Flexibility can work. Really.
Bill Walsh offers his characteristic common-sense approach on commas in his latest post at Blogslot.
Commas are situational, he says.
With the hyphen, I'm generally a fan of consistency. ...And he offers the perfect example of a situation in which you should lose the commas you'd generally use.
But when it comes to punctuation's other most confusing critter, I like flexibility. Do I use a comma to introduce a quotation? It depends. Do I use a comma after an introductory clause? It depends -- and not only on the length of that clause.