Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Portman: a garden variety GOP right winger

Better get used to the happy face in the photo. It's Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. He's been a gleam in the eye of some ranking party planners for the 2012 national ticket ever since his election in 2010. The drumbeat has begun in earnest as the current ensemble of GOP presidential candidates continue to chase their tails in full view of a less than enthusiastic public. Even though the senator's current term doesn't expire until 2016, the American Petroleum Institute, the powerful lobby for the oil and gas industry, is already running TV ads with its blessings for Portman, stressing that he is opposed to raising taxes.(Good grief!) This isn't to suggest that he is yet at the head of he class to lead the GOP ticket. He's merely insurance, and at least the party's logical veep candidate in its effort to carry Ohio.

That's only part of the story. Despite his low profile behavior (read: he is seen as low-key firebrand), he is a rock-ribbed right-wing conservative who votes with his party 97 pct. of the time. The votes on the other 3 pct. really aren't that important.

His ideological report card: Firmly on the side of the social conservatives from don't-ask-don't-tell to pro-life to anti-same-sex marriage His votes on issues affaecting gays are clear to see. On economics, he opposed the stimulus, and supports a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. And the ACLU gives him a a single-digit approval rating . In short, he is sort of like a Rick Santorum without saying too many dumb things in public.

His pre-Senate credentials mark him as one of the top budget advisors to President Bush. And you know where Bush economics got us. He was a member of the failed Supercommittee - which never had a chance from Day One. So now the analysts are wondering whether this will hurt his chances for the national ticket. No problem there, not with the American Petroleum Institute's dollars, probably complemented by the energy investments of the Koch brothers, on your side.

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