• Rip and reap.

    Rick is about to find out the hard way, and soon.

    Because say what you will of negative ads... they've singed every surge.

    And indications are Rick Santorum will soon see it for himself.

    Just like Newt Gingrich did.

    And Rick Perry did.

    And Herman Cain did.

    They rise, then they are rocked.

    And if history is any guide, they rarely come back.

    Santorum might be different. But up until now, Santorum didn't really seem to make a difference.

    Now he does. Now he is.

    And now, Mitt Romney has him in his sites.

    And say what you will of negative ads their creators say just state the facts. They do move the needle.

    Usually down for the guy targeted, rarely down for the guy doing the targeting.

    That's why it pains me to say this, but in-your-face, rip-your-face ads are gonna decide this.

    They plant doubts.

    Just like they did about Herman Cain, whose foreign policy sense was questioned long before his personal sensibilities ever were.

    Or Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose smarts were challenged long before his policy positions were.

    Or Newt Gingrich, whose personal likability became a bigger issue than his political positions were.

    Negative ads work because they make you think and they make you wonder.

    And unless you fight fire with fire, you are the one who's toast.

    That is assuming you can fight back because you have the bread, the money, the resources to either fight back or just sit the heck down.

    It is not pretty.

    But then again, no one has made it to the White House just being nice.