In 2008, when I criticized Mitt Romney for being a weathervane in a hurricane on the TV talk shows, I thought he was simply trying to undo some of his issue stands from his Massachusetts days to appeal to a much more right-wing Republican audience in the campaign for president.  

The record then was pretty transparent and used against him by his opponents in Iowa and New Hampshire: changing on abortion, gay rights, gun control, even comments about Ronald Reagan. The trouble for Romney then was that most of this was nicely preserved on videotape. The early 2008 ads against him were pretty tough and pretty clear — they went to his character.

But, still, many understood that he was governor of Massachusetts after all, that he also had run a very close race against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate and that he may be, at heart, something of a moderate conservative.  

His problem going into 2012 is much different. This is not the case of someone who changed his positions or evolved or was being politically expedient.  

It is much worse than that. The real question now, after more and more continuous flip-flops, is whether Mitt Romney stands for much of anything, other than a burning desire to get elected president of the United States. Does he have a core? Does he have anything that he truly believes in? Is he only interested in “being there,” to quote the title from the Peter Sellers movie?

The flip-flops go beyond a series of social issues or stands from his Massachusetts days — he is a serial flip-flopper. Immigration, healthcare, the stimulus, flat taxes, the recent Ohio initiatives — the propensity to change his positions appears to be part and parcel of who Mitt Romney is as a person.

He is very much in the moment. He wants to please the audience he is speaking to, no matter what, just like a salesman. But, in today’s world, this stuff goes viral.

The Democratic National Committee has been hammering Romney for weeks with not just old material, but his issue stands of the week. Reporters are turning up the power of the microscope on Romney; witness the latest from Bloomberg’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis on his immigration stands.

The Manchester, N.H., Union Leader’s endorsement this weekend of Newt Gingrich, a seriously flawed candidate, is a real blow to Romney. The question now is how much they will build up Gingrich and tear down Romney in the weeks leading up to the New Hampshire primary, and what impact that will have on the race.

But one thing is becoming very clear: Mitt Romney faces more than just a flip-flop problem. Trying to figure out his stands on the issues at any given moment is like nailing Jell-O to the wall; you can’t do it. His credibility and his core belief system are being seriously questioned, not just by his opponents, but by late-night comics.

The DNC four-minute video is brilliant — especially with the Ronald Reagan kicker line: “there you go again.” There is just too much material for the Democrats and for his Republican opponents not to use.

For Mitt Romney, his failure to convince voters that he has a core, that he is willing to take a consistent stand on the key issues of the day, and that he believes in much of anything might be his undoing.