He's serious, folks. Former Senator Rick Santorum is abetting speculation that he's planning a presidential run 2012 in a serious way. Today, he's formed a political action committee in Iowa, called the Iowa Keystone Political Action Committee, " that will allow him to assist candidates running for office in Iowa," a spokesperson says.

The PAC plans to donate 25 grand to Iowa candidates by November 2. And Santorum is due in Iowa next week, where he has four events planned.  The press release announcing the PAC makes sure to note that "Santorum has traveled to Iowa five times in the last year including his most recent stop in August to the Iowa State Fair."

It's easy to, ah, pooh-pooh, Santorum's chances for 2012. Santorum is off national radar screens, but he's got a national radio show and has kept a core of loyal fundraisers. But Iowa conservatives are finicky and tend to like to surprise prognosticators. And they do reward candidates who spend time getting to know them.