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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/06/art.getty.voinovich.jpg caption="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. Matthew

    Boy I don't think us people of the south will ever be as smart as you Yankee liberals.

    Thank GOD, did I offend any of your Dem's by bringing up GOD that either daughter did not marry any liberal elite yankee. My son got his masters up north and he said he would have to come home to find a pretty classy girl – they don't them up there.

    July 28, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. James

    What's hilarious about this to me is how quickly history seems to have just evaporated. The GOP courted all the "Dixiexcrats" that were upset about the changing values of the country in the 50s and 60s. That includes racial and gender issues. The GOP excitedly pushed into their relationship with the Christian Right, hoping to become THE party for all the god fearing, protestant christians out there...and they succeeded, too well. Now that they've invited all the extremists on board suddenly they're crying about their parties rhetoric scaring people away. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

    July 28, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. David

    As a white professional born and reared in the South, I am amazed daily how gullible many of my peers are. They believe without question anybody who closely verbalizes their inner fears.

    It is a shame the Southerners are being branded Republicans, however unfortunately, the Senators comments have merit.

    I usually vote Democratic with a few exceptions. I really cannot understand why the people who need the government's assistance AND receive it continually vote against their own interests.

    Totally a shame!

    July 28, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Stuck in the south

    I had to move to Alabama recently for my husband's job. It's much worse than I thought! There are many nice and thoughtful people here, but they are not the majority. Most people are bigots, racists, and religious fanatics. They also love their Confederate flag and still bemoan losing the Civil War.

    Are we on the verge of a new Civil War and the if we are, can we just let them go this time?

    July 28, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. wagon

    Sorta like the democrats being taken over by nut jobs from the west and northeast.

    July 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. The Unholy Trinity

    Senator Voinovich,

    This is to inform you that you are longer allowed a Republican. In fact, you never really were a true Republican.


    Dick Cheney, Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh.

    July 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. JS007

    Ha ha, finally some truth coming out of the GOP. The Southern sell-out politicians who use the bible, guns and/or racism to get elected and then push their corporate agenda have made the GOP largely irrelevant but continue to cause huge damage to America with their divisive politics, lies, fear-mogering and sabotage of any measure that benefits the lower and middle income folks, such as health care, banking reform, climate change mitigation, reducing dependence on dirty or foreign fuels, etc.

    They have also become almost impossible to unseat because they come from districts where a majority of people watch the Fox propaganda network, reject facts and science, and are brainwashed into only voting for Republicans, no matter how terrible of a job they do.

    July 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Ryan Indy

    The Double Standard is sickening. The same democrats that crying foul and whinning like little infants are the same people that bashed Bush and spewed hatred for Bush on a daily basis. These people can dish out but cant take it. Guess what DEMOCRATS we will treat YOUR president with the same Respect that you showed Bush. What comes around goes around and you were plenty happy to spout off daily how Bush did this or Bush did that so when we call Obama out for not only being a Complete Failure but a LIAR then Deal with it. Isnt Karma Great.....

    July 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. southern-born white boy Obama voter

    Way to perpetuate stereotypes. Nice...

    July 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Kelby In Houston, TX

    The Republican party was taken over by Southerners the day after Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964(?)
    There was a mass exodus of White Southern Racist Dixie Democrats to the Republican party. These were the original neo-cons. This guy from Ohio is late and does not know his history.
    Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    July 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. bruinsguy02125

    I couldn't agree more!

    The Republican Party has lost its way due in great part to Southern Bible thumpers who have commandeered the party during the last decade. The Republican Party was founded in Massachusetts to counter the right-wing ambitions of the southern Democrats who favored social engineering via slavery and other unsavory acts. The Republicans need to garner support of fiscally conservative / socially libertarian folks in New England, the Northeast and other parts of the country if they are going to survive as a party.

    July 28, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Jon

    All of you people screaming "Southern Hospitality!"... Its been dead for a long time.

    Where was that hospitality, generosity, and understanding for the black people of America that you have discriminated against both past and present?

    You are ALL a bunch of hypocrites, the only hospitality you show is towards people who share your screwed up views of the world.

    July 28, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Ted Tartaglia

    Southern state Republicans are mostly Bible-thumping, hypocritical, religious zealot who object to anyone who doesn't think like them. If the Republican party continues to let the religious wingnuts define the party, their days are numbered. That might be a good thing.

    July 28, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. David H

    Perhaps because we in the South are the last remains of people who can actually think for themselves, and not have to have some crackpot group doing the politically correct thinking for us. Enjoy your retirement, Mr Voinovich. You leave the country in much, much worse condition than you found it in when you began your career.

    July 28, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Zach K

    The southern states would be better off with Democrats for Congress.
    In fact, Arkansas is the only southern state with Two Democratic Senators. Voinovich is absolutely right, as people like Jindal, Sanford, and Perry are making their states look like a laughing stock.

    July 28, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    "Jim DeMint is one of the few who sound as if they have any sense."
    Really Howie? Nothing says patriot (Demint) more than voting against the sitting President just because you want him to fail or the "healthcare will be his Waterlook and he is done". Don't you repugs get it? If the President fails we all fail as a Nation.
    Repugs in Crongress, and their constituents, need to get over the fact that an African American man was voted our President and that if the ship sinks we all drown.
    How dumb can y'all be. (Wanted to throw in the southern touch).

    July 28, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Rick

    You hearing about these 2 parties....One is not happy with the other, Then the members within the party blaming the others for this and that.
    I'm sick of these 2 parties...How about dumping all of them for one party...the "We The People" Party.

    We need to drop the PARTY interests and start pushing the peoples interests!
    Thank You

    July 28, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Edgar

    I'm from Texas and have lived in Texas all my life. While it is true that Southerners are some of the most kind folk around, it does seem that there is a litmus test before you can become a Republican candidate in the South. You have to call everyone who is not a Republican a liberal commie, denigrate any progressive ideas as being Yankee foolishness, and accept what your pastor tells you as infallible. Unfortunately, the people who represent the South in the national stage are only reinforcing all stereotypes everyone (Northerners and all others included) believe.

    July 28, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Obama 2.0

    The GOP is being taken over by the black hole in space, the same one that took the WIG party

    July 28, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Carol from Pennsylvania

    Right on Senator Voinovich! I left the Republican Party because of the hate-based attitude of some Republicans.

    July 28, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Norts

    Where are Sen. Ensign, Rep. Foley, Sen. Vitter and Gov. Sanford from again?

    July 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Norman

    GOP has turned into a bunch of good ol' hood wearin southern racists.
    They can't stand a black man being our president.

    July 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. JSRagman

    I was born in Texas but raised in Oklahoma but eventually moved back to Texas where I graduated from college. I have been living in Chicago for twenty years and whenever I am back where I grew up, I am astounded at the narrow-minded, uninformed populace. As incredible as it may seem, most of them would have voted for Bush Jr for a third term if possible.

    July 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. James, Houston, TX

    Thanks, Cecilia. While I love the Daily Show (as an example) it is a pain to be living in a place considered to be backward by a lot of people who have probably never been here. Gov Perry and W don't represent my views at all but this isn't a bad place to live, even though they make us easy targets for the jokers.

    You know, we've got the arts (really – we do), NASA, UT, Rice, the best cancer center in the world, a cost of living that makes sense. And we're considered smart enough to make left hand turns (Okay – that's a joke – I like New Jersey 🙂 ).

    July 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. lloyd roberts, jamaica ny

    This senator is so right. I've benn saying for years that the party got southernized by people who used to be dixiecrats and have entirely missed the conservative mantra of small, limited government and a champion of personal freedoms. The bible belt mentality has destroyed the party of my parents and the party that I identified with most of my voting life. The southernization of the party with it's vast hypocrisy has caused me to bolt. The party should be named the bible party or the religion party, surely not true conservatives

    July 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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