The Spectacle Blog

Suppose Santorum Wins Iowa

By on 12.29.11 | 3:59PM

For the sake of argument, let's suppose Rick Santorum shocks the world and wins the Iowa Caucus next Tuesday.

I don't think it will do him a lot of good in New Hampshire. Now don't get me wrong. It might be good enough for a third place finish. Yet it would be a distant third as was the case with Mike Huckabee who finished well back of John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008. Santorum's brand of social conservatism doesn't wear well in New England.

But I think South Carolina is different kettle of fish altogether. There are a lot more social conservatives in the Palmetto state and if Bachmann, Perry and Newt are out of the picture then Santorum becomes a viable alternative to both Romney and Ron Paul. I still can't see Romney winning South Carolina even if he were to win in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Nor do I think the endorsement of Governor Nikki Haley will do Romney many favors as her standing amongst Republicans has taken a hit of late. However, if Bachmann, Perry or Newt are still around then it cuts into Santorum's support and gives Romney a chance to prevail.

Doug Mataconis puts it this way where it concerns Ron Paul, "You win the nomination by appealing to Republicans, and it's becoming eminently clear that both mainline and conservative Republicans want nothing to do with Ron Paul."

As for Santorum, he is certainly capable of appealing to Republicans. But do mainline and conservative Republicans want to have anything to do with him? Santorum's greatest weakness is his acerbic manner which has shown itself on more than one occasion during the GOP debates. That won't help him if he should have to debate President Obama. If that side of him shows then he will be cast as angry and bitter. Ronald Reagan proved that a touch of honey is farmore effective than a tablespoon of vinegar. I'm not sure if Santorum has even a smidgen of The Gipper's sunny disposition.

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