Maybe I've missed something that's been going on in Provo or Logan, but Rick Santorum seems to be the only GOP presidential candidate since Herman Cain (remember him?) capable of generating some actual enthusiasm. The video by First Love is pushing a million views and as even my dyed-in-the-wool Democratic 19-year-old grumpily acknowledged, the song has zip. Meanwhile, Santorum did what he had to do in the Kansas caucuses on Saturday, tallying over half the caucus-goers and picking up 33 delegates to Mitt Romney's seven. A new Chicago Tribune poll has the two within the margin of error in Illinois, which has got to have sent a shiver through the Romney camp. If Santorum can come out of Alabama and MIssissippi with wins on Tuesday, it will take another big infusion of cash to drag Mitt across the finish line first next week.
At this point, though, Alabama and Mississippi look like anything but sure things for Ricky John. Improbably perhaps, Newt Gingrich's victory in Georgia seems to have upped his prospects in the Deep South, and so Tuesday could easily turn into a three-way with Romney emerging on top. The question is whether Santorum can round up the lion's share of the evangelical vote, which in those states approaches three-quarters of the GOP caucus turnout.
Over the weekend, Politico's Jonathan Martin got wind of a meeting at the Omni in Houston of 200 "conservative leaders" who, from the report, look a lot like the same old guys who tried to get it up for Rick Perry last summer. (Why do they always meet in Texas?) The point of the meeting seemed to be to pledge something less than a couple of million bucks for Santorum, which doesn't seem like much. Did they also pledge to get the word out to their so-called troops? Or are they simply trying to catch up to the First Love bandwagon?