On the GOP field, part three.

Yesterday an anonymous reader e-mailed, asking: “Your thoughts on Rick Santorum?” He or she apparently has read neither this post nor this post.

If I may address the matter a bit more seriously than in the January post:

Obviously, Santorum has survived much longer than I thought he would. I still tend to think that the “Massachusetts moderate” will be the nominee. Santorum wants to be the anti-Romney (i.e., the candidate of the conservative wing of the Republican party), but he has more than a few moderate skeletons in his closet. He has to explain some votes for those huge social spending projects that the conservatives don’t like. Furthermore, he’s got to explain his support for the presidential candidacy of that famously moderate Republican-on-occasion Arlen “Not proven, therefore not guilty” Specter back in the 90s. He’s also got a bit of the protectionist streak in him at a time when rank-and-file Republicans aren’t in the mood for it.

So I think Romney will paint Santorum as moderate, or at least as no more conservative than Romney. I think that any sense of equivalence between the two favors Romney, since he’s got more money and more endorsements.

Gingrich has flaked out, though he had a brief surge of success that I hadn’t anticipated. Ron Paul’s getting about as much of the vote as he can expect. I think the Tea Party movement and the libertarian wing of the party are going to have to wait another cycle or two before they find a candidate who gathers major primary support.

But, again, who knows? The GOP race has been strange, and just about the only detail anyone’s gotten right is that Romney would lead, though even that hasn’t held throughout. Maybe they’ll have a much-dreaded (though much-hoped-for by political junkies) brokered convention and they’ll pick a dark horse like Christie or Daniels or Ryan. Or Palin. Or Rubio. Or Jeb Bush, maybe with a different last name and a fake moustache.

Heck, maybe Obama will declare his candidacy as a Republican and pick up a few states here and there. Why not?

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