THE ORPHANED BAILOUT…. There seems to be a pattern — as the economic crisis was unfolding, conservatives accepted the financial industry bailout as painful but necessary. A year later, with the bailout wildly unpopular, the same conservatives hope Google isn’t working so we won’t be able to check their previous position.

Take Carly Fiorina, for example. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was an awkward McCain campaign surrogate last year, and she’s decided to parlay her failure into a Republican Senate campaign in California. Yesterday, she spoke at an American Spectator Newsmaker Breakfast.

Fiorina said that she was opposed to bailouts and President Obama’s economic stimulus package.

Of course she did. If Fiorina had defended the bailout, she’d lose her Republican primary. As Matt Corley noted, the problem is that Fiorina argued last fall that the bailout was entirely “necessary,” because something “had to be done.”

Fiorina’s in good company. Sarah Palin endorsed the bailout; now she doesn’t like it anymore. Mitt Romney endorsed the bailout; now he’s railing against it. Glenn Beck not only endorsed the bailout, he said at the time that it ought to be bigger. Now he’s convinced it’s evil.

I realize that when it comes to right-wing populism, last year’s financial industry bailout holds a unique place in the panoply of conservative complaints. But these far-right characters can only run so far from their records of a year ago.

They have a few choices. They can a) hold their ground and defend the bailout; b) explain why they were mistaken; or c) admit that they’re shamelessly pandering, hoping to score a few cheap points with the Teabagging crowd by telling them what they want to hear.

Pretending that recent history didn’t happen isn’t one of the choices.

Steve Benen

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.