Rick Santorum "gets pegged as a one-trick pony, but he’s not," his national political director said last month. Maybe that's true, but how can you ignore how candidate lights up when talks about his conservative Christian credentials? On the trail recently, Santorum has made the case that he's been more consistent on bailouts than Mitt Romney -- Santorum opposed the bailout of both the banks and Detroit, while Romney just opposed Detroit's -- but he sounds pretty dull. But when things get flashier when he says that pre-natal testing makes is equivalent to eugenics, or that President Obama has a little bit in common with Hitler.

The former campaign manager for Michele Bachmann -- another flashy social issues candidate -- tells The New York Times that as a frontrunner, Santorum "now stood to have his statements parsed far more closely." But this statement doesn't require parsing: "One of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America... Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society." Santorum is straight-up accusing the government, following the president's direction, of conspiring to create a eugenics program right under our noses. 

This has the The Washington Post speculating that perhaps Santorum has a problem with tone. Santorum "is betting that Americans want a president who uses faith not just to inspire -- but also to judge," The Post's David A. Fahrenthold and Felicia Sonmez write. "Santorum seems to have cast himself as a candidate bold enough to tell others where they’re wrong." That's one interpretation -- Santorum is too dour, too judgey, or in Jezebel parlance a "mardi gras of WTF." Another might be that the facts don't quite support the suggestion that President Obama has a non-zero number of qualities in common with Hitler. He told a Georgia megachurch this weekend that in the 1940s, the U.S. didn't stop Hitler right away because we wanted to give him a chance:

"We're a hopeful people. We think, 'Well, you know, it'll get better. Yeah, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be okay. I mean, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy after a while, after a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who's not so good of a guy after all... It'll be harder for this generation to figure it out. There's no cataclysmic event.'"

As BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski points out, Santorum has quite a history of comparing moderate liberals to Hitler. Some (me) think that while independent voters will generally agree that Hitler was a bad dude, they might have a hard time signing on to the idea that he has much in common with Obama, who, by the way, is a black person. A "top GOP senator" anonymously told ABC News that if Santorum is nominated, “He’d lose 35 states." Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich's billionaire backer, is going to keep funding Newt because he doesn't like Santorum's position on social issues. But not everyone agrees.

Social conservatives are more enthusiastic than they've ever been since 2004, The Wall Street Journal reports. "If Santorum is the nominee, he will be demonized as an evil neanderthal who wants to take away your contraception," the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis wrote Monday morning, the same morning Santorum told an Ohio crowd, "The morning-after pill is not just a birth control measure, it's an abortion measure." But Lewis argues that maybe Santorum has the winning message after all. For months, the conventional wisdom has wrongly assumed that all the Republican candidate has to do to win in November is point out the unemployment rate, the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis writes. Santorum can combine social values and economic ones. "If he’s smart and disciplined (unfortunately, a big if) -- Santorum could tap into his blue collar, social conservative appeal to advocate an anti-corporate cronyism and an anti-cultural elitism message." As evidence, Lewis points out that in recent years, Republicans have won more presidential elections when they talked about social issues. Interestingly, a pioneering culture warrior, Pat Buchanan, was infamously a little bit soft on Hitler. Nice to see Santorum is progressive in his own way.