After starting out as the top Republican fundraiser (before Rudy Giuliani was fully in the race), Mitt Romney’s star has continued to fall, and donors to his campaign may feel their contributions would have been better invested in junk bonds.

Romney has been spending huge amounts of money on his presidential campaign, and at a clip faster than he has been able to raise it. The spending has been so prolific that he has had to lend his campaign nearly $9 million. Not that he can’t afford it, or that spending money is a bad thing, but one would hope, or even expect, that such spending would improve the fortunes of a candidate. Not so in Romney’s case. To the contrary, it seems the more he has spent, and the more people his message reaches, the further down the polls he slips. Granted, he did have some good showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, but on a national level he is performing horribly: trailing soon-to-announce-he-is-running Fred Thompson and soon-to-announce-he-is-no-longer-running John McCain.

Romney’s negative returns are intriguing. One possible explanation is that as people learn more about Romney, they learn about the various conflicting positions he has taken with himself, and voters are sure to disagree with at least one of his positions on a particular issue. So perhaps the best strategy for Romney would be to spend less money and keep quiet, and then maybe he’ll bounce back in the polls.