This ought to go over well.

“We got too many Jim DeMints (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburns (R-Ok.). It’s the southerners. They get on TV and go ‘errrr, errrrr.’ People hear them and say, ‘These people, they’re southerners. The party’s being taken over by southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?’,” Voinovich said.

Salon notes that Voinovich is not the sole Republican speaking out against the regional isolation. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty acknowledged last year that the Republicans were facing increasingly difficult competition in large parts of the country, including Voinovich’s Ohio.

“We cannot be a majority governing party when we essentially cannot compete in the Northeast, we are losing our ability to compete in Great Lakes states, we cannot compete on the West Coast, we are increasingly in danger of competing in the mid-Atlantic states, and the Democrats are now winning some of the Western states,” Pawlenty said.

Dan Gilgoff thinks he’s using code to take a shot at evangelicals. I don’t. It’s more a matter of cultural divides complicating the idea of representation. The more like you your government spokesman is, the more comfortable you’ll feel that he or she’s looking out for your particular interests. It’s not a question of religion, it’s a question of everything that informs regional differences. But Voinovich will be pilloried anyway for bringing it up, partly because he’s got a record as a RINO and therefore is presumptively wrong on everything and partly because rural “authenticity” is such a powerful meme these days in grassroots politics. The south, being the font of rural authenticity (of which “traditional values” is a key ingredient), is basically beyond reproach, so in theory you really can’t have too many southerners. Exit question: Is Massachusetts/Michigan Mitt the solution?