Pandering better than authenticity?

Jennifer Rubin, over at Race42008, wrote a summary of the 2008 candidate responses to yesterday’s SCOTUS decision. At one point, she said:

Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani issued statements applauding the decision. Romney made no mention of prior support of campaign finance reform but his ringing endorsement of the Court’s decision was clearly welcome news to the conservative base which seems less concerned with consistency than with vocal support for their favored positions. Giuliani delayed comment until he had actually read the opinion and only after a review issued a careful statement making clear that on this point – issue ads in the heat of campaigns– he sided with the Supreme Court. As he did on partial birth abortion he seems to be taking reasoned steps which strengthen his position with conservatives without a wholesale repudiation of prior views.

Like support for comprehensive immigration reform, prior to running for President, all the major candidates were supportive of BCRA-style campaign finance reform. Indeed, Mitt Romney even went much, much farther. Now all but John McCain have backed away. And many conservatives pundocrats have demanded that he pander and flip-flop too.

So the pattern is clear. Run on some positions your whole life, then change them to win the nomination. Then what?

Is that a healthy way for a political party or a political movement to behave? What does this say about our intellectual class?