Monday, March 11, 2013

Portman checking with Tea Party on matters of state

Joe Hallett, the Columbus Dispatch's  senior editor and political columnist, has picked up the scent of Sen.Rob Portman's tippy-toed retreat into the grasp of the Tea Party.  In his Sunday column, Hallett, a perceptive guy who isn't always in lockstep with the paper's right-wing brass, wrote that Portman has been checking out his moves  with Chris Littleton, who runs Ohio Rising, a Tea Party outfit.

"I don't  agree with  everything he does," Littleton told Hallett, "but  I'm pleased with his approach to every problem"  Read: When Tea Partyers say nice things about  somebody, he's their guy.

Portman, a Republican  once known as a harmless  right-leaning centrist,  has been drawing  renewed attention since his  bid to be Mitt Romney's  running mate came up empty. (Maybe the Mitties thought he was a tad too dull despite his credentials as a senator from a battleground state. Or maybe they were skittish about his work as George W. Bush's budget director and let's not go into that.)

Since then,  Portman has emerged as anything but the middle-of-the roader that he promised to be when he ran for the Senate.  He has joined the GOP goon squad  filibustering President Obama's nomination of a highly qualified woman - Xenia native Caitlin Halligan - to the appellate court of the District of Columbia because, um...she's a "judicial activist".(When Republicans can't find anything scarier to say about a judicial nominee, they put their pennies  into the machine and out pops "judicial activist".)

Oh, Portman has also walked away from  fellow Ohioan Richard Cordray, opposing Cordray's recess appointment as director of the Consumer Financial Protection  Bureau because he doesn't like the Bureau's consumer mission.

I've written about Portman's developing taste for right-wing issues several times merely to call attention to his dual brand as a moderate and now a Teabagger.  Hallett mentions that  Portman could be shoring up his credits with the Republican wild side to run for president in 2016.   We can hope.

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