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. KyleIM

    I guess I can understand the knee-jerk reaction on this blog by many southerners to stand up to the Senator's comments. However, I don't think he's actually attempting to offend any individual southern residents. It's important to consider that the GOP leadership (heavily condensed in the south) represents the area of the country with the poorest education and the worst economy. It has a long troubled history of intolerance towards certain groups of people, and is disproportionately in need of healthcare reform. Yet despite all of this, the leaders from the south refuse to stay focused on real solutions to these problems. This may or may not have been his point, but as someone who has voted Dem & GOP and spent many years in the south, that's my interpretation.

    July 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Peggy Rolfes

    Someone should tell the good Senator that the war between the North and the South ended a long, long time ago.

    July 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. battles

    Great to hear from one Republican that the party has been taken over by one faction with an agenda outside main stream America.

    July 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. dominican mama 4 Obama

    My gawd, they are turning on themselves!! Were'nt these good ole' southerners the dirty cornerstone of your party? You know, the ones that 'yeehawed' their way into doing the things that y'all discussed behind closed doors? Now they are an embarrassment?

    Newsflash: these hillbilllys are pretty much all you've got left. Better take them to finishing school and polish them off a bit.

    July 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Bludgeon

    The good senator is a little late in figuring this out, don't you think? The redneck influence has long since taken over the country. Ignorance is in, intelligence is out. Bigotry is cool, tolerance is wimpy. The world was created in six days. If you don't wear a flag lapel pin you might be a traitor. A lot of people are sick to death of the Southern tail wagging the national dog. Eight years of the Texas politics (Bush, Delay, and company) has messed this country up big-time. Now, some of these so-called conservatives think that Sarah can pull the geographical center of the Republican Party all the way up to Minnesota. But Sarah's heart is as Southern, as Jeff Sessions'.

    July 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Gene

    The GOP is indeed becoming (or shrinking to) the SRR, the Southern religious right. Which bodes brilliantly for the Democratic Party. The Republicans, as befits their regional base, value beauty and born-agin' ness over brains, hence the Palin phenomenon (and she is drop-dead gorgeous). But the rest of the country wants three-digit IQ presidents. I predict Palin-Limbaugh as the GOP standard-bearers in 2012, to the delight of president Obama, the Democrats, Jon Stewart, his audience, and me.

    July 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Scott

    So all of you that say you agree think that an entire region is represented by 2 individuals? The republican's problems are a lot deeper than where the members are from. I have traveled the entire country and can tell you that stereotypes are never held true as a whole, in any region.

    July 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Jilli

    No kidding. The gop is nothing but a pack of bigoted old white southerners. They're in really deep – their irrelevance could last a generation. They're just not seeing the same America we're living in. Their primary governing philosophy – keep them poor and uneducated so they don't know we're screwing them blind. They earned every bit of their irrelevance.

    July 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Ray

    Well Governor/Senator, as a Proud Buckeye now living in Georgia I STILL believe in personal responsibility. So, I guess do many people from Ohio as well as the South. The big government programs that have appeared over the last 40/70 years haven't exactly been a boon to the country. Unemployment, now about 9.5 percent, maybe getting worse doesn't speak very well of the liberal point of view. If you don't understand what i'm talking about just look at California. But people voted for it so let the depression come. Maybe people will be a bit smarter the next time.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Bob

    I find it funny that many of the people who are so quick to bash Southerners are enamored with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

    No matter which way you try to slice it, the whole "gun-toting, Bible-thumping, conservative bigots" line is a disgusting, prejudiced stereotype. It's as damaging to Southern people as minstrel shows were to blacks.

    As a Southerner who fanicies himself as being, with regards to many issues, very liberal, I find such anti-Southern talk to be anti-progressive. What is ironic is that such speech comes from those who love to talk about themselves as if they are the open-minded, progressive type. The fact that we as a nation are willing to tolerate such blatant hypocricy is problematic.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Rob

    I'd take DeMint over Reid, Dodd, Shumer, Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin, Frank, Pelosi, Obama, ...basically any of the lib bobbleheads, any day of the week.

    At least a Southern Republican wouldn't spend the country into the ground chasing after failed social policies. He kooks, Obama's plan didn't work in the Soviet Union, and it sure as heck won't work here.

    2010 – Vote the Dems out of Congress
    2012 – Send the disgrace back to the south side of Chicago.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. brand

    so its ok for people to insult the CSA, the South but if a Dixie says anything we are always called racist while the South is always being discriminated against. As a fellow southerner living up in vile Yankee land I get tired of this yankee propaganda. Remember thats blacks are southerners too so insults to the south is insult to African Americans so this is pure racism. blacks are proud to be southerners to you know

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Desiree

    That was a nice discriminatory remark! Being from the South has nothing to do with any lagging that the GOP is going through and Voinovich shows his ignorance for making such a statement. I think he needs to clean up his own backyard before he starts pointing fingers to others. It's complete idiots like this are ruining our country!

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Shawn Davis

    hmmm, so only the republicans in the south backed 95% of Bush's plan and continue to oppose everything Obama is trying to do? I am not a Republican by any means, but it seems to me all this whining within the party has to be annoying. And then, you say they're bad congressmen b/c they're "southern". That's almost as bad as a racist joke. As a black man from the south, that ticks me off a little bit.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. ETM

    John G, we "all Yankees" are pretty happy with Obama. He is intelligent, reasonable, and tries to find common ground and bring people together.

    I don't know where in the South you live but the part that still complains about "Yankees" is usually the part that is most backwards in education, public policy, environmental reform and race relations and that sucks voraciously on the federal teat even while carping about federal intrusion.

    Don't be so quick to defend how you do things "down there." The South is one of the most dysfunctional places not only in the US but in the Western world.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Kevin in Atlanta

    I'm a lonely Democrat living in rural Georgia.......praying the rest of the country rejects the right-wing extremism of today's South.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Four and The Door

    Sour Grapes. Enjoy your retirement.

    July 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. Proud of it

    I am amazed that people who truly believe themselves to be intelligent say the cruel things they do. You must get that log out of your eye (and in some case I believe it to be logS). Why don't you people realize that we are all Americans and when you get right down to it we all believe in freedom and we all want what is good for all of America.

    We people in the south are actually proud to be Americans and in case you have never noticed most of our soldiers come from the south. We are also proud that God put us in the south and based on most of your comments it is easy to see why.
    Bless your hearts! You just don't know any better. I bet most of you have never been down here – usually the ones that do wander down here stay!!!

    July 28, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. joel palmer

    Voinovich speaks the truth and the gop will be th epoorer for his departure. The incrdeible shrinking gop will wind up being the party of people like Coburn, Inhofe, DeMint, Ensign, Jindal, McConnel Sandford, Palin and other assorted crazies who try to rule by dividing. Americans who are truly patriotic have other issues besides, religion, abortion, gun rights and hunting and fishing.

    Pretty soon the only red states will be Louisiana, Miississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Utah and Idaho and you can have em

    July 28, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. bozo the obama

    Senator Voinoivich, you have nothing to be proud of in your sordid career. Go whine to Collins and Snowe.

    July 28, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Darko

    Idiot... more identity politics please. If you're not conservative...you don't belong in the GOP. It's people like you that water down conservative ideals and let liberal policy rot this nation from the inside out.

    Also, southerners view the northern libtards with the same 'attitude' as they view us. We also don't draw the line between parties... if you're wrong...you're wrong.

    I'll follow the constitution and what our founders believed to the grave...call me all the names you want while you spew your quasi-progressive socialist propaganda.

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Ron

    Republicans are completely out of the main stream. They always sound mean and vindictive – which they are. The South needs to get with the present century viewpoint of things.

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Anonymous

    The southern GOP hates government. The less it does in their view, the better. It's good political rhetoric, but lousy when it comes to solving the nation's problems. Race is the basis for GOP electoral success in the South. That's it.

    Voters have figured that out.

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Since he's telling the truth I expect a full excoriation treatment from the Limbaugh/ Hannity wing and their mouthpiece Michael Steele. Thanks for your many years of dedicated service Senator but we are officially the party of No now and you have a track record of consorting with the enemy/Democrats.

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Todd

    Oh lets just say it like it is. First of all most of the racists don't live south of the Mason-Dixon line. There are plenty of racists Democrats in Illinois where I come from. Plus if your not Union your a Scab. Lots of different types of racism besides color of your skin. Secoundly, more and more power is moving to the states that have not been strangled my the labor unions , high taxes and ridiculous Democratic "progressive" Programs. And don't you dare place California as a Southern State. The North (and I am from Illinois) has this superiority complex that they don't deserve in today's. AND THIS IDIOT MAKES FUN OF PEOPLE"S ACCENTS!!!! Oh thats not prejudice.

    July 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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