Social Issues Won't Win the White House
We've heard it over and over and over again from a few of the GOP candidates this election season: "Marriage is defined as a man and a woman, together in a union." Bachmann and Santorum are the most outspoken against gay marriage in the GOP field, but their outspoken views aren't going to help them; in fact, they might just make them unelectable.
The problem that the candidates AREN'T dealing with right now is the post-nomination campaign. By attempting to be very conservative to appease the GOP base, they are isolating swing voters and Democrats who may be upset with the current administration and its actions on the economy and wars abroad. They are harming themselves early on by saying that they will be a pro-life, marriage-defining President.
Bachmann claims to be a "constitutional conservative" but wants to create an amendment to "protect" marriage. The contradiction should be very evident: a constitutional conservative would probably not want to amend the Constitution for something like marriage, which is a State issue (and at its root, a church issue.) This contradiction, while it won't hurt her primary campaign, may prove to be a fatal gaffe if she manages to win the nomination this spring.
Santorum, on the other hand, has been campaigning in support of traditional marriage. He has many very strong stances on social issues, but seems to be a one-note campaigner. He has yet to fully outline his plans for the economy aside from a typical "cut taxes and spending" approach. (Santorum should be cautious about his stances on gay rights, as his run in with gay rights supporters led to an unfortunate googling of his name. Trust me, you don't want to google "Santorum").
The chances that either of these two traditional candidates will win is quite slim, as most media outlets have already decided that Romney and Perry will be the top guys. In the off chance that Bachmann or Santorum did win the nomination, their social issue stances would win the White House, they would lose it for them.
The GOP needs to stick to the economy and jobs if they want to win. If unemployment and the economy stagnate for the next 12 months, we will see a GOP president, whomever it may be.