View the trailer
Advertisement

The Hugh Hewitt Show

Listen 24/7 Live: Mon - Fri   6 - 9 AM Eastern
Hugh Hewitt Book ClubHugh Hewitt Book Club
European Voyage Cruise 2017 Advertisement

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on his former colleagues’ increasing lack of resolve on the war.

Saturday, July 7, 2007
Advertisement

HH: We begin first with one of our favorite Americans, Rick Santorum, long time Senator from Pennsylvania, now in a number of different roles. Senator Santorum, always a pleasure to talk to you, sir.

RS: Great to be with you again, Hugh. How are you doing?

HH: Good. I thought of you today because your colleagues in the Senate, your former colleagues, including Pete Domenici, Richard Lugar, George Voinovich and John Warner are going south on the war, and I know when you were in the Senate, you were one of the principal advocates for a strong forward policy. What is going on with your friends and your former colleagues?

RS: Well, you know, it’s a combination of things. First, from the standpoint of Lugar and Voinovich, the first two, they’re both on the Foreign Relations Committee. Both of them deal extensively, unfortunately, with our State Department. And you know, I think the State Department has very much a defeatist attitude right now. They’re in full ‘let’s just negotiate this thing away, and we can talk to our enemies who vow to kill us and destroy is, whether it’s Iran or the al Qaeda in Iraq, or whatever the case may be.’ It’s a very defeatist attitude there, and it’s infecting not only Voinovich and Lugar, but I believe it’s infecting the administration. And we’ve seen, in my opinion, a lack of resolve of this administration to really go out there and identify the enemy, and confront the enemy with the clarity we need to win this war. And look, once the leaders begin to fall, then others will fall. And I think Domenici’s in a tough race in New Mexico, Warner is in a similar situation here in Virginia. So I mean it’s not a pleasant scene when you see politics start to enter into the situation where people begin trying to cut their losses and get out when the getting gets good.

HH: But Senator Santorum, I know that you stayed tough throughout a very tough race, even though your opponent was not taking any position that anyone could go after him. Pete Domenici, you know, he’s got a 51% approval rating, which isn’t very healthy. I can’t imagine that the Republican base is going to applaud this. Do you think they’re just going to sit back and say that’s fine, he can desert the President on the war, and we will still support him?

RS: I’ve got to tell you, I’m very disappointed, and disappointed in all four of those, my former colleagues. They should know better. In fact, they do know better. They know that this is a very serious threat, they know that if we are to withdraw our troops and stop resisting their attempts to conquer that region of the world, that they will soon end up on our doorstep. If we didn’t learn anything from the events of 9/11, certainly the Islamists’ attempts of attacking our European allies, particularly the UK, should give us some pause that these people will prey on weakness. They saw the transition of power from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, and they saw the appeasement of the Brits of trying to, you know, get out of the Middle East and get the troops withdrawn. And so what was their response? They stepped up their terror attacks. I mean, you have to understand, they don’t think like we do. They don’t see people reaching out saying let’s work and compromise, and let’s try to find meaningful middle ground as anything but weakness. They will exploit that weakness by going after you. And so learn lessons. Don’t learn the lessons you learned growing in your own neighborhood, because they’re not growing up in those neighborhoods. They’re growing up in very different neighborhoods with very different worldviews, and responses to different stimuli. We need to understand that, and we need to react accordingly.

HH: Now Rick Santorum, obviously, you had to have watched in some amazement as your colleagues also got the immigration bill completely backwards. One of my great friends in the Senate, one of your great friends, too, Jon Kyl’s going to be on, talking with me about that after the break. But it leads me to conclude, is there something about serving in the Senate that gets people away from the folks who sent them there? What is it?

RS: Well, first off, I saw your piece on Jon Kyl, and I thought it was a really terrific and classy piece. I know you and Jon disagree on the immigration issue, but I think you recognize Jon is a stand up guy…

HH: Yup.

RS: And I think Jon ultimately, on this particular bill, got it wrong. But I think overall, he’s gone a lot to move the bill in the right direction, and he’s doing his best to try to get as good a bill as possible. And so you understood that, and I appreciate your fairness in dealing with him on that issue. They did get it wrong, though, and you know, it is amazing. I went out, in my campaign in 2006, and I heard it clearly from the voters that they just had no faith in the people in charge in Washington, D.C. to uphold the laws that we currently have, and so they’re not going to give you any leeway to create new laws that they’re not going to uphold, particularly when it gives those who are in this country the right to stay here indefinitely because of the new statute. So we need to learn lessons. And we should have learned them during 9/11, and we should respond accordingly. We should also learn them from the standpoint of prior immigration bills, and take those lessons, and move them forward, and understand we have to solve the border problem first. We don’t solve that problem, nothing else is going to happen.

HH: Now I’ll let you go soon, Rick Santorum, but one more question. Have you seen the presidential candidates on our side doing what needs to be done? Are you happy with the quality of the arguments that Giuliani and Romney and Fred Thompson are making about the war and about the need for seriousness? Are you confident that they will continue to make those arguments?

RS: You know, I’ve talked to all three of the major candidates, that I think will be the major candidates, and that’s Giuliani, Romney and Thompson. I think those will be the three major candidates when we head into the final analysis. And I think all of them understand the issue very, very well, they understand particularly the importance of Iran, and confronting Iran in the Middle East as an absolute lynchpin for our success in that region, and I think they are committed to that. And while it may not be a popular thing to talk about right now, and I know public sentiment is against it, they understand the importance of the national security of this country, and they also understand that between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view, and part of it will be the education that these three men will be imparting on the American public during the course of this campaign.

HH: I hope you’re right. Rick Santorum, boy, we miss you in the Senate, but I’m glad you’re saying in the public square and swinging from the hips on this one, and I appreciate it very much. Rick Santorum, always a pleasure. Thank you, Senator.

RS: Thanks, Hugh.

HH: We really did do ourselves a nightmarish disservice, Pennsylvania, to the whole country when you let that guy get out, one of the most serious, bright thinkers in American politics, doing what had to be done.

End of interview.

Advertise With UsAdvertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Sierra Pacific Mortgage Advertisement
Hear what Hugh has to say about
Health Markets
Advertisement
Advertisement
Back to Top