Rick Santorum — that would be the former Senator from Pennsylvania who’s been out of office for almost eight years after being defeated for re-election by 18 points, and losing the 2012 GOP presidential nomination to Designated Megaloser Mitt Romney — is running for president again. On the theory, apparently, that if you get rejected by your own state, you might as well go national, even if you’ve already lost once. Hey, it worked for Mitt!
Rick Santorum won primaries and caucuses in 11 states in 2012, coming in a respectable second in the GOP presidential primary season. And Republicans have a history of bestowing their nomination on the next guy in line, usually an also-ran from the last contest. Yet the former senator from Pennsylvania is rarely mentioned in the already feverish pre-game 2016 chatter among the political commentariat and the donor class.
That’s just the way he likes it. Or so he says. “America loves an underdog. We’re definitely the underdog in this race,” he said in an interview Tuesday. Santorum added that being underestimated — again — “has given me a lot of latitude.”
The 20012 Republican candidate field was the worst in living memory (Herman Cain? Michele Bachmann?), so Santorum did respectably enough in a race he had little chance to win against Mitt’s Money. But with a good crop heading for 2016, he might want to reconsider.
Reflecting on how a presidential campaign could be different this time around, Santorum said: “We’re just obviously in a better place right now. Our message will be a lot more focused this time than it was last time.”