I’ve probably already said more than is merited by the news of Mitt Romney’s pending zombie appearance at the 2013 CPAC conference.

But since we had to spend so much time watching and listening to this strange man during the last two presidential cycles, it’s probably worth underlining Steve Kornacki’s point that in making yet another CPAC appearance, Romney is in effect returning to the scene of the crime: the locale of his annual pandering to the conservative movement, which netted him CPAC “straw poll” victories in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012. His serial CPAC abasements had a lot to do with his survival during the 2012 cycle of what at one point looked like the unsurmountable handicap of “Obamneycare,” as Tim Pawlenty once called it.

So I guess he does owe the regular attendees of the event a special thanks for making him a viable Republican presidential candidate–twice, no less–at a time when all the dynamics in the party should have made him about as welcome as the ghost of his famously moderate and sometimes downright liberal father. Or maybe he’s just missing the spotlight.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.