Sen. Portman Warns Republicans: Beware 'the Arrogance of Power'

The Ohio republican says his party could suffer same fate as dems at the polls

ByABC News
February 17, 2011, 6:25 PM

Feb 18, 2011 -- Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has a warning for his fellow Republicans: Beware "the arrogance of power," or voters will do to you what they did to Democrats last year.

"We've got to be sure we stick to our principles and that we continue to do what we told people we would," Portman said in an interview for the ABC News Subway Series. He told us Republicans promised two things: 1) to focus on the economy; and 2) to get control of the national debt.

You can watch my interview HERE.

"If we focus on those two things and make progress," Portman said, "I think the future of the party is going to be in good shape. If we don't or if we overreach, then the American people will make a different decision as they did between '08 and 2010."

The biggest risk for Republicans, Portman said, is "the arrogance of power."

Even in Portman's home state of Ohio -- where Republicans trounced Democrats across the board in November -- he said Republicans can't necessarily count on a repeat next year.

"Yet to be seen," he said when asked if President Obama will win in Ohio next year as he did in 2008.

"I suppose as a Republican I should be saying 'Absolutely not! You know, We're going to beat him in Ohio and stop his reelection prospects there,' but, he said, it depends on who the Republican candidate is and whether the party has made any progress on its promises.

"People are not looking for partisanship they're looking for progress and results," he said.

When Portman sees OMB Director Jack Lew being grilled by Congressional budget committees, he can almost feel his pain. After all, Portman has been there before; he was Director of the Office of Management and Budget for President Bush from 2006 to 2007. He knows what it is like to present a budget before a hostile Congress

"I feel a certain sympathy for Jack Lew," Portman said. "Because you're gonna get attacked from all sides. But having said that, I'm really disappointed in the product. And I think it shows a lack of leadership at a time when it's sorely needed."