Why Even Liberals Should Root for Santorum
So he can lose to Obama, and GOP can return to normalcy: John Heilemann
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2012 12:33 PM CST
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney before this week's debate.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – John Heilemann assesses what he calls the "most volatile, unpredictable, and just plain wackadoodle Republican-nomination contest ever" in New York magazine and finds the GOP at the brink. Many Republicans already fear a loss in the general election, which will "unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party." How that plays out will depend on who wins the nomination, and right now it boils down to Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum.

If Romney gets the nod and loses to Obama, expect the party to shift even more to the populist right—think a resurgent Sarah Palin. But if Santorum wins the nomination and then gets trounced by Obama, the "populist, culture-warrior" movement would be repudiated. The GOP might return to its senses under leaders such as Mitch Daniels or Jeb Bush, and the nation would be better served with "two credible governing parties" instead of the current mess, writes Heilemann. "Which is why all people of common sense and goodwill might consider, in the days ahead, adopting a slogan that may strike them as odd, perverse, or even demented: Go, Rick, go." Read his full column here.