Rick Santorum has a secret weapon. He’s such an appalling person with so little to offer humanity that Republican voters picked him last as their anti-Romney candidate. They flirted with Donald Trump. They picked Michele Bachmann at the Ames Straw Poll. They thought they would love Rick Perry. Herman Cain titillated them with the simplicity of his 9-9-9 tax plan. They turned to Newt Gingrich in abject desperation.
And then the clock ran out. Tomorrow, Iowa voters will caucus. And Santorum has timed it just right. The trick was to be the least appealing candidate in the field. By being the dead-last option of the GOP base, he wound up avoiding negative publicity until it was too late to stop his frothy rise in the polls. This is not a case of the porridge being “just right.” This is simply a result of the fact that Rick Santorum was the least appetizing candidate and the last to be tasted.
He looks almost certain to finish in the top three, and an outright win is not out of the question. The polls are tight, but they should be more accurate than what we get from polls of the Democratic caucuses because there is no threshold for viability in the Republican caucuses. You don’t get to vote for your second choice if your first choice lacks sufficient support.
There is only one other candidate left to sample, and he’s too busy insulting Iowans to be a factor tomorrow. Jon Huntsman may look like a plate of liver and onions, but once people get a good look at Santorum and send the dish back, liver and onions will be the only thing left on the menu. I expect New Hampshire to grab a fork and napkin, and to have a taste.