It began and ended at a kitchen table in Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum's improbable and surprisingly long run for the White House is over. But the Republican Party will feel the effects of this game-changing gambit cooked up in a kitchen for some time to come.
Santorum offered disgruntled voters true conservative credentials. He brought social issues and religious freedom to the forefront of the national debate. He made Mitt Romney work much harder for the nomination than expected, and lurch to the right in the process. His supporters may not go away quietly or fall behind Romney in lockstep.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, already put his demands out there: "If the Republican establishment hopes to generate this same voter intensity in the fall elections, Santorum voters must see it demonstrate a genuine and solid commitment to the core values issues."
Santo said he was suspending his campaign - which could be interpreted as suspending it until 2015. Surely, he'll be back. And meanwhile, he needs help covering his campaign debt. He asked today for "one more contribution of $25, $50, or $73.10."