The Daily: Santorum's "Killer App" is Marrying Economics to Moral Values


Jonathan Last at the new web-only publication The Daily writes about the Santorum surge for a tech-friendly audience:

On Dec. 20, Rick Santorum polled at 5 percent in Iowa, placing him ahead of only the MIA Jon Huntsman in the state. Although Mitt Romney officially won the contest, Santorum captured 25 percent of caucus voters last night, essentially tying the “inevitable” Romney. Santorum came from further behind, faster, than anyone in caucus history. It was Rudy, Hoosiers, and the Miracle on Ice, rolled into one — the biggest electoral upset in modern primary politics.

And despite what some of the spinners are selling, the entire race is changed. Let’s work our way around the horn.

Rick Santorum: No money, no organization, no compelling personal story or shtick, Santorum surged by doing two things: He sold a vision of the country that embraced the culture war and conservative values and he formulated a populist economic plan that offered a different twist on the small-government line being taken by the rest of the field. And the real killer app was that Santorum found a way to marry his economics to family-formation and middle class mores.

The received wisdom is that Santorum can’t be a factor going forward, but it’s not clear why that’s true. He has a message. He connects with voters. Look at the exit polls and it’s clear that conservatives, evangelicals and tea party voters like him.

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