A presidential candidacy or a career-booster for Rick Santorum?

Rick Santorum left the Senate after a brutal, double-digit loss in 2006. In the intervening years he’s been out of the public eye. He now wants to be president of the United States. Is he serious?

It depends what we imagine he is serious about. No, I don’t think he imagines he can win the presidency. There is no indigenous “Elect Santorum” constituency and beyond maybe Iowa it’s hard to conceive of him placing in, let alone winning, any other primary.

Liberal pundits err when they assume a figure such as Santorum is there to propound a governing agenda. His is the classic “resume-builder” candidacy, or specifically in the case of Santorum, a “last gasp at relevancy” race. A good chunk of the conservative electorate doesn’t know who he is and it’s unclear who, if anyone, would give money to support his run. He’s not going to out-conservative Tea Party favorite Bachmann, nor does he seem to have a defining message or persona other than standard-issue hard-right conservatism. At least Herman Cain has the advantage of being a fresh face with a private-sector record of accomplishment.

Maybe Santorum imagines he’d be a VP pick, but it’s hard to see with so many rising stars why the eventual nominee would pick a shopworn pol with a proven track record of unelectability in his own state.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

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