If we do see, as I expect we will, a reversion in the direction of the Massachusetts Romney, that’s a flip we should celebrate. Until the Republican primaries sucked him into its vortex, he was a pragmatist and policy wonk rather similar to Bill Clinton and President Obama but more conservative. (Clinton described Romney to me as having done “a very good job” in Massachusetts.) Romney was much closer to George H.W. Bush than to George W. Bush.
One reason to expect a re-emergence of the traditional moderate Romney — other than that it will be expedient — is that his advisers incline in that direction.
On the economy, Romney has been advised by the likes of Professor Gregory Mankiw of Harvard and Professor Glenn Hubbard of Columbia. Both are experienced, prominent figures, albeit tending conservative. In foreign affairs, Romney’s advisers have included Richard Williamson, Eric Edelman, Meghan O’Sullivan, Paula Dobriansky, Daniel Senor and Dov Zakheim. These, too, are credible, respected figures.
So, in the coming months, the most interesting political battle may be between Romney and Romney.