I recall this editorial of a half year ago only to make this point: If Romney wins, he’ll have won for the right reasons. He’ll have run a general election campaign that has avoided doing anything that would diminish the presidency or damage the country. It would perhaps be an overstatement to say of Romney, as Andrew Marvell said of another political figure centuries ago, He nothing common did or mean / Upon that memorable scene. But it is a fact that Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have run an uncommonly un-mean campaign…

If Romney wins, he may do so with the highest percentage of the popular vote won by a Republican presidential candidate since the end of the Cold War. He’ll be the first challenger to defeat an incumbent who hadn’t been weakened by a primary challenge since 1932. Victory will be a real achievement, and it will be made more striking by the character of his campaign. So Romney will have a broad field in front of him on which to lay out plans to govern. He should be able to resist the temptation to default to a cautious and mushy moderation, on the one hand, or on the other to fall into the pit of small-minded and petty politics.