Did The Real Mitt Romney Just Stand Up?

Erick Erickson thinks so:

For once, we see Mitt Romney undercover and off the record and he sounds like a real person not pulled by the gravitational forces of the DC GOP Elite who have capitulated to $16 trillion in national debt. And suddenly, those beltway Republicans are beating up Romney for saying something off the cuff, maybe not as polished as he should have, but that is agreed with by a majority of Americans.

John Hinderaker offers ideas on how to use this new Secret Romney:

[T]he private Mitt Romney is a heck of a lot more compelling, not to mention more conservative, than the public version. A few weeks ago I attended a Romney fundraiser in the Twin Cities, the only one scheduled for Minnesota during the campaign. Romney was electric, more passionate than I have ever seen him. I said at the time that his campaign should film him in that setting, before a friendly audience of conservatives, and edit the footage into a series of 30 or 60 second commercials. Maybe, if we were lucky, Mother Jones was there and will do it for us.

Michael Walsh calls this Romney's Gettysburg moment:

What he ought to do is step up and embrace the basic division in our nation, including the fact that nearly half the country pays no income taxes. Acknowledge it — and then explain why, morally, this is not a good thing. Why having no skin in the game while at the same time demanding a say in the proceedings at the federal level is fundamentally undemocratic.

Except, as Dylan Matthews notes, Romney's current tax plan wouldn't address this issue:

Given that the campaign has protested vigorously against the TPC’s suggestion that paying for his plan means raising taxes on lower-income people, it seems reasonable to assume that Romney won’t make much of a dent in the number of people not paying any income tax. Whatever you think about Romney’s fundraiser remarks, he doesn’t have a plan that corrects the "problem" he’s bemoaning.

Kerry Howley is skeptical that the videos reveal the "real" Romney:

Jonathan Chait says we’ve seen "an authentic Romney," echoing the general journalistic consensus. Given that Romney is at this event to beg, flatter, and beg some more, the assumption is strange. It's not clear why a slippery candidate would, amid wealthy donors, suddenly bare the dark deep hidden recesses of his soul. Strategy does not suddenly fall away when rich men pull out their checkbooks.

Paul Waldman agrees:

As I've maintained for some time, for all intents and purposes there is no "real" Mitt Romney. His political beliefs are the equivalent of Schrodinger's cat. They exist in every state at once until you open the box to observe them. If the one opening the box is a Tea Partier, they instantly lock into place as a set of Tea Party beliefs; if it's a bunch of GOP plutocrats staring down, that's whose beliefs he'll mirror. Romney has spent the last five years in an intensive period of study, with his subject the contemporary American conservative mind in all its permutations. He's well aware that the misleading talking point about 47 percent of Americans not paying taxes gets repeated all the time on the right, in private and public. What he was telling the people in that room is what he tells any group of people he speaks to. His message was, in Christine O'Donnell's immortal words, "I'm you."