Mitt Romney makes moderation look meek. He shouldn't because it shouldn't. This country has been led for much of its history by presidents who strode the middle road. Some, such as Ronald Reagan, walked the right lane, some, such as Barack Obama, the left. But generally, they stuck to the main highway. That's even if they won election tilting hard in either direction. Once they got into government, they tended the centrist course.
Mitt is a "trimmer." That's what the old pols called the guy who says he's with you except when he's with your enemies. Then he's not quite with you.
Nobody likes a trimmer. You heard the joke the Santorum guy told at CPAC last week. "A conservative, a liberal and a moderate walked into a bar. The bartender says, "Hi Mitt!"
They used to say up in Massachusetts that Romney wasn't pro-choice or pro-life; he was "multiple-choice."
Enough about Romney. How can you follow a guy into battle when you're not even sure what side he'll be taking. The soldier can't respond to the bugle call if he can't figure out which army the bugler's in.
So that's why Santorum is surging. It's the same reason why starting way back early last year, "some" other candidate was surging, some candidate other than Romney.
It's because Romney ain't got it! He lacks the central trait of the winning candidate: a sense of purpose. Behind personal career ambition, it's hard to focus even today on what the man's purpose is in national politics - apart, of course, from advancement.
So here we go again, another set of primaries, in Michigan and Arizona, another opportunity to test purpose - that would be Santorum's strength - and well-purchased organization and negative advertising - those assets most precious to Romney.
It's a simple question, really. Why are you in this race? Why are you in politics? Why do you care? The sense that the man from Michigan or Massachusetts or Utah or New Hampshire or California - wherever he's currently saying he's from can't seem to pin down an answer.
That tells you all you have to know about why the fellow in the sweater-vest seems just perfect for this right-wing jamboree and the perfectly-turned-out Mitt Romney looks more than ever like an empty suit.