Santorum’s Peak

Whenever veterans of Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign get together–at this year’s Republican National Convention, or at anti-choice rallies and spiritual warfare conferences, or around Foster Friess’ metaphorical campfires–they are likely to look back at the Kansas Caucuses over the weekend as the highpoint of their effort.

Rick won 33 of 40 delegates in the state, and won an absolute majority of votes.

But beyond that, the event was a sort of apotheosis of Santorum-land: a caucus, rewarding intensity; in the Midwest Plains, his best region; in a state with a lot of conservative evangelicals, his strongest supporters; and a political culture absorbed to a remarkable degree with culture war issues, particularly the recriminalization of abortion.

When Thomas Frank famously asked of his home state’s rightward trend, What’s the Matter With Kansas?, there were a lot of different answers suggested. To the kind of people who gravitate to Rick Santorum’s candidacy, the answer is: Absolutely nothing at all.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.