Rick Santorum is known for many things, but none of them involves a sense of humor. His new ad, “Rombo,” is funny, though—and smart. In case you have somehow missed it, a Mitt Romney lookalike brandishes a serious-looking weapon and fires rounds of mud at a Santorum cutout figure. “Romney and his super PAC have spent a staggering $20 million … attacking fellow Republicans,” the announcer says. “And in the end, Mitt Romney’s attacks are going to backfire.” We’ll see about that. Now that Romney’s on the ropes, trailing Santorum nationally and in his home state of Michigan, one of his advisers yesterday promised that the coming assault would make the former Pennsylvania senator “whine like crazy.” How, exactly? First, they’ll compare Santorum to President Obama, because “he’s never run anything,” and then they’ll really go in for the kill: “hit him very hard on earmarks, lobbying, voting to raise the federal debt limit five times.” Which raises an obvious question: Is that all you got? As The Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie pointed out today, attacking Santorum for voting for a Medicare prescription-drug benefit and sending earmarked funds back to the state he represented is “bloodless and unconvincing” stuff, especially when Romney’s own conservative cred is so much shakier. In fact, The Weekly Standard ran some numbers on Santorum’s voting record today and found “an impressive portrait of fiscal conservatism.” Santorum simply doesn’t offer the rich array of attack points that Newt Gingrich did. His great liability as a general-election candidate is something that Romney dares not touch: His extreme views on social issues, which the “Massachusetts moderate” has been trying all election season to mimic. So while the Obama campaign is no doubt busy compiling a treasure trove of videos displaying Santorum in culture-warrior mode (see below), the Romney crowd must be feeling an odd twinge of Newt nostalgia right about now.
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