Honestly, we didn't think he'd make it in the top 3, let alone the top 2, & a sickeningly close #2 at that.
For Republicans, Santorum was the last possible rung down the "I'm Not Romney (or Ron Paul)" ladder. Every other non-Romney (& non-Paul) candidate had their moment at the top of the heap, but then imploded under the spotlight.
Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich--each one of them had their moment in the sun, & then they said or did something so incredibly stupid/crazy/bizarre that voters finally realized that he/she was not a viable candidate in the long run.
(E.g., Bachmann's HPV vaccine statement, Cain's slow & ignorant response to a question about Libya, Perry's "3rd government agency" that he couldn't remember, & Gingrich's many egotistical statements.)
Santorum apparently lucked out by having his flavor-of-the-month moment occur RIGHT before the caucus--& then not having enough time before the caucus to say something incredibly stupid/crazy/bizarre, while the media & people were paying very close attention..
But i'll wager that Santorum that will soon say something so incredibly stupid/crazy/bizarre, it'll make primary voters abandon shit.
Even without an implosion, it should be apparent to most that Santorum won't be the nominee. And so it's not really surprising that Santorum almost won the Iowa caucus.
The history of Iowa caucus Republicans show they're more likely to pick a candidate who doesn't get the nomination. In the past 5 caucuses where the incumbent Republican President was not a candidate, Iowa Repubs have been wrong 3 of 5:
- Huckabee won the Iowa caucus in 2008 (but McCain got the nom--in fact, McCain came in 4th in the caucus)
- Dole won the caucus in '88 (but Bush Sr. got the nom--in fact, Bush Sr. came in 3rd in the caucus, & Pat Fucking Robertson came in 2nd)
- Bush Sr. won the caucus in 1980 (but Reagan got the nominatiion)
On the other hand, Iowa caucus Democrats have shown themselves to be more likely to correctly pick the candidate that gets the nomination. In the past 5 caucuses where the incumbent Dem President was not a candidate, the Iowa Dems have been right 3 of 5:
- Obama in 2008
- Kerry in 2004
- Gore in 2000
Actually, going back to 1980, the Iowa Dems have correctly picked the nominee 5 out of 7 times. (See Iowa caucuses.)
Once again, I'm truly, deeply, profoundly sorry. Now this asshole believes he has a shot at becoming the nominee.