It’s hardly conceivable that, as president, Romney will become the Romney some think he is. The forces that shaped him in the primaries and caucuses will not go away. He has been clay in the hands of the political right, and this will not change. After Romney recently disparaged Carter’s political courage, Gerald Rafshoon, once Carter’s communications director, shot back with this via Bloomberg View: “Scour Romney’s record for a single example of real political courage — a single, solitary instance, however small, where Romney placed principle or substance above his own short-term political interests. Let me know if you find one.” Rafshoon’s phone has not been ringing.

The widespread belief that Romney would govern from the center is supposedly supported by the equally widespread belief that he is a liar. I hear this all the time: Never mind what Romney said in the primaries, he is a moderate Republican. These people point to Romney’s record as the moderate governor of liberal Massachusetts — even though he has renounced his moderation, as if it was an unaccountable episode of mental instability. The belief that he would revert is the desperate rationale of nominal Democrats who have had it with Barack Obama and want to be excused for abandoning ship. (In the business community, little distinction is made between Obama and Leon Trotsky, another community organizer . . . so to speak.)