SHIFTING WITH THE WIND…. Of all the nation’s prominent political players, Mitt Romney should be more careful than most about “flip-flopping.” It’s not entirely fair to hold Romney to a different standard than everyone else, but that’s the price Romney pays for completely reinventing himself. When one goes from moderate, blue-state pragmatist to right-wing, neo-con culture warrior in short order, observers get a little more sensitive about 180-degree turns.

So, for example, these Romney remarks from Saturday morning stood out.

“When government is trying to take over health care, buying car companies, bailing out banks, and giving half the White House staff the title of czar — we have every good reason to be alarmed and to speak our mind!”

Most of this is garden-variety nonsense/pandering. It’s not exactly shocking to learn that Romney is more than willing to play the role of hack to impress the Republican Party’s base.

But Romney, in February*, said bailing out banks was “necessary to prevent a cascade of bank collapses. For free markets to work, there has to be a currency and a functioning financial system.”

Perhaps he’s changed his mind. Perhaps he’s been unimpressed with the ways in which the banking system has been stabilized.

Or, more likely, Romney thinks this is what right-wing activists want to hear, so he’ll disregard his own beliefs and previous statements to score a few points with the Teabagging crowd.

Andrew Sullivan added, “There’s something quite refreshing about his open refusal to have any principles, or even to worry about the slightest consistency between one statement and the next.”

I’m not sure if “refreshing” is the right word, but Romney is certainly in a league of his own. Some lead and some change course whenever the winds shift — Romney is in the latter category.

No one can say with any certainty who Mitt Romney will be tomorrow, and when he might shift back in the other direction should it suit his ambitions.


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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.