After Iowa

The top two vote-getters in the Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, are intelligent, knowledgeable, and politically experienced men who have taken conservative positions on the issues. But their political situations are very different.

Senator Santorum, widely regarded as not a serious candidate mere weeks ago, gets a bigger boost from the results even though Romney received a handful more votes than he did. His near-victory speech was tremendously affecting as well as savvy, highlighting subtle but important differences between him and other Republicans, differences that might be attractive to voters. It was addressed squarely to middle-class voters, and emphasized that while Santorum supports tax cuts for people in the top income brackets, he does not believe they would be sufficient to restore broad-based growth. And it tied Santorum’s policies and personality together with the theme of dignity: the dignity of each life, including those of the unborn; the dignity of each person, whatever his economic station.

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