it family values while committting acts that degrade same? Is it states rights unless it disagrees with you? Really, just what are conservative values?

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Steve Maciolek

    I love when life serves up a delicious curve ball of irony, as with Sen. Vitter claims of core conservative values. Considering his questionable values and perosnal indiscretions, him; of all people, should reconsider or as our President has suggested "re-calibrate" his words more carefully. Frequenting madam's and prostitutes does not constitute core-conservative values. (I don't think?)

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. ComicPro

    Cant say I don't agree witht he good Senator from Ohio. The GOP is scared to death of the ever changing face of America and I noticed during the national campaign last year the frightened, fear mongering rhetoric they aspoused. That is why Sarah "knucles" Palin is such a disease that no one wants to touch. She had her 15 minutes and even now is not smart enough to realize that 15 minutes is up. The GOP is an old antiquated version of the lonely woman who has lost her looks but is holding on for hope of a miracle. The fat lady is in deep bass right now. Game over.

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. eric

    yes, those core conservative values including extra-marital affairs.

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Renee

    Voinovich is right. We don't want the bible belt running the country.

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Tom

    So remind me:
    What exactly are "core conservative values," how are conservatives practicing them, and why are they good for anyone other than the very rich and/or the desires of the religious right?
    Sen. Vitter has sided with big energy companies and tax breaks for the wealthy, and has voted against energy assistance to the neediest homeowners in America and against funding for organizations in favor or birth control (not abortion, birth control, although he of course is anti-abortion in all of his votes) including voting against a bill to spend $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives....
    "Conservative values." Yeah, right.
    Very right.

    July 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Steph

    Good luck with that Vitter. Your party is getting smaller and smaller.

    July 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    George Voinovich is stating the problem that is quickly becoming evident for the GOP. Moderate Republicans in the Northeast, the American west and other parts of America outside of the South are getting shut out of the “Good Old-Boys Party”. Those who believe in compromise and discussion are getting blasted by those who scream, rant, and yell. Congratulations on becoming a marginalized regional party (McConnell’s words, not mine).

    July 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Kevin in Ohio

    Thankfully, Voinovich is on his way out. Looking forward to a new, TRUE conservative, senator from Ohio next year.

    July 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Dan from Ohio

    Senator Vitter upholds those real conserative values like using call girls. Jimmy " I have sinned" Swaggert is probably his hero. Must be a "Southern Thing".

    July 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Jaz

    "Core conservative values?" Is that like "family values?" The ones that say you should not cheat on your spouse? Clearly, Vitter does not subscribe to those values. He is just another GOP hypocrite.

    July 29, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Allen Hussein

    With all the scandals in the Republican Party, being with a hooker wearing diapers shows that Vitter is right in the mainstream in holding "core conservative values."

    July 29, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Chris Baker, Tucson

    "I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values."

    Weren't family values supposed to be part of the core conservative values? If so, isn't it a bit hypocritical for an adulterer to say this?

    July 29, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Lisa P

    "Errrr, errrrr..." And so Vitter proved Voinovich's point. Thanks Senator Vitter! See you in the permanent minority!

    July 29, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Scott, Tucson

    Seems that the problem we have in Washington is too many lawyers in office.

    July 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Vicky from Milwaukee

    When did moderate become a dirty word?

    July 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. CF

    Only to the craziest, most mindless members of the GOP is the term "moderate" a bad thing. Enough with the extremism, GOP. Start caring about ALL Americans, not just those in your tiny personal bubbles.

    July 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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