I've been thinking of donating to the Santorum campaign. Now, wait, just hear me out. It's a gamble, but I think it's worth it (except it really doesn't have a chance of happening).
See, Santorum really has very little chance of actually being elected. While I don't hold truck with polls at this point (at least polls about "who would you vote for")it's pretty clear that outside the 30% of hard core conservatives, Santorum polls somewhere below electing a rabid badger into office. Heck, even within that 30% he doesn't have a plurality.
So what's the game? If Romney is the nominee, when he loses this fall the hard core conservatives will look at the rest of the GOP and say, "We told ya so." But if Santorum is the nominee and he gets thoroughly trounced on Nov 6th, that may break the ultra conservative stranglehold. I give it a 50/50 chance of working. The hard core conservatives, if anything, are so full of denial and self flagellation it may not phase them, but I think some of them actually have brains and have enough connection to the real world that the psychological blow would set them reeling. The party leadership, however, I think fully grasps this notion which is why they're pushing so hard for Romney (if they would lose with Santorum, the resulting fallout would reduce the GOP to "also ran" status for a decade)
However, I don't think Santorum can actually win the nomination. Even with a major push, I think the various forces that are driving the party are starting to realize that they better get behind Romney before the faithful completely hijack the party and scuttle it. And it's probably for that reason that I'll keep my money.
The other thing I'm thinking about is right now all the conservative Super PACs are fighting with each other. I expect a few will fall by the wayside, but once Romney is seen as inevitable, they will join forces and attack Obama. I would say that giving to Santorum (or Newt) would continue to drain their resources (see earlier linkee-poo about how few people are actually contributing the vast majority of money to Super PACs), but then I have no illusions of how rich they are (a few million here or there won't affect their bottom lines that much, and they believe it will be much worse for them if Obama wins a second term).
Now, if Romney gets nominated, and wins the election, I think that would be the worst thing for the Republican Party (and the nation). While he may have been a moderate in the past, he's had to go to the hard right to get this far in the nomination process. And once you go there, if you retreat the wolves will tear you apart. Plus, the positions he's had to take would be disastrous for the majority of Americans (but wonderful for the top 5%). Not to mention plunging us into a economic morass that might make Ron Paul's idea of going back to the gold standard seem to be the best option. And the radical fringes of the party would continue to consolidate power and we'd see a repeat of the G W Bush presidency (where he started out on the far right edges of conservativism, and by the end was considered nearly a RINO).
To sum up, the GOP needs a house cleaning and a lot of members need to have a "come to Jesus" moment (which, ironically enough, means abandoning positions they hold because they think the Jesus would want them to, and here we'll ignore what Jesus actually said and stood for, but what modern preachers want the conservatives to think he was all about). If Romney gets the nomination, win or lose, that clearing of the temple won't happen. If Santorum gets the nomination (against all hope) and then Obama wins in a landslide (as most polls show would happen), the GOP will have their come to Jesus moment. And that would be a good thing.
For those of you new here, I am a conservative. I'm actually an old fashioned conservative. I believe in a smaller, nimble government that doesn't regulate needlessly, a tax structure that makes us the envy of the world (which we actually have in practice, although not on paper, but that envy is one of the "ooo, I wish we could pay that", although most of the rest of the world wouldn't give up their social net to get our tax system), and a positive outlook on business. The GOP abandoned all these positions to embraces the radical fringe of social conservatives, anti-tax organizers (as in, "we don't need to pay no stinkin' taxes"), and religious zealots who are only interested in the accumulation of power and wealth, not in serving their fellow humans. It's truly sad when I start to think of Nixon as a great conservative president. And that's why I no longer am registered Republican, but am a Democrat.
And, I'm not the only one who is having these thoughts. (Grokked from Chia Lynn).
Just don't ask me what I think the real chances of Santorum getting the nomination, or of a real "come to Jesus" moment occurring within the rank and file of the GOP. I believe the comparison is to a worm's belly.