GETTYSBURG, Pa.—Former Senator Rick Santorum surprised few today with his decision to pull up stakes and suspend his campaign for the Republican nomination for president. In a just-concluded speech given from the famous Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Santorum said he and his family made the difficult decision to withdraw from the campaign over the Easter weekend, but as all ex-candidates do, he also insisted that "we are not done fighting."
The move will be interpreted as a purely strategic decision in light of the looming April 24 Pennsylvania primary and recent polls showing Romney taking the lead in Santorum's home state. For days, commentators across the political spectrum have been saying that a loss there would be devastating to Santorum, who may now have his eye on the VP slot.
"This game is a long, long way from over," he said this afternoon as he gracefully exited stage right, leaving the road to Tampa Bay, site of the upcoming Republican National Convention, all but open for Mitt Romney (though this reporter cannot recall having heard Santorum mention Romney by name in his remarks from Gettysburg).
This also means that, unless he is tapped for the ticket, Santorum's so-called war on porn is officially a dead issue. Romney may share the same belief about prosecuting porn, but he is so uncomfortable with any subject that is even remotely messy that it is inconceivable he will ever mention the "p" word without having been forced to do so, and even then he'll probably just walk away from the issue altogether.
It is very possible, however, that at some point during one of the debates that take place during the general election, someone will ask a question about the candidates' positions on the enforcement of federal obscenity law. When that happens, you can place your bet now that Romney will borrow the Santorum position and claim that he, unlike Obama, will enforce the law. Whether he will or not is another matter.
If Santorum, and not Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, gets the VP nod, which cannot be completely ruled out, the war on porn story gets a whole new lease on life, and every reporter will ask about it every chance s/he gets. At the very least, it will be considered an agenda of the ticket, even if it is an unspoken one.
Because the adult industry tends to do very well in the courts when it is subject to governmental prosecution, despite its cries of outrage and foul play over the promise by Santorum to indict the industry back to the Stone Age, like society in general it could use a good war now and then. Santorum's promised Armageddon may have been futile, but that's also what would have made it kind of fun.
Maybe the industry should conduct a national campaign to pressure Romney to pick Santorum as his running mate. After all, they're a match made in porn heaven.