Why not Santorum?

*** Why not Santorum? If you believe the new CNN/Time poll numbers out of Iowa — and some are questioning the survey’s methodology — then Rick Santorum is the latest GOP presidential candidate to begin to surge, jumping 11 points in less than a month. And, in some ways, the surge is fitting. After all, he is a more consistent conservative than the other candidates (especially Romney, Paul, and Gingrich); he has busted his tail campaigning throughout Iowa the old fashioned way (one county, church, Pizza Ranch and coffee house at a time); and he’s been a consistently solid performer at the debates. What’s more, he’s won statewide in an important swing state TWICE (though also lost there badly in 2006), and he’s a big hawk on national security and Iran (an issue that could become bigger and bigger in the days ahead). So why not Santorum? In these ways, his surge seems to make more sense than Gingrich’s did a month ago.

*** And why his surge might be short lived: But here’s the big reason why Santorum’s surge might be short lived, even if he’s able to maintain it through Jan. 3: Like Gingrich and Cain before him, he lacks the organization and money to compete for the long haul. In addition, he’s viewed as a bit too conservative, especially on social issues (one example: on contraception). Santorum was on “TODAY” this morning, displaying his conservative credentials. “What I say I’m going to do is what I’ve done in the past… We’ve got the record to back it up.”