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DeWine detractors

Ohio evangelicals should carefully and prudently consider the best interests of the country

Issue: "Houses divided," June 3, 2006

U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio has been in Congress for 20 years. The American Conservative Union assigns Sen. DeWine a lifetime "rating" of 80-which means that in the opinion of the ACU he casts his vote on "important" issues the right way 80 percent of the time.

By contrast, Vermont's Patrick Leahy and New York's Chuck Schumer have ACU lifetime ratings of 8.

Mr. DeWine is a solid pro-life vote, an ardent tax cutter, and a reliable vote for the judicial nominees George W. Bush has sent to the Senate, including Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. Mr. DeWine also joined his caucus in voting for border fencing and barrier construction along nearly 900 miles of the border with Mexico.

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But because this senator joined John McCain in the Gang of 14, and because he voted to let illegal aliens who eventually become citizens retain Social Security benefits in keeping with what they contributed over the years, some vocal conservatives won't support his re-election bid this fall.

Those conservatives are adamantly anti-DeWine, even though his opponent, Rep. Sherrod Brown, is an ardent liberal who almost certainly would have opposed the Alito nomination and probably the Roberts one as well. Sherrod Brown is Howard Metzenbaum without the moderation, but some conservatives think the GOP needs a shellacking in the fall no matter what it costs in judicial nominees.

Mr. DeWine has repeatedly declared his willingness to employ the Constitutional Option if and when Democrats return to filibustering judges. He also has declared his vote on the Social Security issue to have been a close call and one that can be revisited in the conference process where differences between House and Senate bills on immigration will be addressed.

In short, opposition to a DeWine re-election seems almost bizarrely contrary to the approach a pro-life, pro--Second Amendment, pro-property rights, or pro-national security conservative should take in this vital battleground state.

If Buckeye State evangelicals carefully and prudently consider the best interests of the country and the enormous power of a single Senate vote as well as the closeness of the division on the U.S. Supreme Court, they should not withhold support from Mike DeWine; they should instead send in their small or large checks and volunteer to walk precincts.

A Senate majority is a terrible thing to throw away.

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