Romney adviser Stuart Stevens strongly disagreed, calling Romney “the most popular Republican on the national scene at the moment,” given the votes he received on Election Day. Views of defeated candidates can change dramatically over time, Stevens added.

“Even those who have been critical of the campaign on our side realize in the end that Governor Romney was resonating with millions of Americans and was running the kind of campaign we could all be proud of,” Stevens said. “I think the governor can have the political road of his choosing. I have no idea what that would be.”…

Romney, by contrast, appears well on the way to disappearing, with a not-so-gentle shove from his own party. The private-equity firm founder, who listed his profession as “author” on campaign disclosures, has no political stage from which to operate and few voices of support to spur him on.

It’s possible that the 2012 nominee could be headed for the kind of political ignominy occupied by another former governor and presidential candidate from Massachusetts, Democrat Michael Dukakis, who enjoyed little national stature after his drubbing by George H.W. Bush in 1988.