Along the Tracks

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Using the wrong ‘Club’

The Club for Growth sent me a fax this morning, proclaiming poll numbers which demonstrate “vulnerability” in the re-election bids of Senators Olympia Snowe of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio. I can’t speak for Maine, but I think I have a pretty good take on Ohio.

To use a golf analogy, they're teeing off at a Par 5 with a pitching wedge.

The statistical evidence cited by the Club is this: “When asked ‘If a more fiscally conservative Ohio Republican who was more supportive of President Bush’s tax cut challenged George Voinovich in a Republican primary election for U.S. Senator, would you definitely vote for George Voinovich, or would you consider voting for the more fiscally conservative Republican challenger,’ just 23 percent said they would support Sen. Voinovich, while 56 percent would consider the challenger.”

Talk about loaded questions!

And the survey was of likely Republican voters - the most hard-core party supporters, not a wider spectrum from which Voinovich is likely to draw support. Even so, and with the extremely loaded hypothetical, only just over half of respondents would even consider the supposedly perfect “conservative” challenger.

I’ve spoken to some folks here in the Buckeye State who favor the President’s bigger tax cut package, of course, but I have yet to hear one person express the slightest disgruntlement with George Voinovich, who is merely stating what should be obvious to any supposed “fiscal conservative”: If you want a big tax cut, you have to cut spending as well, or else you are placing a debt load on the future.

I’d also like to know exactly which politician “more fiscally conservative” than Voinovich the Club might be talking about? John Kasich? Oh wait, he’s a bigger deficit hawk than Voinovich! Jim Petro or Ken Blackwell? That may be the thinking (if you can call wild musing “thinking”) - avoid a showdown for the governor’s slot in 2006 by sending one to the Senate - but I seriously doubt either would really want to challenge a popular incumbent senator whose prior time as Ohio governor is now fabled in song and legend. And frankly, either would be pummeled by Voinovich, hands down.

Besides, has anyone from the Club dropped by Ohio for a few days to get a feel “on the ground.” Do they really think the Ohio GOP is populated by a bunch of supply-siding, deficit-ignoring, binge tax-cutters? Get real! The statewide party is country club, through and through - more George H.W. than George W. Just look at the “slot trading” which goes on in the statewide executive offices. Conservative ideologues don’t trade posts, bide their time and wait their turns. Look back at the ‘98 GOP primary race for governor - there wasn’t one! Taft was next up, simple as that. The Petro-Blackwell gubernatorial face-off which seems in the cards won’t happen - mark my words. One of the two will be promised some other high-profile job to clear the way for an uncontested primary.

And that “promise” won’t be as a Voinovich challenger!

The commercials and press releases blasting Voinovich haven’t changed my respect and admiration for him as a fiscally responsible leader - but they have helped me identify the Club for Growth as completely out of touch with Ohio, and most likely, the nation.

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