But simply having an authentic personally doesn’t necessarily mean you have a presidential one. All too often, Santorum looks like he has a thumbtack in his shoe that he presses down on to fool the polygraph. He can be dour and resentful.

Likewise, on substance, if you were going to design a GOP candidate to fit the moment, it wouldn’t be Santorum. The difference between him and George W. Bush: Santorum’s deadly serious about compassionate conservatism. He is honestly and forthrightly committed to using government to realize his moral vision for America. That’s his prerogative, and he has many good (and some very bad) arguments on his side.

But, suffice it to say, he is not the one the tea partiers have been waiting for.

Now, the race is just a mess. I feel like the revolver in reality’s hand is full of blanks, and anyone who thinks they know what happens next is stabbing in the dark. I could live with either man being the nominee. And while I would happily vote for either in a contest against Obama, I honestly have no idea who would be more electable. Frankly, I find the prospect of any of them becoming the nominee worrisome and hard to imagine. A brokered convention seems ever more plausible –— and desirable.