tv Book Discussion on Blue Collar Conservatives CSPAN September 4, 2014 10:16pm-10:51pm EDT
book. >> that is the reason i titled it -- some students i teach in my business program didn't know anything about it. i don't want you to experience that. i want you to go straight to the board room. and how to get there and allow our kids in the inner city and the young man who did the introduction to the book said it so eloquently, it is a walking beautifully with god, hard work and opportunity and those three things, i don't believe in good luck, i never wish anybody good luck. i believe we all have the ability to create our own version of lock through hard work and opportunity. i try to spread that message wherever i can. i don't believe if you dream it you can achieve it. when you dream you got to wake up. do something to make that
happen. >> i am tired of hearing that, you have no idea. this is the first time i met you but i am inspired by you, i am inspired to get more involved and work harder. >> thank you, appreciate it. >> read his book, by the book, pass it on. i didn't say much about my book. thank you for being here. >> thank you very much.
>> rick santorum is the author of blue-collar conservatives. [laughter] remember they were colleagues in the senate together. he is the author of blue-collar conservatives recommitting to an america that works. i guess as a blue-collar conservative that is why he's not wearing a coat and tie today. rick santorum served in the u.s. house and the u.s. senate from 95 to 2007 in the state of pennsylvania. he was a leading contender for the nomination in 2012.
he was a staunch defender of the right to life and marriage of -- a growing faith and family film production company. after the 2012 election he cofounded patriot voices a grassroots and on line community of americans committed to faith family freedom and opportunity. his other book is it takes a family and american patriots answering the call to freedom. please welcome former senator rick santorum. [applause] >> all over duddy. thank you for inviting me to be here. when they asked me to do something the answer is always yes. she's a great lady and a great leader and thank you for
participating in working with the eagle forum this year and you are to be congratulated for your wisdom in choosing to help with that organization. let me mention a couple of things. first off i'm going to be back here next month in this round two i guess he could say premiere in washington our next movie. echo lights studios is a movie distribution company. we make feature-length motion pictures and we have done a couple of films that is already out. we have couple months ago released their redemption of henry myers. but we felt, i felt that it was important for us to weigh in to a faith-based movie company. i thought it was important for us to weigh into an area that i think is the quintessential issue of our time with respect to faith and that is their religious liberty.
so we put together a documentary which is coming out september 1. we will show it in august and you can talk to heritage and get an invitation to see the gui so you're weigh in here. it's called -- it chronicles seven or eight i can't remember which cases. the hobby lobby case and the substance of that but it also talks about the cake baker in oregon the florist in washington the photographer who wouldn't participate in same-sex weddings. with a military travel issue and in education we have someone who was kicked out of eastern michigan because of her beliefs, her religious beliefs so it's a great chronicle over what's going on. we have some fabulous people. jennifer marshall is probably
the leading spokesperson. she is in a movie quite a bit. we have mike huckabee, me and a whole host of other. it's great that we have barry lynn and then we have the southern poverty law center and freedom from -- freedom for religion. we have peter singer from princeton. these folks are in their letting you know their worldview. i think it's really important to see them uncut, what they believe in. that is one of the things we will be launching and we will be taking that out. we have a different way of showing our movies where we decided not to premiere movies in theaters anymore. we are going to premiere our movies in churches because churches now have the ability to
be theaters, a lot of them. instead of encouraging pastors and people to get their congregants to go to the theater we are going to have them be the theater and the center of culture instead of sending them to theaters and making hollywood a lot of money. hopefully we will make the church and thus a lot of money by showing it. if you belong to a church and you were called acolytes in the medicine you want to get your church to be involved in that we would encourage you to go do echo lights cinemas.com and do just that. let me talk about the subject that is the title of the book. i've been doing a book tour for the last couple of months about this issue of what i call blue-collar conservatives. when i ran for election 2012 we did very well. what every experts said would happen. we were given the least and all
these odds they have oddsmakers. we are at the bottom. no one had a lower chance of being the republican nominee than me. in the end we were right there and were leading the race at one point and after missouri, colorado and minnesota when we won those three states we have an opportunity to potentially steal the election that way even though we were being outspent seven to one. people say well it's because he was the conservative alternative and he had a strong base among evangelical christians and that was what was making the difference. it was certainly been a good purgative to romney was a good thing though what was really making the end and we went over to them the message i was delivering. the message was a message focused on workers, focused on what i call economic populism
but it was a message focused on the people in america who were being left behind by the economy today. 70% of americans do not have a college degree. 70% of americans who are in their 30s don't have a college degree. it's not changing. that number has been fairly constant. in fact it may be going going down and the reason may be going down is because of the enormous expense of a college education. we have 70% of americans who don't have a college degree and get if you listen to both political parties i might add you here the emphasis on technology and on the new economy and all these things. if you look at 77 americans they don't necessarily see themselves as part of the picture that is intended by either political party. the democratic party, they at least pay attention to these voters not in a way that i think is helpful to voters that is
what they want to do is redistribute wealth and send money but they don't want to send opportunity and they don't want to send the ability to rise. their problem with republicans as we don't speak to those voters. we simply don't talk to them. if you think about the economic message of the republican party it has been the same as it's been for the last 35 years. it hasn't changed. it hasn't changed at all. think of the three things and think about if you want to boil it down to three things. your pastor will tell you three things. what is the three thing economic policy? if you are going to say what are the three things republican focus on economic policy, number one, come on. cut taxes. number two, spending. number three getting there, close. balance the budget. reduce the debt balance the budget. that has been our message for 35 years.
we all go back to ronald reagan and say we had ronald reagan. when ronald reagan came to office that wasn't the message of the republicans. there was a new message. he didn't say eisenhower did this. we are going to do what eisenhower did. it was a new message. we are stuck. are these bad messages. [inaudible question] not suggesting they are bad messages but the problem's ronald reagan were dealing with are different than the problems we are dealing with today. if ronald reagan said we are using the same message that we used 40 years ago what are you doing? haven't you looked at look at america and see the different america that we had 40 years ago? of course it's very different. i got my first mortgage in 1982 for a house. anybody know what i paid in interest rates 1982 and i would i was a first-time first-time homebuyers at a discounted rate. 17.5%. mortgages were 20% mortgages.
that was stagflation. you're at all sorts of problems in america and 70% tax rates. so you say cut taxes, 70% tax rate it's a big deal but when it's 38%, 38 to 34? really? such a platform? that's pretty minimalist isn't it when it went from 70 to 30. reagan had big ideas at the time. the problems that were in place when he was there so we need to learn from reagan but we don't need to be him. most of the folks, most of the voters particularly your generation most of them don't even know who he is. what's the problem facing america today? what is the economic problem facing america today? lots of people do really well. that wasn't necessarily the case in the 1980s. overall things were really bad.
but there are a lot of people doing very well. there are a lot of people who aren't. actually a lot more people who aren't them are. what are we saying to them? what is our message to them? what is our message should ever namic -- average american who see their wages stagnating who are seeing inflation beginning to creep up who see people who save getting 0% interest on their investments and getting involved in more risky ventures. what do we say to the folks who are living good responsible lives and working? balance the budget. i challenge anybody here to tell me how balancing the budget is going to help average american workers. if you do, do it in 30 seconds. good luck. but that is what we are on a message that doesn't connect. what is your favorite word?
no. everybody has the same favorite word although it's different. your name? it's her favorite word. some of you may remember her from the campaign she is a little girl with disabilities. she has a lot of capabilities but she knows her name. when i sing her song she likes me to sing songs but she loves to have me sing songs with their names in the lyrics so i change all the words around and i have to say bella every four or five words and she loves the song. everybody loves to hear their name. they love to see themselves. if you think about the republican message and we paint this beautiful picture of the economy and most americans don't see themselves in that picture. where is the firemen? where's the construction worker? where's the truck driver?
where is the electrician? where are they in this picture? they are nowhere. they are not getting a tax cut because they are not higher income and you say we tax them but we focus higher because that's what creates growth and that is what we talk about. they may have their benefits cut because they are on lower income receiving food stamps or other types of benefits but they don't see themselves in this picture. if we are going to be successful in painting a future vision for america we have got to include people in the picture. we don't need to become them to do it. that is what i wrote this book because you know what, don't know how many followed closely the 2012 election but i can tell you of all the things i did in the 2012 elections the things i hear and i gave thousands of speeches.
i can't tell you how many speeches i gave. the one speech that people always asked to talk to me about this is speech that i gave in des moines iowa on caucus night. i got up there and i talked about my grandfather who was a coalminer. i talked about being at his funeral. it was the first funeral i had ever been to. i remember kneeling next to his casket. my eyes were eye level with him when i knelt down there. i looked down and i saw his hands folded like this. my grandfather it was a coalminer until he was 72 years old. he had the biggest, thickest hands i have ever seen in my life. i have got these little spindly fingers. he had big meaty tough working man hands. all i could do was sit here. he was an immigrant to this
country brought my dad as a kid and he works like i said until he was 72 digging coal. i sat there and all i could think about was that those are the hands that doug mike -- i heard that everywhere i went. and people who aren't coalminers but their dad was for their grandfather and they realize how important that work is and how we don't honor that anymore. america feels disconnected to its political class because we are a political class. we are not connected to the average worker in america. if you want to connect to hispanics, hispanics are like
every other immigrant group. they come to harvard and d.o. at m.i.t. but the vast majority of immigrants like every other immigrant group that is effort come to america, they are working their way out. when you are talking blue-collar issues you have to be talking to hispanics. and you were talking to workers. a big issue that fallows talks about his immigration. we as republicans never talk about that. we never talk about immigration and how it affects the average worker and how it affects hispanics and their ability to provide for their families. we always talk about it in academic terms or cultural terms that we don't talk to them about it in terms of how it's going to impact working men and women in this country and how it is impacting them and keeping wages down how it's causing less
employment. there is a message out there for us that is consistent with conservative policies that we can drive and be successful in and that is why wrote this book. that is why wanted to come here today and share it with you. it is a vision for and won final point and i'm out of time. one final point. america is sick and tired of division. conservatives are sick and tired of division. they are tired of the fighting, tired of nobody getting along and tired of the victory. they really are tired of it. even your most hard conservatives say enough with this. it's because we are -- we have the most divisive president in the history of this country. he personally attacks people and attacks them and goes after the other party like i have never seen a president before. bill clinton didn't do it reagan didn't do it.
this guy is a divider and we have made the mistake of joining along and we are doing the same thing. we are being just as vitriolic as he is right back at him. it doesn't help this country. we need a message ladies and gentlemen that is a positive message for america's future. something that includes all americans and it. we should be the party. the republican party is the party of the union. we want to unite people. the democratic party wins elections by dividing america into classes and groups. that is how they win and they go out and try to pump up the boats within their own little groups. the democratic party is a collection of these groups labor unions and trial lawyers abortion activists environmentalists. that is who they are. all these little groups. that is not who we are. that is not who the republican party is. we are the party that is a
broad-based party that doesn't rely on any special interest group to fund us. that is who we are. there's a message that appeals to that broad group. >> great, thank you. are you ready for some questions? [applause] we will start off over year. >> my name is emily and i go to the university of dallas. >> my daughter graduated from there. >> any talk about the rising cost of college education? >> that is one of the toughest issues out there. i can say a lot of controversial things right now but i probably won't. better left for the private conversation only that doesn't exist in america anymore either. first you have to question the value of a college education
with the cause. that's a fundamental question we see a lot of folks encouraging people not to go to college. you have to look at the nature of college. there are some great schools. most of them are liberal education. there's a study done by the university of texas that says 62% of kids are coming to colleges in america today with a faith conviction and leave without it. are we really doing the country a favor by sending our best and brightest so they can be stripped of their faith so they can be told the world is about more relativism than godlessness and all the things that are pounded into them. i remember giving a speech at yale university. two months before the 2012 election i was asked to speak.
i was asked by one of these old debating societies that has beed speak to their campus. seven parties and if they like what they have to say they pound on the table and if they don't they hate us so you sort of know how you are doing. they are very active in that regard. eyes had spoken there once before on radical islam so i said i will come back. it's a fun thing to do. i showed up and when i went the first time they were probably 200 kids. i came in 2000. the largest crowd they have ever had. do you know what the subject was? resolve. the government is destroying the american -- 2000 kids showed up to hear it. they were ready. they were ready to pounce.
i went out there and i said let's define our terms. i defined with the family is and what is the purpose of the family was serviced as a cap to society. what sustains a family sedan just walked through it all. when i finish not a person left. it was 90 degrees with no air-conditioning. people cannot table me one after another every stripe you could possibly imagine it said the same thing to me. i have never heard any of that before. one of the elite universities of our country and they have never heard any of that before. it goes back to the fundamental question. how much do we want the federal government to subsidize your liberal education in america? are we doing kids any favors by putting them through this and having these huge bills and a huge bill to the federal government for what they are
getting? the answer is i think there needs to be dramatic reform within the educational institutions of this country if they want to come to the federal government and say we deserve to have more support from the federal government. >> we have a question over here. >> is controversial. >> thank you for coming to speak with us. my name is phil wegman and i good at hillsdale college. >> à la although i know them all as a problem. >> you talk about how republicans can tailor their message to working-class families. would you comment on the export-import bank which is coming up for reauthorization in september and how that institution affects the local guy? >> i think it's a mistake for us to be out there focused on the ex-im bank. i agree with the string of
libertarianism in a republican party that says that government doesn't do a lot of things well particularly when it comes to interfacing with the business sector. i agree and support most of that agenda. i think one of the problems with an ideology is that it's an ideology and it has no foundation in practical roots of what goes on in society. i always say that the federal government's job when it comes to every business is to create a level playing field. government is going to be involved in a needs to set rules. i know there might be some who say we don't need big government but i don't think there are many out there. government needs to exist and it needs to be a playing field is level for everybody. here's my point i make this point in the book repeatedly. the problem with manufacturing is this different than every other business in america.
why is it different? wegmans, the grocery store competes with another grocery store down the street. walmart competes with target. citibank competes with bank of america. you can go on down the list. any restaurant, aei to heritage, they are all in competition. that's great. they all have a level playing field that when you're a manufacture your competition is not the manufactured down the street. someone from mexico, malaysia or china so when the american government looks at how we create a level playing field for manufactures we can't just look at other manufacturers in the united states. we have to look at how do we compete and how do we create a level playing field vis-à-vis the competition that exists around the world? that is why you have to look at our tax rates and say well the tax rates for manufactures should be the same. we should look attacks rates around the world and see what
our tax rates are compared to others and look at the regulations, the same thing. financing is another thing. every major government and every export country in the world has a similar or much more intrusive agency than ex-im bank that subsidizes in a great way the financing of exports. and to suggest that we say because it's a government agency involved in business it's a bad thing and we should get rid of it, we are tying the hands of our manufactures. the availability of credit for big projects. small banks won't do it and a lot of the bigger banks won't do. he becomes a big problem particularly for smaller manufacturers to get the credit they need to be able to do these exports. so i understand the ideology and i don't know how many of you know russell kirk but russell
kirk was as conservative as you can get but he also understood that compromise is not a bad thing. we can't just be rigid in complying -- applying these principles. not everything is the same. says case this principle needs to be amended. that is not a bad thing. i know in the world of interest politics that compromises. there is good compromises and bad compromises. i defined did find it in my career in the senate consistently this way. a bad compromise is doing less, getting less of a bad thing so if you can work with ted kennedy and he wants to pass some terrible pill and you can water down so it doesn't hurt as bad that's a bad compromise because you know it's going to hurt but
if you compromise with ted kennedy in order to when i was there in order to get something that but less of it that's a good compromise. we have to stop compromising your bad things and be willing to compromise to get less good things. that is how the left was able to eventually do what they are doing. they were always willing to compromise on taking less of the loaf. the next day come back for the next piece. and we don't. we stand for if you can't get this and we are not for it. that's just stupid. it's not how you move the ball. >> another question down here. >> link and cover from saint louis mr. and i will be attending wheaton in the fall. i know you mentioned about how your message to blue-collar workers was specifically what brought you close to clinching the republican nominee.
what is the message and how we need to frame it looking at 20 2016. >> what i talk about in the book and the message i deliver is we need to have a message that focuses on three major areas. number one we have to have a message that focuses on energy and manufacturing. there was a company that was sold six months ago called what app. remember this? so for $55 billion, excuse me $19 billion, $19 billion. 55. those are jobs.
do you want to talk about redistributing wealth? create employment in areas that by its nature creates jobs for more americans. technology is great and i'm not knocking technology that $19 million for 55 people, it's good because of the value that technology brings but it's not putting anything on the table for average working americans. if we can focus on energy first, and why energy is important because as we know the principle costs of energy cost to the average working american is as much a part of their budgets as anything else so we can keep energy prices down that helps. it creates an environment where manufacturing can aspire. we allow for the exploration for natural gas low and stable