Santorum Talks About Sex, Movies, Media And Amnesty [VIDEO]

Neil Munro | White House Correspondent

The Daily Caller sat down for an interview with Sen. Rick Santorum, the man who ran close behind Gov. Mitt Romney in the GOP’s 2012 nomination.

Santorum is preparing for another run, and he’s practicing his pitch to middle-income voters, diplomatically calling for a “pause” in the flow of immigrant workers, keeping his distance from the GOP’s financial backers on Wall Street and running a movie studio, EchoLight Studios.

This is the third of three segments. The prior segments can be found here and here.

Q. If you run [for the White House], lots of people are going to shriek about sex, Christianity and accuse you of being a wild-eyed social conservative. And that’ll shape the willingness of younger voters, urban voters, upper-income voters to pull the lever for you. What are you going to tell these guys?

I’ve spoken on a lot of college campuses and a lot of high schools, and [I’ve got] seven kids, so obviously sex isn’t a real problem for me — and so I would say that if you talk to young people, you know what they’re looking for? Someone who tells them the truth. No young person expects you to agree with them. Heck, they’re not even sure where they are on a lot of issues.

The idea that somehow or another because you have a certain set of policy prescriptions, that you’re not going to be able to appeal young people — you know what, young people want authenticity, they want someone they can trust, they want someone who is real, they want someone who is honest with them, someone who can into go in their house, if you will, and talk with them, answer questions. I have no doubt that when people take a look at the candidates going forward, if we decide to run, that we’ll have a lot of appeal to folks who are looking for no more packaged candidates.

I mean, if you look at who the Democrats are considering putting up, you’re talking about a packaged candidate. Now you the establishment trying to come together and find the perfect packaged candidate for the Republican Party. Young people are too smart for that, they’re going to small that, sniff that one out and say ‘No, we’re looking for reality.’

And they may not agree with me, but one of the thing that I’ve always found when I’ve talked to young people, the most common comment I get is No. 1, ‘You’re nothing like what I thought you would be,’ and No. 2, ‘You made me think.’ Why? Because I respect them and I respect them intellectually enough to be honest about what I believe.

Q. You are the CEO of a media company [EchoLight Studios]. … What are you learning from running this media company?

Stories. You know the greatest leader in the history of the world didn’t go and stand up in front of people and give a bullet-point checklist of things that you’re supposed to do right and wrong. He told stories to communicate with people, not just on a substantive level, but also on an emotional level. And if there is one problem that I think we conservatives have had over the past 50 years as America and the world have become a much more visual generation — as we sit here and look at these cameras — is that we have to do a better job in relating what we believe in by telling stories of how that impacts.

When I talk about immigration, I talk about my own personal story. When I talk about immigration as I’ve done in other books and publications, I talk about the story of an average American family. We need to personalize it, we need to connect with people in a way that I don’t think we’ve been very effective in the past at doing so.

Q. Americans are worried about their jobs, and they’re worried about their kids wages, yet they also want to like immigrants, and they want to like immigration. How do you reconcile these competing and noble desires?

Very noble. I’m the son of an immigrant, so it’s very noble for me, I’m very grateful that America has immigration policies that allow people to come in this country, more so that any developed country in the world. So we shouldn’t be ashamed at all of the fact that America is a welcoming place, and has been for 200 years — but in varying degrees, based upon what is in the best interest of America.

Because, ultimately, the immigration system in this country has to be focused on what helps America and American workers the most, and provides opportunities for us to grow and provide quality employment opportunities for working Americans.

If you look at the history of immigration in American, we had open immigration, by and large, up until 1921. And after the great wave — there was a huge wave of immigrants in this country, of which my grandfather was part of it, he came in 1923, right at the very end — the 1921 and the 1924 immigration acts changed that. And we went from petty much open borders to a system which was allowing about 750,00 to 800,000 people a year for that 40-year period between 1880 and 1920.

From 1924 on, up until 1965, the average was about 110,000.

And the reason we changed is in response to a destabilized labor market and concerns about assimilation because we had such a huge population in this country who were — percentage-wise — who were not born in this country, and we were worried because American is, was, a little baby country.

We’re a country that is very different than most other countries in the world. We’re not a country based on ethnicity, we’re not a country that has a deep and rich and long tradition and culture. We’re a baby country based on a set of values and principles that are in our Declaration and Constitution. And they have to be taught, and they have to be nurtured and inculcated into generations and generations of existing Americans, as well as those who come here. That was always a very important thing.

Assimilation was always important, and here we are now with more non-native-born Americans living in America today than at anytime in the history of our country. Now, percentage-wise we don’t have the most, but we are close, within one or two percent of being even the highest percentage-wise, which is amazing given the size of the country now versus a hundred years ago. So assimilation is a serious issue in this country right now, and of course labor markets is very a serious issue.

Both are the reasons for the ’21 and ’24 immigration acts. Both are the reasons for other immigration acts in the history of this country where we’ve said, ‘OK, we’ve allowed a wave, now it is time to take a pause, let these things work out.’

That’s not anti-immigration, that pro-immigration, because it says we want folks to come here to experience the American experience, to learn what it means to be an American, to assimilate into our culture. The reason you came here is because you wanted to be part of that culture, and secondly, to have opportunities to be economically successful.

So I would make the argument that it is not anti-immigrant at all. That it is a proper pause, as we have taken in the country throughout our history, to make sure that America remains strong and healthy growing forward.

Q. Is that why [Gov. Mitt] Romney lost, because he just had no emotional connection?

We’ve had enough rehash of the 2012 election. But I would say that it’s important for whoever our nominee is to be a good communicator. I always make the claim that since the age of television, irrespective of Republican or Democrat, the best communicator has always won.

You go back to … you look at Ford and Carter. Carter was better than Ford. Reagan, case closed. Bush, not a very good communicator, but better than Michael Dukakis, but then he came up against Clinton, no match. Bush, Gore, cardboard man versus a folksy Texan. Again, Bush not a great communicator but better than John Kerry, better than Al Gore. And then Obama. Case closed.

So if you go through that and say well, who won? You could say there are all these other reasons. Yes, there may have been all these other reasons, but you can’t ignore the fact that the person who connected with the American public, who was a better person communicating a message won every one of these elections. Maybe we need to step back and think the packaged candidates that the establishment say meet this … ‘issue profile’ that the establishment feels comfortable with has very little to do, ultimately, with who is going to the the president of the United States. I don’t think they understand that.

Q. Are the Democrats good at visceral, emotional politics?

I used to tell this story when I was in the Senate. If you watch C-SPAN-2 and put a piece of duct tape across the bottom of the television, within a few hours of watching the United States Senate, you can tell who the Democrats and the Republicans are. It would be easy — it is by the charts they use.

Republicans would have the pie charts and the line graphs and all these calculations and the Democrats would have pictures. They wouldn’t put up any numbers. The reason they didn’t put up any numbers is because the numbers don’t work, so if you can’t argue the facts, you know, argue the emotion. And that’s what they’re very good at. They’ve become very good at pulling at the heart strings and Republicans sort of scoff at that, that’s like illegitimate. Well, why?

It is perfectly legitimate. People care, and emotion is a legitimate factor in deciding compassion or whether it’s a concern for your fellow man. It’s not just what the numbers are, but how does that really impact people in a real way, and we have to talk about both.

Q. Is there any ability for the media to handle this [immigration] issue fairly?

I think it is important for those us who articulate this [immigration] vision, that we do so in a very disciplined way, because it is very easy to get sloppy in communicating this message. You have to stay focused on who immigration policy is oriented toward, and immigration policy is not about immigrants.

Immigration policy is about America, and what’s best for America.

I don’t think anyone would say should have health-care policy and our concern in health-care policy should be folks in other places around the world. People wouldn’t say that our transportation policy should be focused on how that impacts people around the world, any more than our immigration policy. Of course it concerns people around the world, but just like transportation policy, just like health-care policy, just like tax policy — tax policy affects other people around the world based upon what America does.

But those policies first and foremost are about America and Americans. And while immigration deals with people around the world, it deals with people around the world on how they impact America.

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