According to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the Republican Party’s outdated rhetoric on economic issues is one of the reasons it has been losing presidential elections.
Santorum, who ran for president in 2012 and is considering a 2016 bid, was asked by the National Journal
if any of the other prospective GOP candidates were effective in reaching out to blue-collar voters.
"I see a lot of the same Republican rhetoric out of pretty much everybody," said Santorum, who served two terms in the House and two in the Senate before losing his bid for a third term in 2006. "I think it’s stale; I don’t think it’s effective."
Santorum said Republicans have been losing presidential elections in part because they have failed to present an economic message "focused on those who are hurting in America."
Santorum added that "instead of trying to play special interest politics, we need to focus on a broad swath of Americans who are feeling disenchanted with both political parties."
In some areas, Santorum’s positions on economic matters differ from those held by many if not most conservative Republicans. For example, he supports raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and argues that Republicans are wrong to oppose any increase.
In an interview with National Review earlier this year, Santorum also questioned the bipartisan consensus in favor of free trade, asking why cheaper products are all that important if Americans cannot find steady jobs.
He has also called for zeroing out the corporate tax rate for manufacturers, arguing that before labor costs and taxes, manufacturers now face substantially higher costs from environmental reviews and regulatory compliance than they do in competing countries.
"So, of course, do construction firms and banks, so his case isn’t ironclad," the National Review commented
. "But his heart is in the right place on manufacturing: The question of how to ensure that the U.S. economy continues to provide enough jobs for American workers is a real one."
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