I saw a couple of pieces earlier today suggesting that Rick Perry was letting it be known he might still run for president in 2016, and didn’t think it worth writing about. But then I saw this item at CNN:

Rick Santorum, who says he’s open to another White House bid and already speaks like a candidate, told CNN the GOP’s focus on the economy and taxes, instead of social issues, was what led to presidential losses for the party in the last two cycles….

In a speech next week to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, Santorum will argue that Republicans should meld economic and social issues, making the case that focusing on both is critical to scoring votes. A press release says his “remarks will focus on the future of the Republican Party and what must be done to ensure our party’s future viability.”

Well, why not? The man’s already visited every Pizza Ranch in Iowa, a state where the idea of piping down on cultural issues is absolutely not accepted by the kind of people who tend to dominate the presidential Caucuses on the GOP side. It’s hard to think of anything Santorum has said that Steve King, who seems to be inching towards a decision to run for the Senate in Iowa in 2014, hasn’t said even more loudly.

As for Perry, the CW that his 2012 campaign was just incompetently run would be a nice excuse for getting himself a whole new batch of advisors and trying again. If Rubio’s tripped up by immigration policy (Perry knows all about how that can happen) and Paul’s crazy associations catch up with him and Republicans decide another Bush is just a bad idea, then theoretically the Texas could be made viable by a terrible field of rivals. After all, it worked for Mitt Romney.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.