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Keller @ Large: Santorum Wins Good For Democratic Process

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Rick Santorum. (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)

Rick Santorum. (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – What a night last night for Rick Santorum – sort of.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:


The former senator won both the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, and may have moved the other non-Romney conservative in the race, Newt Gingrich, a bit closer to the exit, his denials notwithstanding.

But because of the party rules, Santorum didn’t make a dent in Romney’s large delegate lead, winning 21 delegates for his two victories while Romney won 16 and Gingrich took 17.

You may recall that poor organization by Santorum kept him from enjoying a similar split in Ohio, where he nearly beat Romney, but saw Romney take home nearly double his delegate haul.

If the pattern of this race continues – with Romney winning more-moderate states and grabbing a tidy share of the delegates even in state where he loses – Santorum’s victories in arch-conservative strongholds won’t mean a bucket of candy corn come convention time next August.

Check that, he’ll get to make a speech at the convention watched by his family and friends and people who fell asleep with the channel left on C-Span.

Nonetheless, Santorum gets high marks for determination, and even if you think he’d be a sure loser in the fall if he ever managed to grab the nomination, his success does have some positive aspects.

For starters, it proves that money can’t buy primary victories.

If it did, this race would have been over weeks ago.

You could make a case that Romney wouldn’t have run as close as he did last night without the tons of cash he spent on TV ads, but he still lost to a guy who spent peanuts.

And Santorum’s success gives a needed voice to a large segment of the Republican electorate that is fed up with the establishment, of its own party as well as in Washington.

They are ignoring the elected-official endorsements and the pundits and voting for what they believe in, and that is not to be scoffed at.

My own view is Santorum is a loose cannon who would be a disastrous nominee.

But even if it’ll all be forgotten by August, his run of success is a sign that, like it or not, the democratic process still has some actual democracy left in it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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