Rick Santorum: 'Not Sure' GOP Cares about Poor as Much as Democrats
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who failed in his bid to secure the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, said he is "not sure" Republicans care as much about the poor as Democrats do.
Speaking at The New York Meeting on Monday, Santorum touted his new book, Blue Collar Conservatives, and emphatically declared that Republicans needed to connect with Americans who did not like President Barack Obama during the 2012 election but could not bring themselves to vote for Mitt Romney.
Santorum said many people ask him if Republicans care about the poor as much as Democrats, and he said, "I'm not sure we do."
"I'm not sure we do," he repeated. "And the reason I'm not sure we do is I don't hear us talking about it very often. And if you really care, you'd talk about the problems they have."
He asserted that Republicans have done a poor job reaching out to "average working Americans" who do not see themselves included in pictures Republicans paint when talking about tax cuts for the wealthy and economic policy. Santorum also said Romney's infamous "47%" remarks "confirmed" that the party was not really "tuned in to where most of America is."
The party is not "good about talking to people about where they are and what we can do to help them," even though "we are good about talking about macroeconomics and policy," Santorum stated.
He added that though a rising tide should lift all boats, millions of Americans, especially the 70% of Americans without college degrees, "have large holes in their boats," and their boats just sink "deeper under water" as the "rising tide goes up."
At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Santorum said he was shocked that though Republicans trotted out one business owner after another claiming that "they built it" to counter Obama's "you didn't build that" remarks, the nation did not get to see an employee on the stage thanking a business owner for risking capital to give her a job and opportunities. The business owner could then have told the story of how she could not have built the business without the employee, he suggested. The message to Americans would have been that they built the business as a team, and that image, Santorum said, would have appealed more to the majority of Americans who are employees and not employers.
Santorum stated that Republicans had to help people who are trapped in poverty because government policies discourage them from working and actually punish work and individuals who try to move up the economic ladder. Government policies, Santorum noted, even punish marriage.
As an example, Santorum said that a single mother of two in Wisconsin making $15,000 a year gets about $38,000 in welfare benefits. She would lose all of that if she got married.
"We trap people in dangerous relationships," Santorum said. "But we don't talk about this."
Santorum also warned against taking individualism to extremes, emphasizing that the nation is founded upon the family, which is the basic unit of society.
"A society built on individuals is like a house built on a grain of sand," he said.
Mallory Factor and O'Brien Murray host The New York Meeting, which gathers monthly. Fox's David Asman, Forbes' Carrie Sheffield, and the Daily Mail's David Martosko made up Monday's panel.