Why isn’t Rick Santorum the GOP 2016 frontrunner?

“We have a tendency as Republicans to really identify with achievers,” Santorum began. “We’re big fans of free enterprise. We know the greatness of our free market system that has created wealth beyond any other country in the world. So it’s natural for us to see successful entrepreneurs as heroes, because in many respects they are, because they’ve been part of building something that has greatly benefited everybody in society.”

“But we tend not to see the folks who are behind the counter or on the factory line or in the wash room as heroes, even though they built it too, right? They were part of building it. It’s not that we don’t think they’re good people, but we don’t celebrate them, because they’re not the ones leading the effort. And I think that’s a flaw — not that we shouldn’t celebrate the job creators, but we also have to celebrate the job holders. I believe in entrepreneurs, but that’s a very small segment of the population, and to be crass politically, we’ve already got most of those folks, because if they’re small business people, they know that big government is an albatross around their necks. So we need to talk more specifically about what we can do to create job opportunities for people instead of business opportunities for people.”

On the stump, Santorum often reminded audiences that fewer than one-third of adult Americans have graduated from college. (The precise number, from the Census Bureau, is that 28.2 percent of adults age 25 or older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.) That non-college majority earns less than people with degrees, but Santorum does not believe Republicans should simply push for more people to go to college. “No!” he says. Many college programs costs vast amounts of money and don’t give degree-holders marketable skills, he says, and the liberal regime in place at so many colleges doesn’t instill the values he believes are fundamental to American greatness. And, most importantly, many people just aren’t cut out for college.