Nick Kristof hopes that Romney is a cynical fraud:
Now, do we really want a chameleon as a nominee for president? That’s a legitimate question. But I’d much rather have a cynical chameleon than a far-right ideologue who doesn’t require contortions to appeal to Republican primary voters, who says things that Republican candidates have all been saying and, God forbid, actually means it.
I have never understood the argument that we should hope that Romney is such a monumental fraud that the last six years of his life have been little more than an elaborate con done for the sake of acquiring enormous power. Romney is a monumental fraud, but that is not something anyone should want. Romney is a political chameleon, which makes him completely untrustworthy. No one has any idea where he stands with Romney, because where Romney stands is never the same place for very long. It is a given that Romney will govern in whatever way is most advantageous to him, but that is not reassuring at all. It means that Romney will play the demagogue as often as he thinks it is useful. If he somehow won the general election, he would conclude that the public approved of a campaign organized around a glaring lie, and he would govern with the same contempt for the truth and the intelligence of his audience. What Kristof seems to miss here is that this makes him more likely to endorse convenient ideological fictions rather than less, and it makes him more likely to go along with whatever the prevailing view in his party happens to be whether he “really” agrees with it or not.