At CFIF I predict what will happen IF — IF, IF, IF, not when — Rick Santorum wins the caucuses tonight. Basically, I think if he wins the caucuses straight-up, he will end up winning the whole nomination.
Okay, but what then?
I’ve said for well over a year that IF Santorum wins the nomination, he would have an easier time winning the general election than he had in winning the nomination.
In short, if he is the Republican nominee, he will defeat Obama and become president. Why? Because he knows how to appeal, on a sort of “keeping it real” level, to the proverbial “middle American.” And also because Obama can win only if he can effectively demonize his opponent. Well, Santorum can only be demonized so much. His record is consistent, and he’s rather squeakily clean — and his only serious drawback, his media caricature as a one-trick pony of social conservatism, is easy, in a long campaign, to refute.
Rick Santorum has been underestimated by the punditocracy for his whole career. Even as he surges in Iowa, he is being underestimated, in terms of his campaign’s long-term viability, again. Pundits don’t know squat.