It's quite fitting that this year's Republican presidential race, which has often drawn comparisons to reality TV contests, is beginning to immerse itself in the dark art that defines such shady, self-serving competitions: choosing sides. Indeed, much like any suspense-filled home stretch of Survivor, the Republican contestants are now building alliances based on the shared interest of preventing their chief rival from claiming victory.
The most obvious example is the apparent ceasefire between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, who have reportedly forged a strong friendship during their twin presidential bids. The media -- and rival campaigns -- have undoubtedly observed how Paul's presence in the race has helped Romney, yet have chosen to avoid any conspiratorial chatter. But after Wednesday night's debate -- which saw Romney and Paul relentlessly attack Santorum without whispering nary a negative word about each another -- Santorum's camp couldn't hold back their frustration.
"Clearly there is a tag-team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney," top Santorum strategist John Brabender fumed to reporters after the debate. "There've been 20 debates, right? Why don't you go back and see how many times Ron Paul has ever criticized anything Mitt Romney has done."