I think that this must be the last seasonal image that I'm posting - an illuminated reindeer head in Casa, just off St Francis. Or perhaps it's the first seasonal image of 2012 - a Christmas card candidate that's risen to the top early. But who knows what things will be like in eleven and three quarter months time? I'm typing this watching the tail end of the Iowa caucus, with Santorum leading Romney by just 5 votes, and with him having just given his nearly-well-maybe victory speech. The scary thing about this (over and beyond the "I have a tiny daughter who might well have been aborted if she'd been conceived by some callous Democrat" line at the end - I paraphrase, or read between the lines, of course ...) was that he can make a good speech (Romney is toe-curlingly carrying on right now, Obama bashing - just remember that trip he made with his dog on the car roof). Santorum, indeed, was credible in his populism; in his appeal to workers by endorsing hard work; in his straightforward energetic cheerfulness. That is, he looked like a version of Obama four years ago, so far as a conservative Republican could possibly resemble such a thing. I'm so hooked - have been hooked, I think, since I first went to the polls with my mother in Brampton, Cumberland, in 1959 (effectively Harold Macmillan vs. Hugh Gaitskell) on politics that of course I love every last twist and surprise and even dull political debate. But I don't want this to turn into a scary close election - and I was (oh no, Romney is rambling, and quoting America the Beautiful, at length, and perhaps forgetting he's speaking - another verse! patriot dream! - to a national audience) alarmed to see a half-way to viable speech from Santorum tonight. Eeek.