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Santorum’s shadow campaign

He may be down and out, but he is not forgotten.
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Rick Santorum delivers remarks today at the American Israel Political Action Committee during its Policy Conference In Washington, DC. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

He was feisty; he was unpredictable. He railed against Satan for attacking America with vice and condemned the French Revolution for not relying on God. He told the Puerto Ricans to learn English and shocked the poor Dutch by insisting that 5 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands were due to involuntary euthanasia.

We all sorely miss the quirky and spirited Rick Santorum, especially now that we no longer have to worry so much that he might, through some contortion in the Cosmos, actually become president.

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Newt Gingrich lays off a third of campaign staff, insists he's still in the race

"We're staying in, that's exactly why we're downsizing," Gingrich says.

Who will the internet vote for in November?

In standing against SOPA, the internet has become a political force to be reckoned with. Now who will the internet support in the 2012 presidential election?
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Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum greets a crowd of supporters during a rally February 13, 2012 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Washington state's caucuses will be held March 3, 2012. Santorum, in Washington campaigning, answered questions about marriage equality legislation signed by Governor Chris Gregoire earlier in the day. (Stephen Brashear/AFP/Getty Images)

Rick Santorum has set himself out to become the Republican Party’s culture war candidate, decrying President Barack Obama’s plan to require insurers to provide free birth control, even if the insured is employed by a religious institution that is opposed to the use of contraceptives.

The comments earned Santorum “scumbag” status across the liberal internet, a reference to the “Scumbag Steve” meme that depicts a young man with a grimy expression wearing an obnoxious looking sideways fitted cap.

Reserved for the most hated of public figures, notable internet scumbags include former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Pope Benedict XVI. One is declared a scumbag by placing Steve’s hat on the subject’s head flanked by text highlighting the subject’s observed hypocrisy on the top and bottom of the photo. 

Such memes, usually born from the primordial, digital chaos of 4chan's /b/, may be thought of by Republican strategists as the benign creation of a few neckbeards. However, as the US Congress learned last January, the political will of the internet can be brought to bear on the politicians and legislation that it loathes. 

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The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and its battle group have been on patrol in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has threatened to close the Strait in response to EU sanctions on the import of Iranian oil. (U.S. Navy/AFP/Getty Images)

Is the Iran oil embargo another staggering step towards war?

The EU's Iran oil embargo had been expected but that doesn't mean it won't significantly up the temperature.

Julian Borger at The Guardian has a lengthy essay on what this means and how the EU action might lead Iran to indulge in " ... harassment of the oil trade that would drive the price of crude up and keep it up, very much to Iran's benefit, but fall short of a casus belli for war. However, exercising such options requires subtlety and fine judgment on all sides and that is by no means a given. "

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