Happy Valentine’s Day to Rick Santorum, the current sweetheart of the condom-hating mystics we call the Republican Base.
Mr. Santorum has surged ahead of Mitt Romney in current polls. He leads nationally by a few percentage points, and he leads in Michigan, Mr. Romney’s birth state, by 15 points in the PPP poll and 3 points in the Rasmussen. This is the state where Mr. Romney grew up. His father was governor there, and not an unpopular one. If Mr. Santorum wins there, Mr. Romney should come to an obvious conclusion, one we will state clearly:
Mitt, they’re just not that into you.
One of the greatest delights of this circus show that is the GOP Primary has been the extreme disdain most Republicans have for the man who will probably still be their candidate. He is perceived – correctly – as "inauthentic." There is a true Mitt Romney somewhere at the core of the mannequin we see on the television set, but that authentic man would be so odd to the rest of us that we would be more put off than we are by this mirage. The True Romney belongs in a temple, in a white robe, performing arcane acts. Or strapping his dog to the top of his car and giggling about it. The True Romney is a rather odd bloke.
So we get this ersatz Romney, a creature of artifice, and the Republican base slavers for authenticity.
They’ve given everyone else a shot at it, from the Walking Brain Dead trio of Bachmann, Cain, and Perry, to the bombastic Mr. Gingrich. (What’s up with him, anyway? He seems to have fallen off the map, news-wise. Ah, we remember. He is consciously attempting to alienate every "Liberal Media Elite" journalist in the country. Remarkable how little press that generates. Brilliant, Mr. Gingrich – though we are not surprised by this level of intellectual thoughtlessness from the Man Who Failed To Achieve Tenure At Tulane.)
Only Ron Paul and Rick Santorum remain as a viable alternative to Mr. Romney. Mr. Paul’s views on the military and foreign policy do not gibe with a party base whose ideas about international interaction come from the video game Command and Conquer.
Which leaves Rick Santorum.
The former senator and current professional lobbyist (oops, "corporate consultant") will have his day. He will make some noise. He embraces the mystical Opus Dei Catholic hatred of birth control, which seems to be the only argument the Republicans have for Why They Should Lead. But he is underfunded and outmatched in a nationwide race, and Mr. Romney is still a 4-1 favorite to win the GOP primary.
The fun will really begin then, as 60 percent of the Republican Party’s base, the percentage that really, really doesn’t like Mr. Romney, will then have to pretend that they love him, they have always loved him, that he’s dreamy, that he’s everything they could ever, ever want in a big hunk-a candidate. We’ll all know, though. We will all know that they, like the rest of us, are just not that into him.
Happy Valentine’s Day, all. Remember to practice safe sex tonight, even if you work at a Catholic-run hospital.