A few additional points to add to last night's post on the Iowa primary:
There are now two teams, or informal alliances, forming up. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are aligned. Mr. Gingrich praised Mr. Santorum in his speech last night — "he waged a great, positive campaign" — while criticizing Mitt Romney — "a Massachusetts moderate....pretty good at managing the decay." Mr. Gingrich said Iowans "weren't millionaires...weren't from Wall Street...didn't have a superPAC" — all jabs at Mr. Romney. Mr. Gingrich is angry at the negative advertising Mr. Romney and his allies dumped on him. Mr. Gingrich went so far as to call Mr. Romney a "liar." Mr. Santorum is right now Mr. Romney's biggest enemy, and under the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend theory, Mr. Gingrich wants to help Mr. Santorum. Also, the longer Mr. Gingrich can delay a Romney coronation, the longer his own hopes for the nomination survive.
Mr. Romney, meanwhile, is aligned with Ron Paul. In Mr. Romney' speech last night, he elevated Mr. Paul's stature, grouping him with Mr. Santorum and himself as "all three of us." The longer Mr. Paul stays in, the more the anti-Romney vote is split, which helps Mr. Romney.
The Iowa results tend to undermine all the talk about how elections can be bought by the rich or a few campaign contributors. Rick Santorum had an underfinanced campaign. He was driving around in a borrowed pickup truck while the other candidates had convoys of motorcoaches. Fox News reported last night that he had spent $30,000 on television spots, while other candidates were spending hundreds of thousands, even millions. Mr. Santorum finished almost even with Mr. Romney, who spent a lot more money, and he beat Rick Perry, who spent a lot more money.
Rick Santorum's book, It Takes a Family, is now back-ordered at Amazon (and not, as of this writing, available on Kindle). Mr. Santorum plugged it in his speech last night. While you wait for it to arrive, read Michael Sokolove's 2005 New York Times profile of the senator.
Libertarian conservatives have some skepticism about Mr. Santorum, who is a religious conservative. This post from the Cato Institute's David Boaz on Cato's @Liberty blog has details and more links, including to this 2005 Reason piece by Jonathan Rauch.
This morning by telephone I reached a former Santorum aide who said the portrayal of Mr. Santorum as an anti-libertarian is "not true," and "not who he is at all." Some of the libertarian concerns are concentrated on gay marriage, which Mr. Santorum, like President Obama, says he opposes, or on homosexuality in general. The former aide said Mr. Santorum had openly gay individuals on both his personal Senate staff and the conference staff, and that he'd supported AIDS funding.
Will Mr. Santorum be able to translate his Iowa showing into results in New Hampshire and South Carolina? In New Hampshire, there is some tension between Mr. Santorum and the Sununus. Mr. Santorum supported the younger Sununu's Senate campaign but only after extracting from him a promise to vote in support of Israel. On the other hand, the elder Sununu brings back memories of George H.W. Bush. That, along with the report that Mr. Romney would receive the endorsement of John McCain, isn't necessarily a big help with today's Republican primary electorate, which is looking for someone who can beat President Obama. Mr. Romney's pitch has been that only someone with private sector experience who understands how the economy works can do that job; on the other hand, it may be that what the electorate is in the mood for is not a Bain Capital guy who is the son of a CEO-turned-governor, but a Santorum — a guy with no Ivy League degrees (unlike Mr. Romney, who has two), who is the grandson of an Italian immigrant coal miner.