Vitter should avoid talk about ‘values’

VITTER SHOULD AVOID TALK ABOUT ‘VALUES’…. Sen. George Voinovich (R) of Ohio raised a few eyebrows this week when he said the Republican Party is “being taken over by Southerners,” which has caused the GOP’s decline. “We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns,” Voinovich said, referring to two of the most right-wing members of his party.

Sen. David Vitter (R) of Louisiana wasn’t specifically referenced by Voinovich, but felt compelled to respond anyway.

“I’m on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values,” Vitter told the Washington Times. “There are a lot of us from the South who hold those values, which I think the party is supposed to be about. We strayed from them in the past few years, and that’s why we performed so badly in the national elections.”

“[Voinovich is…] a moderate, really wishy-washy,” he said.

Now, describing Voinovich as a “moderate” strikes me as rather silly, as does the misguided argument that Republicans would have won more recent elections nationwide if only they’d been even more right-wing.

But it’s Vitter’s references to “conservative values” and those from the South who embrace “those values” that continues to be a problem. In context, the far-right Louisianan wasn’t talking about social and/or family issues, but that doesn’t change the fact that every time Vitter mentions the word “values,” it elicits the same response: “Aren’t you that ‘family-values’ guy who got caught with prostitutes?”

It’s no doubt awkward for the Republican senator, but he has to realize there are certain words and phrases he’s going to have to avoid. Over the weekend, his aides launched an attack ad against his likely Democratic opponent, blasting him for attending a fundraiser Vitter’s team called a “love fest.” Bad idea — “love fest” only helped remind folks about Vitter’s sex scandal.

Today, Vitter is talking about those who have the audacity to “stray from … conservative values.” Does he not realize this is like setting a ball on a tee, inviting his opponents to take a free swing?