Romney Outraged at Democratic Mischief

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Back when I was first pretending to be an arch-conservative, I pretended that I had once pretended to be a Democrat but now I'm telling the truth. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2012 Getty Images

Mitt Romney is pretending to be outraged that Rick Santorum's campaign is encouraging Democrats to cross over and vote for him in the Republican primary:

"I think Republicans have to recognize there's a real effort to kidnap our primary process," he said. He was grappling with the "dirty tricks of a desperate campaign."

Yet Romney seems to have forgotten that he himself pretends to have done the same thing in the 1992 Massachusetts Democratic primary:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered a new explanation today for why he supported a Democrat in 1992.

That year, Romney, then a registered independent, voted for former Sen. Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary.  He told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in an interview that will air Sunday on "This Week," that his vote was meant as a tactical maneuver aimed at finding the weakest opponent for incumbent President George H.W. Bush.

"In Massachusetts, if you register as an independent, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary," said Romney, who until he made an unsuccessful run for Senate in 1994 had spent his adult life as a registered independent. "When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I’d vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican."

In Romney's defense, that explanation is almost certainly a lie. Back when he was a moderate, Romney courted Massachusetts voters by boasting of his vote for Tsongas, which he presented as an act of ideological affinity. Now, nobody who runs for office has actual principles about things like cross-over voting. But the extreme circumstances of Romney's ideological makeover continuously seem to place him in especially vulnerable situations where it's just impossible to keep his story straight. How can he be expected to keep this character's motivation straight?