Santorum: No need to pick Romney when you can pick someone "you really like"

This is former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s “We need to quit worrying about bus tours” plea all over again. Presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum last night said this to a small house party in Des Moines, Iowa (via Politico):

“[Romney]’s not a favorite in any kind of real political sense,” Santorum said.

“You can pick anyone in the field,” he told about 40 listeners dressed in business attire in an elegant Waukee living room. “You can pick somebody who you really like, who you think is really good for the country. …. I believe I’m that right person.”

Santorum certainly has a point when he says GOP voters need not settle for the most recognizable candidate to be the party’s presidential nominee — recognition will come for whoever becomes the nominee — but, at this point, he’s still close to the last person who should have said it. Unfortunately, regardless of how sincerely and confidently he meant them, the comments still smack of insecurity. They’re also a little ironic: Then-Sen. Santorum endorsed Romney in 2008, which seems to suggest he, at least, likes Romney.

Somebody should say what Santorum said, though. If voters can’t pick the candidate they “really like” in the primaries, when can they? Think the Limbaugh rule: Conservatives might as well pick the most conservative candidate at this point. A liberal in conservative clothing might serve up conservative rhetoric, but he won’t enact conservative policies, anyway. And what’s the end goal?