Mitt Romney's Washington Post op-ed on the new START agreement between the U.S. and Russia was pilloried by political pundits earlier this week, says Steve Kornacki at Salon. Maybe that's because Romney doesn't believe in anything he says. He simply identifies a core audience — in this case, "Republicans who are likely to vote in the 2012 primaries and caucuses" — and shifts his opinions to suit it. That this often results in "nonsensical and inflammatory" knee-jerk politics is a result of Romney's "sense of insecurity." The more he realizes that his "target audience isn't buying his act, the more wild and dramatic his antics become." Here's an excerpt:

"The one constant with Romney is that he will find a way to take any position that is popular with his target audience. And he'll ratchet up the emotion if he thinks it will help convince that audience. The Mitt Romney who put his name on the comically hawkish START op-ed this week is really no different from the Mitt Romney who told Massachusetts voters in 1994 that he would be more supportive of gay rights than Ted Kennedy.

I've long believed that Romney can best be compared to George H.W. Bush, the old Yankee Republican who realized in the early 1980s that winning the 1988 GOP nomination would require a wholesale reinvention of himself as a Reagan disciple. He displayed the same desperation that is so evident in Romney's pandering to the right today."

Read the entire article at Salon.