Cagle Post » Down & Pretty Close To Out In Grand Cayman Rick Santorum has finally sauntered off the big stage, leaving him with plenty of time to lament the length of high school girls skirts and bark at the moon about its nocturnal promiscuity. So youd think it would be high times for Team Romney, right?. Think again. What once seemed like the GOPs race to lose, or at the very least a spirited general election contest, has become a deconstruction and defenestration of Mitt Romney and what remains of his partys brand. To put it in Yogi-Berra parlance, for the Romney Campaign,it got late early out there. [ VIEW OUR COLLECTION OF MITT ROMNEY CARTOONS ] Sure Santorum is technically gone, but hell be with Romney for the rest of this race. Every time the former Massachusetts Governor has to answer to an independently-inclined woman in the Milwaukee or Philadelphia suburbs about why hed get rid of Planned Parenthood, or explain to a Latino family in Las Vegas or Phoenix why hed veto the Dream Act, the ever-cherubic apparition of a sweater-vest-clad Santorum will be smiling gaily over his shoulder. There is no doubt some things are beyond Romneys control. The falling unemployment rate. The Dows hitting and now hovering around 13,000. The delay in creating those 3 jobs building that car elevator thingy that takes you between the garage and the stadium-sized basement in Romneys 3rd house (and favorite structure not located in the Grand Caymans). These were all unexpected. But not putting Santorum away early while outspending him like 9:1, so that the social-issue firebrand could stick around and pull the primary so far right Attila the Hun would have been a moderate? Mitt has only himself and his severely marvelous personality to blame for that. The end resultRomney is so unpopular right now that if his dog Seamus were still around, he might put Romney in the dog kennel on top of the car. According to CNN polling, the former governor will be the only presidential candidate since 1996 to exit the primaries with a net negative approval rating. If you want the thumbnail sketch, just take a look at North Carolina. This is a state President Obama barely won in 2008, bringing it into swing state territory for the first time in a generation of electing right-winger Jesse Helms to the Senate consistently. Changing demographics have moved the state to the Left, no doubt, but going into this election most observers would call it a lean-Republican state if they were being honest. Yet, at this point, Obama is up 5 points, 49 percent to 44 percent. And the internals of a Public Policy Polling survey tells the story of how badly Romney is doing. This man who seems like he has been running for President since the Ford Administation, is only viewed positively by 29 percent of voters in the Tarheel State, with a whopping 58 percent viewing him unfavorably. Basically, hed have to make a pretty steep climb north just to reach the favorability level of Kanye West or encephalitis. It is not over yet for Romney, as there are many unpredictable things that can happen in life and politics (think terrorist attack, economic crash, or perhaps mass hypnosis of American voters). But one thing is for surehed better start Etch A Sketching. Stat.