Yesterday morning Rick Santorum suspended his Presidential campaign hours before the Pennsylvania primary. Citing a need to be with his until recently hospitalized daughter Bella, he also faced a possible defeat in his http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhome state (where he lost the last election he was in by 19 points in 2004)as well as financhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifial concerns. However, he says he plans to keep fighting.
When asked if he'd endorse Mitt Romney (who looks more and more likely to get the GOP nomination, even though a lot of Republicans aren't thrilled with that), he said he'd take a few days to think about it.
At this point some say that he may continue to have the power he had in pushing the primary to the right to keep a role in the GOP. Others think he will recede quickly, thus allowing ROmney time to do the etch a sketch on what he just said. While the latter might have made sense in a normal election cycle, the past couple of years have been far from normal on the election front (Hell, a lot of people [including myself] expected Santorum to drop out last fall and never saw him making frontrunner status).
What we do know is this. The tea party and social conservatives have pushed Romney further and further rightward, to the point of lying about past positions, in order to stay in the Republican race. Because the aforementioned groups are the main parts of the GOP base, pressure will be on for Romney to continue his current rhetoric. In addition, while many in the media says Santorum's dropping out all but clinches the nomination for Willard Mitt, he still has to deal with Newt Gingrich (who has managed to crawl back from the abyss twice so far) and Ron Paul. While Gingrich and Paul are unlikely to get the candidacy from the powers that be, they can help Mitt get delegates in a pinch if he needs them near August.
So how does this affect Santorum? Well, despite Santorum's conformist streak in social conservative/GOP politics, he still has a number of delegates to offer as well as the conservative christian cred that Romney needs. So, even if he does endorse Mitt Romney, I have a feeling there will be a cost that comes with that. Maybe as running mate (though many say that won't happen)? Maybe a cabinet post is elected? Who knows. What is certain is that there will be a tradeoff of sorts if Mr. Frothy Mix flip flops to endorse the man he's called "the worst candidate among Republicans to go against Barack Obama."
Stay tuned as the twisted story unfolds.