Romney flashback: "I'm not running as the Republican view or a continuation of Republican values"

Another day, another brutal clip salvaged from C-SPAN’s archives by 22-year-old college student Andrew Kaczynski, who’s been killing Romney for weeks with footage taken during Mitt’s Massachusetts Moderate incarnation. You can thank him for yesterday’s video of Romney declaring his views “progressive” back in 2002 and for the one last week of Mitt’s surreal attack on John Kerry in 2004 for … flip-flopping. This one’s an old Democratic attack ad; expect to see these soundbites again in the general election if Romney gets that far. Serious question: Except for Huntsman, has any candidate hit Romney as hard in his or her ads as Kaczynski’s clips have? Perry’s devoted most of his ad time to trying to restore his own image and Gingrich has vowed to run a positive campaign apart from the occasional aside about how Mitt should give back his Bain earnings. (So far, Newt’s even given Mitt a pass on their respective records circa 1994.) Maybe their oppo research teams think this sort of thing is unnecessary, that Romney’s identity as a soulless opportunist is already so well known to the base that they don’t have to risk being branded as “negative” by attacking him for it. But the clips play awfully well online; our readers, at least, seem to pay them close attention even though most are already solidly opposed to a Romney nomination.

Lefty Jon Chait draws an interesting contrast between Romney’s brand of flip-flopping and Gingrich’s brand:

The negative interpretation [of Romney’s conservatism since 2005] is that Romney is essentially running a con, though it’s impossible to tell if he was conning Massachusetts then or is conning Republicans now. (My guess, based on Romney’s admiration for his moderate father, is that he’s conning conservatives now, but I can’t really be certain.) When you’re running a con, of course you stay consistent – you have to keep up the front, no matter what.

The robotic consistency of Romney’s newfound conservatism does contrast sharply with Gingrich, who lurches between hysterical right-wing paranoia and bouts of bipartisanship. And yet the erratic character of Gingrich’s swings suggests that they’re unplanned, and thus that they spring from actual conviction, albeit momentary convictions. Gingrich actually believes what he is advocating at the moment he is advocating it. Nobody can plausibly say the same of Romney.

Romney is the handsome swindler who plots to win your mother’s heart and make off with her fortune. Gingrich is like the husband who periodically gets drunk and runs off to spend a week with a stripper in a low-rent motel but always comes home in the end. Which one would you rather see your mother marry?

Romney’s steady yet unprincipled and Gingrich is principled yet, er, “zany.” Whose finger do you want on the button? Good lord: Second look at Romney?

Exit question: Was this Fox News graphic a mistake or a “mistake”? C’mon.