Rick Santorum refuses to be dismissed as just another also-ran.
The former Pennsylvania senator, a 2012 contender for the GOP presidential nomination, told a conservative gathering in Manhattan on Monday night that there’s a simple reason the Republican Party failed in its try for the White House in the last two presidential elections.
The GOP, he said, fell into a pit. It became “disconnected from most Americans, who didn’t think the Republican Party cared about them.”
Republicans talked too much to company owners and leaders, to the top wage earners, and not to company workers, he said. That’s still the case.
The party as a whole has “been tone deaf [to most Americans' needs]. We had the famous 47 percent comment,” he added. “We didn’t talk to people where they are.”
In his new book, Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommiting to An America That Works, he says plainly, “Do Republicans really care less about the person at the bottom of the ladder than Democrats do? To be painfully honest, I would have to say in some ways yes.”
Santorum, 55, sounded a lot like a man on the campaign trail Monday night, though he’s said he won’t decide any time soon if he’ll make another run for the White House. He’s also hoping people will plop down money, not votes, for his new book, just out Monday. But the dual roles of campaigner and book hawker are closely intermingled. Santorum said of the Democrats, “The other side divides. Men versus women. White versus black. Rich versus poor…. That's what they do. But that’s not who we are.”
He said Republicans today are in desperate need of a new approach. The party has to reach “average working Americans. We need to start tapping into those voters. Let them know we care.”
Then Santorum essentially took libertarians to task. The U.S. was not and is not built around the individual, he said.
“Work, responsibility, family, marriage and education - we need to promote this,” he said. “Our nation was built on the family, not on the individual. We need more policies oriented toward the family.”
His book minces no words: “There are some in my party who have taken the ideal of individualism to such an extreme that they have forgotten the obligation to look out for our fellow man,” he writes. “Some libertarian-leaning capitalists have become so frustrated with government that they want to eliminate federal agencies and officials responsible for enforcing the law.”
Two years ago Santorum launched Patriot Voices, a grassroots and online community devoted to “promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity…. We support candidates who share our convictions and hold accountable” those who serve in elected office, the group says on its website.
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