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Voinovich's principled stand brings attack from right



Published: Mon, April 21, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



U. S. Sen. George Voinovich is doing his state of Ohio proud, holding the line as one of the last of the Republican deficit hawks.

And for that act of almost solitary courage -- the only Republican standing with him is Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine -- Voinovich has come under attack from Republican ideologues.

One of those leading the charge against Voinovich and Snowe is Stephen Moore, president of something called The Club for Growth, which began running ads in Columbus and two Maine TV markets that compare Voinovich and Snowe to the French, which is apparently the most clever and damning insult Moore and his group could come up with.

"The ad basically makes the point that Bush needed strong allies in fighting the war and the French abandoned him. He needs strong allies here at home, and people like George Voinovich and Olympia Snowe abandoned him, & quot; Moore was quoted as saying in The Washington Times.

Nonsense is nonsense

That's about as clever as the pap ladled out at the Academy Awards by Michael Moore. Maybe they're twins, separated at birth, one going to the right, the other to the left, equally silly in the end. Moore the filmmaker prattled on about fictitious this and fictitious that; Moore the political operative is fixated on another F word, France.

The great sin of Sens. Voinovich and Snowe is not being willing to walk in lockstep with President Bush in matters of the economy. In Voinovich's case, this should not come as a surprise. He has always been a fiscal conservative. His mantra as governor of Ohio was to "do more with less," and it was a philosophy that served the people of Ohio well.

It is said that President Bush was once a fiscal conservative as well, but that seems like a very long time ago. These days, the president is more than happy to tell the American people they can have it all -- Social Security, Medicare, a prescription drug benefit, increased defense research and spending, an on-going war against terrorism, a shooting war in Iraq and tax cuts.

The only downside of all this is deficits -- hundreds of billions in deficits a year, trillions added to the national debt over the next decade.

Sens. Voinovich and Snowe are the only two Republicans with the courage to say the emperor has no clothes. They're the only ones with the integrity to say that it is wrong to give ourselves tax cuts today that will have to be repaid -- with interest -- by our children and grandchildren. They're the only ones who seem to realize that this nation has never been able to pursue a war and cut taxes at the same time.

And for this they are pilloried by the likes of The Club for Growth.

Backfire potential

There are certain amusing ironies in the club's attacks. For one, Snowe points out that there's a lot of French blood flowing through the veins of the residents of her state. While those French-Americans were probably just as disappointed, if not repulsed, by the failure of France to support the United States in Iraq, they probably don't want to see France and French become ethnic slurs.

In Ohio, the irony is that every potential challenger to George Voinovich is already on record regarding making a run against him. Their answer has been a collective and emphatic No. What is The Club for Growth's plan? To attack Sen. Voinovich's credibility in ways that could only encourage his Democratic rivals?

And what is The Club for Growth, anyway. Well, according to its Website, the club acts as a middleman for individuals who want to contribute to a political candidate. You write out your check to the candidate and send it to The Club for Growth. The club then combines all those donations before passing them along to the candidate. Which means Stephen Moore can use your money to make himself a power broker.

What a deal -- for Moore.




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