MORE MITTSTER…. We may yet have more Mitt Romney to kick around.

Republican Mitt Romney is laying the groundwork for a possible White House campaign in 2012, hiring a team of staff members and consultants with money from a fund-raising committee he established with the ostensible purpose of supporting other GOP candidates.

The former Massachusetts governor has raised $2.1 million for his Free and Strong America political action committee. But only 12 percent of the money has been spent distributing checks to Romney’s fellow Republicans around the country.

Instead, the largest chunk of the money has gone to support Romney’s political ambitions, paying for salaries and consulting fees to over a half-dozen of Romney’s longtime political aides, according to a Globe review of expenditures.

Romney founded the Free and Strong America Committee shortly after dropping out of the 2008 presidential primary. He filled its coffers by telling conservative contributors around the country that their money would be used to support Republican candidates and causes.

That turned out to be false. The “cause” turned out to be Romney’s future political plans. It will no doubt endear him to Republican candidates nationwide who probably could have used the extra support.

In any case, I’m not sure what to make of Romney’s presidential ambitions. On the one hand, by 2012, the fact that he was a center-left Republican will be further back in voters’ minds. When accused of having flip-flopped on practically every issue, Romney will be able to say, with a relatively straight face, “That was years ago.”

On the other hand, Romeny’s metamorphosis into a far-right leader is still an awkward one, and the party’s reflexive conservative base still doesn’t trust the former Massachusetts governor.

One other related thought: what will Romney do to appear busy over the next three years? Huckabee will be a media personality, while Palin and Jindal will be governors. Will ol’ Mitt just be a professional candidate for the foreseeable future?

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.