Santorum: The Blue-collar Candidate

by Robert Costa

The former senator touts his working-class roots:

Once at the podium, Santorum quoted Christian apologist C. S. Lewis, and thanked his family; he applauded his political team and reflected on his Iowa travels. Then he turned to the next battlefield, New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on Tuesday. As he has done on the trail all winter, Santorum highlighted his populist message, with its emphasis on reviving U.S. manufacturing. That blue-collar appeal, he said, will be his campaign’s unabashed message as it looks to challenge Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in most national polls. In contrast to Romney, a son of Michigan privilege and Harvard grad, Santorum hopes to be the working-class hero.

“The message I shared with you tonight is not an Iowa message or an Iowa-and-South Carolina message,” Santorum said. “It’s a message that will resonate across this land.” Indeed, in conversations with National Review Online, Santorum’s senior advisers hint that gritty, middle-class rhetoric could be a recipe for success in New Hampshire, where recession-plagued factory towns dot the state’s ten counties. Romney, the Santorum aides argue, has spent millions making the Granite State his “firewall,” but their guy, with his Rust Belt roots, could easily surge. New Hampshire may have a “moderate” reputation, Biundo says, but it has a history of choosing populist conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan in the 1996 Republican primary.

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