Santorum cites nation’s history as hope for future

By: Brad D. Bates | C&G Newspapers | Published February 17, 2012

 Rick Santorum gives a speech at a campaign event Feb. 17 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. Santorum was in town to rally support ahead of the Feb. 28 Michigan Republican presidential primary.

Rick Santorum gives a speech at a campaign event Feb. 17 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. Santorum was in town to rally support ahead of the Feb. 28 Michigan Republican presidential primary.

Photo by David Schreiber

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — As the crowd in Shelby Township Feb. 17 looked for answers for the future, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum gave them a history lesson.

Santorum said the United State’s history as a nation built “from the bottom up” is the reason it can rebound from current economic woes and experience future generations of success.

“Our country has a great tradition that is really unique in the world,” Santorum said. “America is unique in the world because we built this great country from the bottom up. We built it not from having a king or a sovereign to rule over us. We were founded differently.

“America’s not about stuff and pursuing stuff and getting your piece,” Santorum added about the premise of the country’s founding. “It’s bigger, bolder. It’s something that’s transcendent in meaning.

“We’re going to build a society that’s different than those that just want to get their share. We’re going to build a good and just society. We’re going to build it from the bottom up because you can’t build that from the top down. You’ve got to build it the hard way.”

The former U. S. senator from Pennsylvania opened with a story about his grandfather coming to Detroit in 1925 to work in the auto industry before he was laid off and relocated to Pennsylvania, where he became a coal miner.

He cited the ability of the Rust Belt to shake off the rust as a reason for those gathered in attendance at the Palazzo Grande on Van Dyke Avenue to not give up.

“I’m not from Michigan, but I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania in a manufacturing sector of our country,” Santorum said.

“We all know they call it the Rust Belt. Well, it’s not rusted much anymore. It’s turning around. There are good things happening all across the upper Midwest.”

He furthered his connection to conservatives, many of whom were in attendance as local tea parties and the Michigan Faith and Freedom Coalition sponsored the event, by relaying his beliefs in God and the importance of limited government.

“We believe in something more transcendent, something bigger, something bolder that resonates in the heart of each and everyone, that we are children of a loving God,” Santorum said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

While his speech drew applause and cheers throughout, some members of the audience who planned to vote in the Republican primary Feb. 28 and were still undecided said beforehand that they hoped to hear Santorum cover more specific issues.

“I want to hear what Rick has to say about the economy,” Scott Dudek of Richmond said prior to the speech. “He says he wants to cut taxes, but not increase spending, and I don’t know how that’s possible.”

“I’m probably between two (candidates),” Beth Kelly of Roseville said of whom she planned to vote for in the primary. “I want to hear how he’s going to fix the economy, and that’s my major concern. And that’s why I’m between two candidates right now — between (Santorum) and Romney.“

Dudek said if he were to vote now, it would likely be for Ron Paul, but he said that Santorum could still sway his vote.

“If he gave a serious speech and addressed economic issues, I would think about supporting him,” Dudek said.

And while he didn’t get into specifics during his prepared remarks, questions from the crowd quickly turned the discussion to the economy and Santorum’s plans.

Santorum covered economic issues, such as tax rates, but said the most prominent problem facing the U.S and its economy is growth in government — specifically the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act commonly known as “Obamacare.”

“We collect almost about 17 percent of GDP in revenue today,” Santorum said of the current tax rate. “Look at what we collect in revenue, and it’s about 17 percent of the overall economy and (the) average is about 18 to 19 percent.

“Spending (that) runs 18 to 20 percent is average. Where are we right now? It’s about 25 percent. So we’re five to seven points above the normal spending in America. So where’s the problem? Is it taxes or is it spending?

“And with that spending comes more control over your life and more dependency on Washington, D.C. And that’s not even counting Obamacare, which is going to make that (spending) number approach 30 percent.”

Santorum’s campaign effort in Michigan looks to build on the success he had in Feb. 7 primary wins in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota.

Santorum, who also won the Iowa caucus Jan. 3, has won 71 delegates, placing him second to Mitt Romney, who has 105 delegates after winning primaries in New Hampshire, Florida, Maine and Nevada.

The Michigan primary, which will dictate the votes of 30 delegates, takes place the same day as Arizona, which has 29 delegates. A candidate needs to win 1,144 to seal his party’s nomination.