Santorum: If Puerto Rico wants to be a state, they need to speak more English

posted at 9:02 pm on March 16, 2012 by Allahpundit

From what I can tell, his position on this has evolved ever so slightly over the past two days. Wednesday:

“Like in every other state, it [must comply] with this and every other federal law,- and that is that English should be the main language,” Santorum said in an interview with the El Vocero newspaper Wednesday. “There are other states with more than one language, as is the case with Hawaii, but to be a state of the U.S., English should be the main language.”…

Santorum’s comments left one of his supporters, Oreste Ramos, so upset that the former Puerto Rican senator rescinded his endorsement.

I’m not sure which federal law he means, but his point about the “main language” has been misunderstood. He wasn’t saying English should be the official language; it already is one of the island’s two official languages. He was saying it should be the language that’s most commonly spoken by the population. Right now that’s Spanish. Puerto Rico’s school system would have to expand its commitment to teaching English dramatically in order to make kids there as conversant in English as they are in Spanish. Watch the clip below, which was filmed yesterday after his earlier comments inspired an obligatory round of outrageous outrage, and you’ll find him reiterating that point. What you won’t find, though, is him insisting that English be “the main language” spoken on the island. He wants it to be “universal” but not necessarily more common than Spanish. A fully bilingual population would now, it seems, be A-OK.

So, no English, no statehood. Romney counters with this:

Romney’s campaign issued a statement on Thursday contrasting his position on the issue with Santorum’s.

“Puerto Rico currently recognizes both English and Spanish as the official languages of the commonwealth,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Governor Romney believes that English is the language of opportunity and supports efforts to expand English proficiency in Puerto Rico and across America. However, he would not, as a prerequisite for statehood, require that the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish.”

That’s super, but I don’t think Santorum’s asking people to stop using Spanish. He wants people to learn English in order to promote greater integration with mainland American culture. If they know Spanish too and use it privately, fine. When asked about this, a Santorum spokesman said, “In Puerto Rico, Rick would encourage people to speak English in addition to Spanish.” Addition, not subtraction.

Whatever their other differences, both Romney and Santorum support making English the official language of the U.S. Exit question via Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno: Why isn’t this a states’ rights issue? Yeah, granted, PR isn’t a state yet, but what if it agreed to Santorum’s conditions on expanding English proficiency, was granted statehood, and then reneged? What would stop it from going back to Spanish? Given the growing importance of Latino voters, I’m skeptical that Congress would make universal English proficiency a condition of federal funding for education in Puerto Rico.


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Zelsdorf Ragshaft on March 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I’m not saying Gingrich should get out – backstabbing self-promoters of low moral character deserve representation, too – but the idea he could beat Obama is just stupid. In every single match-up poll, he has fared the worst of the Republicans. The man has been hated by women and independents since the ’90s, he has the most consistently underwater approval figures of any American political figure over that time period – even years after he left office.

Adjoran on March 16, 2012 at 10:57 PM

English porn only?

whatcat on March 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Hahahaha

thirtyandseven on March 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM

For those of you who believe that Santorum is lacking “message discipline,” I agree with you. I find it particularly galling that Santorum seems to be approaching this as if Puerto Rico wants statehood. They don’t. And I don’t see it happening.

gryphon202 on March 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Indeed the Puerto Ricans have served in the US military since WW1. During the Korean Conflict the 65th Infantry better known as the “Borinqueneers” were a brave part of our history. Go to http://www.borinqueneers.com

justonevictory on March 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM

Santorum is just not ready to be president. He is all over the map with these “positions” of his. There doesn’t seem to be any focus on the topics that really matter – O’s weaknesses and the things that people really care about, like the economy and cheaper gas. Time for him to go home.

n0doz on March 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM

It’s the effing economy Rick! The economy!!!!

Malachi45 on March 16, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Why are Santorum supporters having to remind him to talk about the economy instead of…whatever the hell he’s talking about?

Good Lt on March 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Rick Santorum doesn’t realize that his winnings are purely the result of an electorate that is rebelling against an establishment who is selling us a bill of goods that were not buying!

justonevictory on March 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM

Nobody is saying not to use Spanish. However, English should be the national language and we should not be giving everyone directions in 4 different languages when we look at a business menu, street signs, or reading directions on merchandise. School’s, if they are going to be GUBBAMINT funded, should teach English as the primary language and ONLY a secondary language as an elective.

TX-96 on March 17, 2012 at 12:08 AM

bayam on March 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Puerto Rico has little choice in the matter. It’s why they are an American territory. The truth of the matter is, in gaining statehood, they’d gain a lot less than they’d lose. It would deaden their freedom, not enhance it. I’d vote against statehood if I lived there.

gryphon202 on March 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Spot On.

It could be credibly argued that Hawai’i Statehood hurt them; that State has since then seen its Dependence on Uncle Sam go up and up…

And for most of those 50+ years since Statehood, Hawai’i Government has been controlled by…

Del Dolemonte on March 17, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Attn: Rick Santorum. WHY can’t you keep on message? Why do you keep allowing those (in the media and the governing elite) — who hold you in total contempt, by the way — to lead you by the nose into box canyons on such set-up issues as: contraceptives, pornography, and, now Puerto Rican statehood.

Really, I understand that the conservative base (of which I am a constituent) wants anyone but Romney, but I’m beginning to question your ability to fight the conservative fight — that is: your ability to define the fight and explain its urgency to the American people.

This election is about two things: 1) preserving American constitutional freedoms (which is what I thought your central message was supposed to be about); and 2) reversing the socialist Democrat policies that are bringing our nation to financial ruin.

You are being BAITED, Senator. Wake up and smell the &%!@%*!! coffee.

minnesoter on March 17, 2012 at 12:21 AM

We may be seeing something very rare in Santorum: a politician who doesn’t try to give the “political” answer. Obviously, most politicians in this position would have immediately assured everyone that Spanish was a great language, and that they would never dream of suggesting people needed to speak more English.

I’m not sure how well this will work, though. We all say that we want politicians to be honest, but there’s a reason why they usually aren’t. We more or less punish those who don’t phrase their answers just so.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM

I agree with everyone wishing Santorum would stay on message – but I’m starting to wonder if his mixed up priorities are a genuine reflection of him, and if he’s simply unelectable in the same way Ron Paul is.

As for Puerta Ricans, the majority of them speak English, their Spanish is often a mix, jokingly called Spanglish, and they have contributed greatly to this nation, with large traditions in our military. There are healthy immigrant communities in New York, and New Jersey who are fiercely loyal to the US, while still considering themselves Puerta Rican. It’s a delicate history there, with some tragedy too. Knowing that, Santorum really stepped in it if he ever plans to compete in NY/NJ.

contrarytopopularbelief on March 17, 2012 at 12:31 AM

HI will be an independent country/whatever, before PR will be another U.S. state.

PR already has Spanish and English as their official languages.

Santorum and Romney just pander on topic.

They and so many commenters have been dead wrong and ignorant on topic.

Schadenfreude on March 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

If going to Puerto Rico and telling them they have to speak English to be a state is an example of Santorum pandering, then he’s very, very bad at it.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM

This isn’t the point. Santorum should have the brains to STATE that he has bigger fish to fry than this sort of picayune BS. The elites would raid against him for it, the people who vote would appreciate the honesty and the GRIT to stand up to the media drones who want this upcoming election to be about anything BUT the issues that matter.

minnesoter on March 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM

He reminds me a lot of Rick Perry.

Mirimichi on March 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Okay. I’m done. Romney will be the nominee. All of his rivals have managed to take THEMSELVES out of the running. Although Rick did give true conservatives a thrill for a few days. But the writing’s on the wall. Neither Rick, nor Newt has the self-control and common sense to run a winning campaign.

Romney it is. May he be as fierce against Obama as he was against his not-ready-for-prime-time GOP rivals.

minnesoter on March 17, 2012 at 12:47 AM

Why isn’t this a states’ rights issue?

Yes, it is. That’s why Santorum is a statist. When discussing his ideological beliefs, he has no problem saying he respects federalism. When he actually has to apply it, his lust for central power kicks in.

MadisonConservative on March 16, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Puerto Rico is not a state, so how can it be a states’ rights issue?

You need a better example to support calling Santorum a statist.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM

This isn’t the point. Santorum should have the brains to STATE that he has bigger fish to fry than this sort of picayune BS. The elites would raid against him for it, the people who vote would appreciate the honesty and the GRIT to stand up to the media drones who want this upcoming election to be about anything BUT the issues that matter.

minnesoter on March 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM

I think Santorum would be a better politician is he could learn to avoid answering certain questions that are intended to make him look bad. So I’m with you in that sense.

But let’s not minimize the fact that he was answering a question, and that questions in Puerto Rico are likely to at least touch on statehood. It might not be that easy to avoid answering these questions.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM

If going to Puerto Rico and telling them they have to speak English to be a state is an example of Santorum pandering, then he’s very, very bad at it.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM

He was pandering to his adherents, unwittingly.

Schadenfreude on March 17, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Yea, there’s nothing worse than porn with subtitles.

Minnfidel on March 17, 2012 at 1:50 AM

He just means you shouldn’t have to press 2 for English. It should always be 1.

Ronnie on March 17, 2012 at 2:21 AM

For those who still can’t see that this clown has no chance, look at his big win in Bammie compared to his upcoming loss in PR. He picked up a whole 19 delegates from AL while Mitt got 11. In PR alone, Mitt will win 23 more delegates!

MJBrutus on March 17, 2012 at 2:57 AM

That’s it he is done. No way A candidate should get sidetracked on this.

jake49 on March 17, 2012 at 5:17 AM

La campana del Santo esta muerta!

MJBrutus on March 17, 2012 at 6:27 AM

¡La campaña de Santorum es una vergüenza!

bluegill on March 17, 2012 at 7:21 AM

For those who still can’t see that this clown has no chance…

MJBrutus on March 17, 2012 at 2:57 AM

And Ol’ Brylcreem, who’s been running for 6 years, had a top organization and had money coming out his ears, still hasn’t put it away. LOL But he’s going to take it to Obama, yesireee…

ddrintn on March 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM

But let’s not minimize the fact that he was answering a question, and that questions in Puerto Rico are likely to at least touch on statehood. It might not be that easy to avoid answering these questions.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM

True, but he should have known that he was likely to get this question, and have been prepared with a brief, uncontroversial response, which would have enabled him to move on quickly. He either has no one advising him on this stuff, or his advisors are as undisciplined as he is.

Priscilla on March 17, 2012 at 7:53 AM

And Ol’ Brylcreem, who’s been running for 6 years, had a top organization and had money coming out his ears, still hasn’t put it away. LOL But he’s going to take it to Obama, yesireee…

ddrintn on March 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM

Face reality. Romney has won the nomination, and you know it. You are just a desperate supporter of either Newt or Santorum, so you have to try to push the myth that Romney is somehow underperforming.

The reason Romney isn’t closer to the 1154 yet is because the primary calendar schedule this year isn’t front-loaded like it was in 2008.

Let’s compare Romney’s share of the vote in primaries and caucuses VS. McCain’s 4 years ago. You will see that Romney is doing significantly better than McCain did:

McCain 2008 VS. Romney 2012
In Comparable Primaries and Caucuses

Iowa

McCain 2008 Share: 13%

Romney 2012 Share: 25%

New Hampshire

McCain 2008 Share: 37%

Romney 2012 Share: 39%

Michigan

McCain 2008 Share: 30%

Romney 2012 Share: 41%

Nevada

McCain 2008 Share: 13%

Romney 2012 Share: 50%

Florida

McCain 2008 Share: 36%

Romney 2012 Share: 46%

Main

McCain 2008 Share: 22%

Romney 2012 Share: 38%

Alabama

McCain 2008 Share: 37%

Romney 2012 Share: 29%

Arizona

McCain 2008 Share: 47%

Romney 2012 Share: 47%

Colorado

McCain 2008 Share: 18%

Romney 2012 Share: 35%

Georgia

McCain 2008 Share: 32%

Romney 2012 Share: 26%

Mass

McCain 2008 Share: 41%

Romney 2012 Share: 72%

Minn

McCain 2008 Share: 22%

Romney 2012 Share: 17%

ND

McCain 2008 Share: 23%

Romney 2012 Share: 24%

Oklahoma

McCain 2008 Share: 37%

Romney 2012 Share: 28%

TN

McCain 2008 Share: 32%

Romney 2012 Share: 38%

Wyoming

McCain 2008 Share: 0%

Romney 2012 Share: 39%

bluegill on March 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Face reality. Romney has won the nomination, and you know it. You are just a desperate supporter of either Newt or Santorum, so you have to try to push the myth that Romney is somehow underperforming.

LOL….”underperforming” is an understatement. The guy, as I said, has been running for 3 years, is loaded with campaign cash and organization and has been pimped as Mr Electable for the past 3 years at least. Even with all this he can’t put away a couple of GOP second-stringers, and you want to say he’s performing to expectations? LOL

Let’s compare Romney’s share of the vote in primaries and caucuses VS. McCain’s 4 years ago. You will see that Romney is doing significantly better than McCain did:

bluegill on March 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Now give us the relative turnout levels in those states.

ddrintn on March 17, 2012 at 8:21 AM

* has been running for the past 6 years, I meant to say.

ddrintn on March 17, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Ye Gods, we are doomed.

Spliff Menendez on March 17, 2012 at 9:05 AM

LOL….”underperforming” is an understatement. The guy, as I said, has been running for 3 years, is loaded with campaign cash and organization and has been pimped as Mr Electable for the past 3 years at least. Even with all this he can’t put away a couple of GOP second-stringers, and you want to say he’s performing to expectations? LOL

ddrintn on March 17, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Let’s pretend that in 2008 when McCain was leading Romney by about the same as what Romney is leading the others now & when Romney had enough intelligence to see the writing on the wall & drop out to give the GOP a chance to unite instead of saying even if he couldn’t win he was going to make sure McCain didn’t win to soothe his ego, didn’t happen. I mean, we have to for what you wrote to make sense, but let’s pretend.

You are actually conceding that Santorum & Newt are “second-stringers.” Seriously, that is your defense of your position? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Dark Star on March 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM

I remember Hillary stating that the U.S. should make English speaking the law. This was during the dem primary. I was pleasantly surprised to hear her say it, but heard it only that once. It should be on tape somewhere, as I saw it on TV.

so-notbuyingit on March 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Ah, not by law, but – seriously, what’s the difference. She’s hiding behind the truth:

“Q: Is there any downside to the US becoming a bilingual nation?
A: It’s important for as many Americans as possible to do what I have never been able to do, and that is learn another language and try to be bilingual because that connects us to the rest of the world. It is important that English remain our common unifying language because that brings our country together in a way that we have seen generations of immigrants coming to our shores be able to be part of the American experience and pursue the American dream. I have been adamantly against the efforts by some to make English the official language. That I do not believe is appropriate, and I have voted against it and spoken against it. I represent New York. We have 170 languages in NYC alone. I do not think we should be, in any way, discriminating against people who do not speak English, who use facilities like hospitals or have to go to court to enforce their rights. But English does remain an important part of the American experience.”

so-notbuyingit on March 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

With a show of hands - how many of you Santorum supporters have been supporting him since the start? (He declared in June 2011) Well, who was your first choice, second choice, third choice? Bachmann, Cain, Newt, Perry then Newt again? How about those who weren’t even running? Trump, Palin, Christie, Daniels, Bush – did you want these folks in the race? According to ALL NATIONAL GOP POLLS – Santorum polled in the LOW SINGLE DIGITS CONSISTENTLY (5% and lower) and only broke into double digits at the start of 2012. Santorum is the absolute BOTTOM OF THE BARREL for those who are ABR (anybody but Romney) It is a shame that Romney must spend all this money now when it would be best used against Obama. And face it, Santorum and Newt know this. IS YOUR DISLIKE FOR ROMNEY REALLY WORTH AN OBAMA SECOND TERM?

BabysCatz on March 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Why isn’t this a states’ rights issue?

Yes, it is. That’s why Santorum is a statist. When discussing his ideological beliefs, he has no problem saying he respects federalism. When he actually has to apply it, his lust for central power kicks in.

MadisonConservative on March 16, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Puerto Rico is not a state, so how can it be a states’ rights issue?

You need a better example to support calling Santorum a statist.

There Goes The Neighborhood on March 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM

FYI — MadisonConservative has written a number of posts and comments supporting his conclusion that Santorum is a statist (you may find some in The Green Room archives); that’s why he’s off-handedly included this minor example as yet one more example supporting his already well-developed conclusion that Santorum is a right-wing statist.

ShainS on March 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

FYI — MadisonConservative has written a number of posts and comments supporting his conclusion that Santorum is a statist (you may find some in The Green Room archives); that’s why he’s off-handedly included this minor example as yet one more example supporting his already well-developed conclusion that Santorum is a right-wing statist.

ShainS on March 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

You can argue that position. This is not an example of it. Sorry Santorum detractors. Maddy has a lot of good points, but I think he was a little off the mark here.

gryphon202 on March 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I’ve never fully understood the language issue. If we don’t preserve it, English will eventually cease to be the language associated with the US and subsequently will lose its standing as a language that opens doors. Currently, it’s the closest thing we have to a universal language.

If we accept that education is such a big deal that we need to force it down our children’s throat, then how basic is English education? If you don’t understand the language, it doesn’t matter how many PhD’s you have, you’re unlikely to contribute more than manual labor for that population. I’ve had friends spend years in foreign countries just to teach children in public schools English. It’s absurd that Americans would go to school without learning it. And I fail to understand why Americans should support funding education that does not include English learning. You may as well ask me to support funding education that doesn’t include literacy.

All that said, I believe this is a non issue. Does Puerto Rico even want statehood?

Esthier on March 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

All that said, I believe this is a non issue. Does Puerto Rico even want statehood?

Esthier on March 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

No, they don’t.

It is an issue, in that it has exposed Rick and Mitt as total ignoramuses.

Schadenfreude on March 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

It is an issue, in that it has exposed Rick and Mitt as total ignoramuses.

Schadenfreude on March 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Exposed? Aren’t we a little late in the primary for that? Seems to have been a well documented fact for months now.

Esthier on March 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Does Puerto Rico even want statehood?

Esthier on March 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

No. They’ve shown absolutely no inclination towards wanting it either. If I were puerto rican, I wouldn’t.

gryphon202 on March 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

There is no reason to consider adding states that have no interest in the common bond of language.

If Puerto Rico wants to join the Union, this is a simple choice for them to make.

Freddy on March 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Maybe a better question is: Why is there a primary in a place that has no electoral votes? What purpose does allowing voters in Puerto Rico to possibly decide this primary serve?

Freddy on March 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Maybe a better question is: Why is there a primary in a place that has no electoral votes? What purpose does allowing voters in Puerto Rico to possibly decide this primary serve?

Freddy on March 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Ask the RNC that. PR isn’t the only one, either. American Samoa had nine delegates that went to Willard Milton, too.

gryphon202 on March 17, 2012 at 6:16 PM

For those who still can’t see that this clown has no chance, look at his big win in Bammie compared to his upcoming loss in PR. He picked up a whole 19 delegates from AL while Mitt got 11. In PR alone, Mitt will win 23 more delegates!

MJBrutus on March 17, 2012 at 2:57 AM

Total indictment of the primary delegate system. There’s just no call for PR to have more delegates than AL.

alwaysfiredup on March 17, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Why is there a primary in a place that has no electoral votes? What purpose does allowing voters in Puerto Rico to possibly decide this primary serve?

Freddy on March 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

My guess would be to give an edge to the Party choice. ymmv.

alwaysfiredup on March 17, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Speak English, eh? Does that mean that we in California are going to lose our statehood?

Maybe he could give a speech out here or something.

That would work.

Mmmm hmmmm.

Nice job, Ricardo.

Pablo Snooze on March 18, 2012 at 10:33 PM

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