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the national interest

How J.V. Is the Santorum Campaign?

OLYMPIA, WA  - FEBRUARY 13: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to the media February 13, 2012 at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington. Santorum, in the Washington campaigning, answered questions about marriage equality legislation signed by Governor Chris Gregoire earlier in the day. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) Fellow students, my name is Rick Santorum — sorry, I'm really nervous —and I'm running for class treasu — I mean, president

Here are some things to keep in mind when assessing Rick Santorum’s chances of beating Mitt Romney. He has no pollster, no campaign headquarters, and no paid advance staff. He’s currently getting outspent on television in Michigan by a ratio of 29-1.

You know the part of the campaign ad where the candidate identifies himself and says he approves this message? The completely ubiquitous feature of modern political advertising? Santorum’s new ad seems to have forgotten it.

He also failed to get his name on the ballot in such states as Virginia and Indiana. Perhaps you have heard of them.

If you’re wondering how it is that Santorum could be leading the national polls this far into the process and still be a heavy long shot on intrade, that is why. And it’s not like Santorum is some rare, inspirational figure who commands the loyalty of a vast network. He’s just a generic conservative retread pol with nothing better to do than run for president and maybe get some better results when you Google his name.

As Josh Marshall put it, “running around the country in a long twilight struggle with Rick Santorum is just … how to put it? inherently demeaning and diminishing. It’s like struggling to land a one pound fish or searching for the way out of a paper bag.”

Romney may be weak but he can’t really be this weak, can he?

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Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images