Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling "got what he deserved" with a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine from the National Basketball Association for his racially charged remarks about blacks, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says.
The more I learn about this character, the more I question why wasn't this done a long time ago," Santorum told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"This is nothing new in this guy's playbook, and obviously it's now out there in the public," he said Tuesday.
The NBA meted out the stiff punishment Tuesday after reviewing a taped phone conversation in which Sterling admonishes his girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games.
It also emerged this week that Sterling, a billionaire businessman, has had past issues with black people.
"I'm glad they reacted the way they did, it was appropriate," said Santorum, who is now CEO of EchoLight Studios, which produces PG-rated, family-friendly movies.
"[Sterling] certainly got what he deserved, and probably deserved for a while."
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Santorum, who is thought to be mulling a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has written a new book, "Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works,"
out this week from Regnery Publishing.
In it, Santorum calls for the GOP to stop pandering and work to regain the trust of its base of hard-working Americans.
He told host Steve Malzberg that the problem with Republicans is that they too often play defense on numerous issues, such as equal pay for women.
"The Democratic Party is extreme on all of these issues, but since we have chosen not to talk about those issues, our candidates are always the guys who [say] be quiet, don't run on those issues, don't ever mention those issues," Santorum said.
"But, of course . . . people actually care about these issues. People actually contemplate them when they vote.
"We need to fight back . . . if we actually believe that the things that we believe in are best for women, then we have to go out and start making the argument instead of trying to say, oh, no, we really didn't mean that."
Asked by Malzberg why the Republican Party appears to be so unable to communicate its messages, Santorum said:
"The Republicans have this image of, we serve above the fray . . . How many times do you hear . . . [that] Republicans are going to talk about what they're going to do with the economy?
"The three things that always come out [are]: you have to balance the budget, you have to cut spending, particularly on entitlements, and we need to cut taxes for high-income individuals."
"Now, if you don't have an entitlement and you have no idea how to balance budgets unless it's your job . . . and you're not a rich person, who's going to get a tax cut, what's the message? Where do you see yourself in that picture?"
Santorum, who launched an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012, finishing second to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, skirted the question of whether he plans another run.
But he says Republicans have the right answers for the nation's many problems that Democrats are unable to address — although he said both parties have been deficient in offering concrete solutions.
"I grew up in a blue-collar town — Butler, Pennsylvania — which is a steel town outside of Pittsburgh. My grandfather was a coal miner, I lived in public housing, and I'm a first-generation American," he said.
"I look at how Americans that I grew up with are struggling in the world today and how neither political party is addressing the problems that they're confronting. The Democrats' answer is wrong — we'll give you more money, we'll redistribute wealth.
"Well, they're redistributing wealth, they're handing out more checks, but people are not doing better, they're not finding satisfying work, they're not moving up the economic ladder and they're not happy, and there's a lot of folks who are very unhappy, particularly with the president. Look at his polls."
But he added that Republicans "unfortunately just have no answer."
"We just sort of talk macroeconomics all the time, we don't get down and look people in the eye — millions of people who are struggling — and propose some solid things that affect . . . their lives directly, and that's what this [new] book does," Santorum said.
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