ICYMI: Wall Street Journal and National Review Offer Praise for Rick Santorum's Blue Collar Conservatives

Verona, PA - In case you missed it, both The Wall Street Journal and National Review offered praise for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's book Blue Collar Conservatives.  Below are excerpts from each article:

From The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib:

Republicans already obsessing about the 2016 presidential sweepstakes have paid little attention so far to Rick Santorum. That's a mistake...It is a mistake because Mr. Santorum has written a new book, "Blue Collar Conservatives," that shows he grasps two important realities that seem to escape many others. The first is that, outmoded stereotypes notwithstanding, blue-collar Americans, particularly working-class whites in the South and Midwest, today comprise a core element of the Republican Party. The second reality is that, because of the alienation these people feel from both the political and economic systems, the table is set for a new period of populism....

Democrats, Mr. Santorum argues, have alienated many working-class Americans with their focus on race-based politics, and have harmed their economic hopes by failing to recognize the extent to which the breakdown of the family structure has undermined economic prospects of blue-collar American.  But he also argues that Republicans haven't taken advantage of the opening by offering policies that speak more directly to those blue-collar Americans in their midst. He wants tax cuts, but directed toward middle-class families and parents with young children in particular. He calls for more spending on infrastructure projects....

Implicitly, Mr. Santorum's analysis recognizes one of the underappreciated trends in current American politics: the extent to which the two parties have undergone an identity switch.  Increasingly, college-educated and upper-income Americans, once assumed to be a comfortable fit as Republicans, have become core elements of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, blue-collar whites, once the core of the Democrats, increasingly have become Republicans.

As it happens, Hillary Clinton did well among these very blue-collar voters in her 2008 primary run for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Santorum is pleading with his party not to take them for granted now.

From National Review's Quin Hillyer:

Rick Santorum is the most frequently underestimated politician of our lifetimes. Santorum is always the underdog. Perhaps that's one reason his sympathies lie with underdogs, his message is crafted toward underdogs, and his support often comes from those a bit lower on the socioeconomic scale than the voters Republican office-seekers typically attract....

Santorum's book is admirably replete with specific policy suggestions that fit this template of a conservatism for jobholders, along with his uniquely emphasized (and perhaps a bit too repetitive) linkage between the erosion of traditional values and the economic plight of non-professionals. This was one of the things the media missed in 2012: When Santorum spoke about social mores during his presidential battle, he did so not as a scold but, instead, almost always in the context of economics, as in his mantra that "the most effective antipoverty tool is a combination of work, education, and marriage." His new book, in a fashion more enjoyably readable than most political manifestos, effectively explores the implications of that thesis both for policy and for politics...

In the cultural wars of "us against the man," Santorum clearly is an "us." Minus the character flaws, Santorum is the Pete Rose or the Jimmy Connors of American politics, the guy with whom supporters can identify for his work ethic, enthusiasm, and lack of blow-dried pretensions...

The message of his new book is almost pitch-perfect, and Santorum has proved he can carry the tune.

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