Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney raised a few eyebrows by sounding half-way sensible about climate change. “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he told a New Hampshire crowd. “It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”

Upon closer inspection, it appears Romney recognizes the problem, but doesn’t actually want to do anything to address it. Still, the fact that he even acknowledged reality in public was a pleasant surprise.

Of course, it’s 2011, and GOP presidential candidates are generally punished, not rewarded, for fleeting moments of sanity. The Washington Post reports today that the “reviews from the right are not positive,” and that Rush Limbaugh, after playing the clip of Romney’s comments, told listeners, “Bye-bye, nomination…. Another one down. We’re in the midst here of discovering that this is all a hoax. The last year has established that the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax, and we still have presidential candidates that want to buy into it.”

So, Romney has a problem with his base. That’s not new. What is new is the hilarious spin from the former governor’s campaign team.

“The fact that he doesn’t change his position … that’s the upside for us,” said one Romney adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign. “He’s not going to change his mind on these issues to put his finger in the wind for what scores points with these parts of the party.”

This quote is about Mitt Romney.

We’re talking about a man who’s practically a flip-flopping legend. Romney has demonstrated a willingness to flip-flop like no other American politician in a generation.

Romney was a pro-choice supporter of gay rights, gun control, and comprehensive immigration reform. He’s reversed course on everything from economic stimulus to health care, the auto-industry rescue to foreign policy.

Mitt Romney is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.

“He’s not going to change his mind on these issues to put his finger in the wind for what scores points with these parts of the party”? In reality, that’s pretty much the only thing Mitt Romney does.

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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.