After a decade and a half of war, his Crusader-style foreign policy is too aggressive, too loud, and too medieval, even for the GOP. After being ousted by the electorate for his hawkishness, he spent years hyping every threat in the Middle East as presaging the return of a unified Islamic caliphate. He seems disturbed and shaken by the rise of a libertarian strain in his party, and he will seek to offend this bloc of voters regularly.

Santorum has no executive experience, and he is not particularly accomplished as a legislator, even though he had the benefit of some seniority. Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and a host of other potential candidates are also not contaminated by the Bush era in the way that Santorum is. Friess and the mailing lists are not enough to overcome his deficiencies as a candidate and the strengths of his opponents.

Personally, I like Santorum even while I loathe parts of his political agenda. He is warm, funny in his own way, and he is deeply genuine. The way he has cared for his daughter Bella, who was born with trisomy 18, is heroic — and countercultural. In an age when the shade of eugenics suggests to us that a life like hers (and the one her parents live while caring for her) is not worth living, I find his actions and his story moving and important. Another Santorum run would be worth it, if only to give him a platform to talk about the dignity and joy of human life, even human life ravaged by disease and deformity.

But Rick Santorum is not “next” for the Republican Party, at least not one that wants to win the White House.