Zeke Miller has a piece this morning arguing that Rick Santorum may excel in the Iowa caucuses, but given the campaign’s message, he’ll likely struggle to compete just about everywhere else.

To help prove the point, Miller points to quotes like these.

Indeed, Santorum appeals to Iowa voters with a mix of unusual lines that won’t play outside the Hawkeye State.

“Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict,” Santorum told the audience in Ottumwa.

I mean, really. Who says things like this?

Even among those who celebrate uniform homogeneity most realize that the American ethos finds an inherent good in diversity. E pluribus unum … a nation of immigrants … strength through diversity — these are staples of American thought and have been for generations.

“If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict”? What?

This, of course, isn’t the only thing that’s likely to stand in Santorum’s way once the dust settles in Iowa. The former senator has invested enormous energy in the Hawkeye State — Santorum is the only candidate to visit every county in Iowa — but the focus and lack of resources have left him with no meaningful prospects anywhere. Santorum has no national network and no meaningful campaign infrastructure outside Iowa, and though he’d likely get a significant boost if he manages to finish first on Tuesday, it’s tough to see a single other primary or caucus state where the Pennsylvanian can expect to be competitive.

And that would be the case even if Santorum had a fantastic message. As “diversity creates conflict” helps demonstrate, he doesn’t even have that.

Update: A conservative blogger alerted me to a more detailed report on this, suggesting Zeke Miller’s report was misleading. Santorum, instead of saying “If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict,” actually said, “If we celebrate diversity then we lay the groundwork for that conflict.”

I’m not sure how much that improves matters, but quotes should always be accurate, and Miller’s report apparently omitted some of Santorum’s words. The meaning appears to be practically identical, though.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.