Again, many factors played into Santorum's resurgence in a very good week for his campaign. Newt's implosion, the revulsion of the voters with the negative campaigning of Mitt and Newt, Santorum's positive message and strong debate performance, his strategy of skipping Nevada, Obama's Catholic fiasco, and last but not least, the persistence of the "Not Romney" contingent, all played a part. I hesitate to say it, but if Newt is not dead, he is at least mortally wounded, and the "not Romney" vote has moved on to the last man standing (I don't see them considering Ron Paul an alternative). Though Missouri's "beauty contest" binds no delegates, I'm pretty sure this is the first primary any candidate has cracked the 50% barrier, and it wasn't Romney. Suddenly Santorum is tied for the lead in national polls. Mitt had better hope that Newt doesn't see the writing on the wall and decide to cut his losses any time soon. No doubt Romney and others will drag out the mudslinging before long, but Santorum might be a little too squeaky clean for that to be effective. So far the knocks they have on him are pretty weak, and a little contrived.
It might be a different story in the general election, as Santorum seems to feed into what appears to be the Democratic strategy of "divide and conquer", or perhaps more accurately "polarize and plunder". What seemed to be an absurd line of questioning by George Stephanopoulis back in one of the early debates regarding whether it would be constitutional for a state to ban contraception, now appears to have been a "reporter" advancing an agenda with a little "inside information". It seems to be the strategy of the Obama team to move the contest out of the past (his record), and into the future (more hope and change). The controversy with the Catholic Church was less about the mandate, something that didn't need to be addressed before the election at all; and more about cementing the "women vote" and energizing the "liberal" vote by introducing a polarizing issue into the marketplace. Look for this to continue with things like combat roles for women and other wedge issues such as same-sex marriage, tax policy, immigration, and budgetary matters. The modus operandi will be to introduce controversial issues into the public forum (often needlessly), in order to force the Republicans to take a stand and alienate large segments of the electorate. But in so doing doesn't the Obama team risk alienating many people themselves? Yes, but as the polls showed with the Catholic controversy, he believes he can gain more than he loses, and then possibly win back a few by walking it back a bit. The strategy is to divide the nation into groups, beyond just political party, and then to make those divisions intense enough to pull out the vote. It's an "all in" strategy; a risky one, but the alternative is to check with a losing hand. Of course Santorum would be the perfect foil for such a strategy. On the other hand, the only way to win an "all in" wager is to go "all in" yourself.
IMHO: Prognostications on the primaries have proven to be risky business indeed. My apologies to Mr. Santorum on the premature pronouncement of his demise. The reports of his death appear to have been greatly exaggerated. Don't mind me; I'm a Giants fan, but I picked the Patriots to win the Super Bowl!