The GOP race has become so weak, so interminable and so flush with cash in order to smear-and-repeat, whomever ends up dragging himself across that finish line will likely do so with an image encased in a sarcophagus of mud.
If job 1 right now is delegates, job 1A is how to avoid one's personality completely morphing into caricature. Too bad for the boys still standing, however: like a casting director on a big budget animation feature, the visual media is now absolutely stuffing these guys into the narrowest of pigeon holes.
Take these examples that showed up within inches of each other on Frank Rich's page at NY Magazine. In the photo-illustration, we see the critique of the chameleon, Romney, taken to its super-facial extreme.
And then what of Santorum ("Come here, my pretties!). Witness the residue after a week scaring hell out of anybody with even a drop of centrism in them, spewing venom over the mere of existence of contraception and public education.
So, there you have the GOP race in a nutshell: It's "The Man Without a Face" vs. "The Victorian Scourge."
(photo 1: Photo-illustration by Darrow. Photograph by: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images) photo 2: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images via Andrew Sullivan and Christian Nightmares! caption: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks during a rally February 13, 2012 in Tacoma, Washington. The state's caucuses will be held on March 3. Santorum, campaigning in Washington, answered questions about marriage equality legislation signed by Governor Chris Gregoire earlier in the day.)