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Over his 11 years in the U.S. Senate, George Voinovich's principle achievement is having never been raided by the FBI -- at least not yet -- making him a unique and popular pol in Ohio. The two-term senator has managed to navigate his swing state by largely doing nothing, better to offend no one.
But even Voinovich is having problems as a northern Republican in a party whose shrillest voices are Southern crazies like Zach Wamp and Marsha Blackburn. So yesterday, he took the unusual step of publicly lamenting his colleagues, singling out Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), however inarticulately:
"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns. It's the southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' 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?'"
Voinovich believes it's becoming an increasing problem for even Republicans in the moderate Midwest. While fire talk may play well in places like Tennessee, is it only ghettoizing the GOP on a national level?