This is just a sense I get but it seems like the establishment may have started to abandon Romney and possibly even turn on him. People who did their utmost to vilify every conservative challenger who started threatening his front runner status seem to be staying quiet on Santorum and even starting to criticize Romney himself. Peggy Noonan has referred to Romney as a "death star" because of his scorched earth campaign tactics. Even Jen Rubin, who has ruined her reputation by becoming Romney's cheerleader in chief, has offered some criticism. Apparently, some have even personally told Romney to not attack Santorum. He's even been openly mocked for calling himself "severely conservative".
And all of this coming at a time where the Romney campaign is flailing badly. Between his comment about not caring about the poor, his endorsement of a job-killing increase in the minimum wage and his string of losses in races where his organization & money should have taken the day, Romney's campaign is on the ropes. Yet, he seems to be unable to come up with any winning attacks on Santorum, just lame criticisms of earmarks. It's not like there isn't a lot of material he could use.
On February 28th, he might lose his home state of Michigan, where his father was Governor and CEO of American Motors. Then on Super Tuesday on March 6th, it seems very possible that he might only carry Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia (only because he and Paul are the only candidates on the ballot). Winning only 3 out of 10 races that day would be a catastrophe for his campaign and could be the end. This is the time for the establishment to get behind their guy, and yet they are eerily silent in his defense.
Perhaps the establishment finally had it sink in that if Romney is the nominee that they risk losing in the fall between his gaffes and a large portion of the GOP base staying home? Maybe they have decided that Santorum would be a good compromise candidate as he is establishment enough to play ball with them while at the same time appealing to the Tea Party?
Anyway, we'll see what happens. This has been one tumultuous primary season.