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February 8, 2012 - 9:21 am

Congratulations are in order for former Sen. Rick Santorum after last night’s “Santorum Slam,” taking all three contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

We should probably take a look first at what this means. Then, I think it’s probably wise to dispel some notions that are floating around that make little sense to me.

1) Is Santorum a real threat to go all the way?

Absolutely. He is probably the best of the “B” teamers that make up this incredibly weak field. He is articulate, and has some political instincts where Romney has near zero. He has less “baggage” than his two main opponents.

2) Can he knock Gingrich off the “not Romney” perch?

Absolutely. In fact, I was surprised it didn’t come in Nevada, but am not the least bit surprised that Gingrich was an also-ran, running about par with Ron Paul for the “most irrelevant” candidate of the evening.

Technically, Santorum didn’t knock Gingrich off the “not Romney” perch, Gingrich flung himself onto the rocks below himself.

3) Is Gingrich done? Put a fork in him? Is this a two man race now?

Yes. And no.

Unfortunately for Santorum, Paul and Gingrich are likely to hang around like a couple of hair krishnas at an airport handing out plastic flowers and waiting for someone to give them something to make them go away.

Ron Paul couldn’t win a state that wasn’t named dementia.

Gingrich has no discipline, no organization, soon to have no money, and he no longer has a receptive audience to his combination spitball fight and diva hissy fit against Romney.

Santorum schooled Gingrich in how to take on Romney. And Gingrich fell off the sled with a thud.

Gingrich is hoping beyond hope that he can last until he smells Southern cooking again.

The Santorum Sweep pushed Gingrich under the rug. Arizona and Maine aren’t going to help Newtrino’s narrative. To be relevant, he’s going to have to go after Santorum, or go away. The latter makes the most sense, which is why it will never cross the Gingrich campaign’s minds.

The Newtonian Implosion is near complete. All he can do now, is be the Santorum spoiler, handing the nomination to Romney on a silver platter.

What does the Santorum Slam NOT mean?

It doesn’t mean he’s a great general election candidate. He’s not.

He’s getting better. He’s the best of a bad lot. It also doesn’t mean that he is likely to win enough delegates before the convention. It doesn’t even mean he is likely to win the next two states, Maine and Arizona. Nor does it mean that he will necessarily finish off the Newtonian Implosion in the south.

Santorum is a flawed candidate, but so is everyone else. His flaws, however, bump up against swing states. The “live and let live” crowd will be turned off completely by a hard core social issues guy.

Book it. It’s an enormous hurdle. May not be fair, may not be right, may not make sense. It’s going to be a problem.

What else does the Santorum slam not mean? It doesn’t mean that the “establishment” disappeared, that there are unicorns and pixie dust extinctions, or that Karl Rove lost his magic wand.

There never was an “establishment” behind the scenes doing something to Gingrich. Santorum proved that. Ed Morrissey and Michele Malkin weren’t “sellouts”. There is no conservative “pravda”.

The Santorum Slam proved that the Newtonian Implosion was self-caused.

Romney still is a horrible candidate. He’s tone deaf. His message is weak, tepid, …really marginal on substance.

He has no connection with the base, or with…well, humans, actually.

A brokered convention is in the cards. If the four horsemen of the apocalypse all stay in for the duration (most likely scenario), nobody is going to have enough to win by August.

Maybe then, the GOP will come to its senses. I sincerely doubt it.

That will leave Romney, who is not capable of articulating a message that defends the free market, much less advances it.

Or Santorum, who has very high hurdles to scale in the swing states which are absolutely necessary to defeat Obama.

The Santorum Slam: He’s the best of what’s there to choose from now. Good for him.

Not sure for the rest of us.

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