No one can stomach Santorum other than the home schooled evolution deniers, and even then, some of those won’t as well. Santorum is a true believing extremist, well beyond any norm for religious candidates for POTUS. And with overtones of fascist theism.
America is a religious country when pollsters call citizens and ask if they are religious, and many will even claim they believe in the Genesis version of events for creation. But that is where it ends for most, and begins at repulsion of religious imposition on their daily lives. They want their birth control because they like to fuck, and like their abortion for often the same reason, plus they have daughters.
Rick is the worst kind of big government wingnut, and that is why the other wingnuts don’t like him, and are frightened by the prospect of a Santorum run. And the indies would just crush him, not to mention women folk. He would likely put a bug up lazy moderate voters and dem voters to go vote. Gingrich would do that too, but the other wingers know Newt is a follow the money corporatist above all else, and is mostly acting the part on other wingnuttery. He’s crazy, but not insane, as Santorum is.
And also too, Rick is a pure regressionist, economically. He is Ryan squared in that department, the worst kind of militant Jesus believer, picking winners over losers and discarding the rest. A Santorum campaign would get at least 40 percent, but very possibly not more than that, and would likely drive a stake through what is left of GOP electability for the near term, at least. Giving Obama and dems a huge win.
He is the male supremacist prototype with the certitude he is right according to a holy book he interprets, and comes with all the other white supremacist tendencies of the south, which is why he did so well there, I suspect.
I think if Newt ever made it to president, he would likely be another GWB. Hair trigger with the military and all out corporate stooge, with some sense of the limits of right wing policies the country could accept. Then there is Romney, the Tom Ripley candidate that is impossible to foresee what he would do, other than favor the wealthy. The rest would be a day to day affair of who he thinks he needs to please most