“It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog.”
The common wisdom has been that the longer Santorum remained in the race, the better for Obama because Team Romney would have to protect its right flank with money, advertising and messaging that would otherwise be used to go after the President on his left. But even without Santorum, Romney still needs to talk the right-wing crazy talk so as not to alienate his right-wing crazy party as he pivots to general election mode. And, in any event, in terms of what is best for the country and what remains of rational political discourse, we are far better off not having to listen to Santorum's nonsense anymore.
As I've said before, if his bid was successful, Santorum would have been the creepiest GOP candidate since at least 2008. (A nice compilation of Santorum's greatest hits can be found here.)
It is rather shocking that a potential nominee with Santorum's extreme views about women, about the role of religion in the public sphere, and about human-jelly fish hybrids made it this far. What does it say about a major political party in which Rick Santorum is the preferred candidate for more than 25% of their voters. (Not to mention that Newt Gingrich is the favorite of another 11%.)
Perhaps, more importantly, what does it say about Mitt Romney (with still only 40% support from his party) that it has taken him this long to vanquish such a weak opponent?