Rick Santorum Meets With APP’s Iowa Advisory Board

DSC00205Prospective 2012 Presidential Candidate, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) met with members of the American Principles Project’s Iowa Advisory Board  and special guests in Des Moines, IA on Thursday.

Senator Santorum is currently a a Senior Fellow at The Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Friday host of Bill Bennett’s ‘Morning in America’ nationally-syndicated radio program, a contributor on the Fox News Channel and a columnist with The Philadelphia Inquirer. His most important role though is being a husband and homeschooling dad of 7.

After introductions from the board members, Senator Santorum discussed the judicial nomination process that has been debated in Iowa.  Senator Santorum reminded the group that he led the fight against liberal judges and rode on the Judge Bus in Iowa to campaign against the retention of the three Iowa Supreme Court justices on the ballot.  In regards to the federal process he said that conservatives “were asleep at the wheel” during the Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  He also supports the abolishment of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court saying, “Congress has the right to do that, and should do it” as a way to keep a runaway judiciary in check.

DSC00206He also discussed faith in public life and mentioned that President John F. Kennedy’s speech on that subject while he was a candidate was “radical” and led to the view that our faith should be compartmentalized and segregated from our public service (Senator Santorum gave a speech on that that subject at the University of St. Thomas in Houston this fall, you can watch an excerpt here).  Santorum noted that “You can’t have limited government without a virtuous people, and you can’t have a virtuous people without faith…. You can’t have a strong society without a strong family, and you can’t have strong family without a strong marriage.”  He said that all conservative principles whether they are deal with the economy, social issues or defense are all intertwined, so he rejects the attempt to focus on fiscal policy at the expense of social conservatism.

The discussion also ventured into other issues:

On Right to Work – He doesn’t support a national right to work law. He thinks states can handle that.  He said he would take on the unions, but he is focusing on federal marriage amendment.  He noted was the only conservative senator elected in a heavy union state.  That he was focused on the life issue, No one in the Republican Party in Pennsylvania has taken on the life issue.”  He said not only was his votes in the Senate prolife and pro-marriage, he said he led on those issues.  He felt that in order to represent his constiutents well he needed to be neutral on labor.  If he were President if Congress sent him a National Right to Work bill to sign he would sign it.  It isn’t the private trade unions are the problem, it is the public employee unions as they are funded by taxpayers – He said those unions are “an anathema.”  He said he was willing to take on that issue.

On endorsing Arlen Specter – “If I known now what Arlen Specter was going to do I wouldn’t have supported him.” He knew Specter was going to be the lynchpin on getting Bush judicial nominations through. Specter said he would get them through, and he followed through.  He said that Pat Toomey was a better representative for conservative issues, and that his decision was strategic decision.  He noted that the Santorum Household’s vote was divided in the Republican primary.

Federal vs. State Issues/Federal Marriage Amendment – He said that he’d rather see many federal laws handled at the state level (like Right to Work) with the exception of marriage, he said we need a Federal Marriage Amendment that a patchwork of marriage throughout the states doesn’t work.

Santorum on Education

On education (audio above): He explained his vote on No Child Left Behind saying the primary reason was that “we were going to find a measure… The one good thing from No Child Left Behind is now we know we are bad.” Noting now that we have a measure, “no one can argue the facts.”  He said that now even some liberals see that we need reform.  “It ultimately accomplished the reason why I voted for it.”

He noted that the purpose of the  educational system is not to serve children, but “the client of the educational system is the mother and the father.”  He noted that the educational system needs to serve the needs of the parent.  “The objective should be to deploy resources in such a way that helps parents – to meet the needs of average kids. The average kids in schools today are the ones who are left behind.”  He said it is dangerous that parents don’t see that it is their job to teach their kids.

On the economy: Senator Santorum favors abolishing Obamacare, and would like see changes to the tax code that would make it a pro-growth tax code  He believes that the government needs to make spending cuts, he wants to bring efficiency into the bureaucracy  He said we “literally have 1000s of employees whose jobs it is to read reports that nobody reads.”  He said that now is the time to act on fiscal policy saying, “America is going to be in such dire straits fiscally that it will give us the opportunity to do some big things.”

On 2012: “The best communicator wins.” Santorum noted that Iowa Republicans need to look for someone who can compete with a very good communicator.

To listen to the entire discussion you can go here (right click to download).

Cross posted at Caffeinated Thoughts and The Des Moines Register’s From The Right

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