As CPAC kicks off today, Romney finds himself coming off another election night defeat, this one having cracked the veneer of his inevitability. On Tuesday, Romney was embarrassed as Rick Santorum not only blew him away in Missouri and Minnesota, but bested him in Colorado — a state where Romney was expected to win, and where he had won 60 percent of the vote four years earlier.

All of this sets the stage for what is likely to be the most consequential CPAC ever in terms of influencing presidential politics…

Santorum is much better suited to address the CPAC audience. Long before he was seeking the presidency, he had spoken at the conference on many occasions. Look for him to build on a theme from his Tuesday victory speech — that he’s the only one who can run a credible campaign against President Obama precisely because he’s the most consistently conservative. Only he can offer a clear contrast.

A rousing speech to CPAC would not only fire up the crowd, but go viral on the right, with videos posted on YouTube, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.