Is Mitt Romney laying the groundwork for a 2012 run?

He’s sounding very fiscally conservative in his New York Times opinion piece on the auto industry’s push for bailout money from Washington, but as James Joyner points out, he was sounding a decidedly different tune when he was running for the GOP nomination earlier this year.

What’s changed? Maybe Romney saw the writing on the wall and figured out that the initial position he took on DC “helping” the auto industry back during the primaries is what helped cost him the conservative vote. He’s changed his mind on so many policy positions before in the interests of political expediency, so it’s not exactly a stretch to suggest he’s doing the same thing for the same reasons now, especially considering that the GOP is on the hunt for someone (like Michael Steele, perhaps?) who can lead the party in a positive direction going forward.

Earlier this year, a few prominent GOPrs met privately with Romney to discuss the possibility of him being that person. I hope they’ve changed their minds. I disagreed with the idea then, and I disagree with it just as strongly now. I don’t think Romney’s a bad person, but you just never know where he stands on anything from election season to the next.

And speaking of the auto industry and bailouts, check out what one GOP House member (who lost his bid for re-election) had to say about the money being proposed for the bailout. It’s a good thing he’s on the way out the door, but too bad it had to be for a Democrat who probably believes the same thing he does in that the bailout money is “not your money.”

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