Romney is being erased with record speed from his party’s books for three reasons. First, many Republicans backed him because they thought he had a good chance of winning; that appeal, obviously, is gone. Second, Romney had shallow roots, and few friends, in the national Republican Party. And those shallow roots have allowed Republicans to give him a new role: As a sort of bad partisan bank, freighted with all the generational positions and postures that they are looking to dump…

There is an irony that Romney, the moderate, will be forced to carry off Todd Akin’s baggage on reproductive rights; Joe Arpaio’s on immigration; and James Dobson on gay rights. But when he cast popular policies as “gifts” to Obama voters (ignoring both his and Obama’s expensive promises to older voters), his decision to, as Bobby Jindal put it, “insult” the demographic groups who are a larger part of each successive electorate offered the Republicans the pivot they had been looking for toward presenting a younger, more diverse, and more inclusive party.

Now Romney’s own party will gladly let him, and his reputation, carry off the values for which he is only now, for the first time, really the spokesman.