Round Trip Rick
Perhaps no other Republican presidential hopeful seems closer to launching a full-fledged bid for the nomination at this point than former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. With multiple trips to New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina already under his belt (and more scheduled), Santorum seems to be unabashedly enjoying his participation in the tradition of the invisible primary. He even spiced things up recently by taking a direct swing at potential primary opponent Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for some comments he made about economic class divisions within the Republican Party.
I recently wrote about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s use of a potential presidential bid as a way to feed his compulsive need for media attention. In contrast, Santorum seems genuinely thrilled (and a little surprised) that anyone is paying attention to him again. He has been quite open in admitting that jumping on the invisible primary circuit has been a rejuvenating experience in offering him a fresh opportunity to be politically relevant again, and he is clearly making the most of the renewed attention.
I stand by my earlier posts suggesting that Santorum has no chance of winning the Republican nomination. That hasn’t (and won’t) change. But I have also noted that he could potentially complicate the field for other social conservatives, especially in Iowa and South Carolina. Still, in an era where most other presidential hopefuls are tediously coy about their intentions, I find Santorum’s approach to testing the waters almost old-fashioned and, dare I say it, refreshing.

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