Even if Santorum gives social issues short shrift on the campaign trail, conservative leaders understand what is at stake. They stand to lose a powerful spokesman for their agenda. Some worry that Santorum's defeat would also be a body blow to the influence of social conservatives within the GOP.Santorum, some of you may remember, compared homosexuality to man on dog sex, fought tooth and nail against gay marriage, and indeed any basic human rights for gays and is anti-evolution. Columnist Dan Savage choose to honor him for his statements on homosexuality by...making his name stand for - something else.
"You would then start to see party apparatuses say things like, 'We're not sure we want to support a candidate whose conservatism is as deeply rooted as Sen. Santorum's,' and they will begin casting about for moderate conservatives," Hanna said.
A loss for Santorum would be a sign of a possible sea change in American politics - something possibly already on the way purely as a function of demographics.