Rick Santorum has been rising in the polls in Iowa, which prompted this protest from Eric Erickson:

Rick Santorum will not be the nominee. That’s the reality. But his rise hurts Bachmann, Gingrich, and Perry in Iowa — all of whom have better organizations and better shots beyond Iowa.

How can Santorum really be hurting three campaigns that have already been imploding in recent weeks and months? Santorum’s rise isn’t what damaged Gingrich’s chances in Iowa. Santorum’s limited rise is one result of Gingrich’s earlier implosion. As likely Iowa caucus-goers have become more familiar with Gingrich’s record, many have understandably turned away in disgust. As they survey the remaining candidates, they find that Santorum is the only one who has been regularly campaigning in Iowa, and he happens to be the one that former Bachmann/Perry/Cain/Gingrich supporters find acceptable. Most of Erickson’s complaints about Santorum are valid, and I’ve made a few of them myself, but many of them apply just as well to Perry and Gingrich. Of course, theirs are the “better organizations” that could not manage to get their candidates on the Virginia ballot, and that had nothing to do with Santorum’s polling surge.

The reality is that Santorum is just now starting to get more attention because all of the other supposedly more competitive candidates have flopped, and in a fit of desperation some Iowa caucus-goers are turning to the candidate who has been living in their state for the better part of the last year. The bad news for Santorum is that he has centered his entire campaign on Iowa, and at best he might finish third in a contest that is remarkable for the weak organizations of many of the other candidates. Erickson is upset that some social conservatives are rallying behind Santorum because it will make it easier for Romney to win the nomination, but Santorum’s supporters can’t be blamed for the failings of the other candidates that have made Santorum the only other remotely credible anti-Romney candidate in Iowa not named Ron Paul.