The Spectacle Blog

K-Lo: Santorum Gains Momentum

By on 8.14.11 | 9:48AM

At NRO, Kathryn Lopez writes that Rick Santorum should be happy with the results of the Iowa straw poll. I agree. He clearly has moved from the bottom tier of candidates (in terms of political strength) to the middle tier. He defeated Harman Cain for fourth -- a result, four months ago, that would hvae been unexpected, because Cain was so on fire (before Michelle Bachmann's entrance) that some thought he would finish very close to a victory at Ames. Santorum survives while Tim Pawlenty withdraws. (If I were Santorum, I would call Pawlenty and ask for his endorsement; it can't hurt, and the truth is that the two of them are probably closest on substance of any two candidates in the race.) Santorum also is the only one who clearly exceeded the expectations that most would have put forth even a week or so earlier.

Meanwhile, as everybody is gushing over Bachmann's win, Sarah Palin continues to flirt with getting in the race -- which would probably cut Bachmann's support right in half. And while conservatives do their swoon over Rick Perry, a Wall Street Journal writer does the due diligence that so many conservatives -- in these days of instant-gratification and American Idol mindset -- repeatedly fail to do. This is serious stuff, this crony capitalism charge against Perry:

All told, the Dallas Morning News has found that some $16 million from the tech fund has gone to firms in which major Perry contributors were either investors or officers, and $27 million from the fund has gone to companies founded or advised by six advisory board members. The tangle of interests surrounding the fund has raised eyebrows throughout the state, especially among conservatives who think the fund is a misplaced use of taxpayer dollars to start with. "It is fundamentally immoral and arrogant," says state representative David Simpson, a tea party-backed freshman from Longview, two hours east of Dallas. The fund "opened the door to the appearance of impropriety, if not actual impropriety."

All of which means that this race is wide open. Romney, Bahmann, Perry, Palin, and, yes, Santorum, all have potential paths to victory.

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