Santorum will win Louisiana, and Gingrich will get out, but Romney will start picking up endorsements, including, I expect, from three of the following four men: Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Tommy Thompson and Ron Johnson. And then Romney will win Wisconsin convincingly and the pressure will be on for Santorum to bow out. He may limp along to Pennsylvania, win his home state on April 24th (and nothing else), and then get out with a ringing final speech that will set him up for a future in the party.
I was all over this -- except for the part about Gingrich formally getting out; he's informally thrown in the towel, and no one is paying him any attention anymore. I called the Ryan and Johnson endorsements, which were probably in the bag for Romney weeks or months ago, and were trotted out over the weekend for maximum exposure before the primary. And I called Romney winning Wisconsin convincingly -- as it turned out, he won by seven points, after Waukesha County came in late last night.
So, here's the rub.... I think it is very important for the GOP for Santorum to bow out sooner rather than later. If he hangs on through Pennsylvania on April 24, he might win there (at this point I don't think so), but he won't win anywhere else that day. But, then -- and here's the tempation he has to avoid -- the calendar gets better for him in May, and he could actually string together victories in the South (NC, Arkansas, Kentucky, WV, Texas) and Midwest (Indiana, Nebraska). But those victories would not get him any closer to the nomination, because Romney's delegate lead is insurmountable at this point. So all it would do would be to weaken Romney, and waste two more months of his time when he could be focusing on Obama.
I like Santorum. I voted for him yesterday here in Wisconsin. He ran a great campaign, and it has to be frustrating for him to think that he came within three points in Michigan, and one point in Ohio, at points in the campaign where he might have gotten over the hump with a victory.
But it's time to go.