There’s nothing quite like watching the most shameless political flip-flopper of his generation spend five minutes condemning someone else for being a flip-flopper.

If you haven’t seen this clip of Mitt Romney in 2004, it’s just stunning. (via Jamil Smith)

YouTube video

At the time, Republicans were so heavily invested in attacking John Kerry as a flip-flopper, it was the only thing GOP officials and surrogates were prepared to talk about. In this case, Romney was speaking to Republican convention delegates in September 2004, and he blasted his home state’s senator on the topic du jour.

But with the benefit of hindsight, and knowing now the ideological journeys that Romney would soon take, these comments are simply amazing.

“In politics it’s pretty much standard operating procedure that when you’re running for office you look at your opponent’s record, you find someplace where he or she has changed position, and you say they’re a flip flopper, and that’s a pretty standard thing. But in this case, this guy really is! This guy is different than you have experienced before. […]

“I’ve tried to think why it is that he has changed so often — why he finds it so difficult to come down on one side of an issue, instead sort of floats between both issues, both sides of things…. For those who don’t understand how he can be so vacillating, it stems from that fact that he is very conflicted, that he is drawn in two different directions — very powerfully. If he’s with an audience, he wants to identify with and satisfy that audience, and will say what he thinks they want to hear. And if that audience, for instance, is on one side of an issue he’ll follow that, on another, he’ll follow another.”

All of this came from a Republican governor who, at the time, supported abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, and combating climate change, and who distanced himself from Reagan, attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers, and would soon after help create the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act.

I can only imagine what this version of Romney would think of the other version.

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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.