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Published: Thursday, 12/11/2008

BLADE EDITORIAL: Voinovich must prove his worth

It s not enough for Sen. George Voinovich to stand by and let his right-wing colleagues kill the U.S. auto industry by withholding support for the $14 billion loan plan now before the Senate.

Indeed, if the Ohio Republican expects to be re-elected when his seat is up in 2010 he will do more than simply cast a vote in favor of the bailout legislation. He will have to convince enough recalcitrant GOP senators to set aside petty political and regional jealousies and support the bill.

Mr. Voinovich understands the auto industry and the crucial role it plays in Ohio s economy. After all, he helped save Jeep for Toledo a decade ago.

If he wants to help now, he could call in the many IOUs he has accumulated while voting for tax cuts and other right-wing elements of President Bush's economic program over the past eight years.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Mr. Voinovich s job is on the line along with the millions of auto workers and associated workers who stand to lose theirs in Ohio, Michigan, and across the country if Congress fails to provide the necessary funds to at least give General Motors and Chrysler a fighting chance to survive.

The next 24 hours will show not only how much the former governor cares about the largest industry in his home state but also if he is a strong and persuasive enough member of the U.S. Senate and has sufficient standing in his own caucus to do what has to be done.

If Senator Voinovich can t deliver in this hour of crisis, what value does he have to Ohio?

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