Can a candidate like Romney still fake to the Right then head toward the Center in the general election without alienating half his potential supporters? Much of it depends on what independents demand in 2012. Conventional wisdom says the independents are more moderate, but what is "moderate" in this political environment. Media analysts say Obama is moderate -- I kid you not. If Obama is moderate, and his poll numbers are low, then Romney will surely turn off voters if he takes the same positions.
I think in 2012 the voters who have to be convinced are voters looking to get government under control and cut the crazy spending. There appears to be a better understanding of the need for free market principles. My problem with Romney, Cain and Perry is not that they don't understand the need for a freer market but that they will mistakenly support our foreign policy of interventionism to save the world from terrorism. Yes, terrorism is a major concern, but we're bigger than the fear mongering and the nail-biting over rag-tag terrorist outfits who made one major hit and now have been scattered and weakened. Despite what Andrew McCarthy, John McCain and Lindsey Graham believe, I don't believe Iran will attack the US nor will they attack Israel. Iran wants to make a point to Turkey and Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area that they are a major player. Iran has too much to lose to risk a war with the US -- their concern is the mideast, and there are other nations in the region who should take responsbility for dealing with mideast territorial concerns.
The US should produce energy full speed and move away from the mideast except when it's in our interests to trade there. If Romney would experience an awakening and realize that these times call for drastic measures and a rebirth of freedom, he could win hands down. If the Left accuses him of flip-flopping, Romney can admit that he's had a change of heart and mind because the serious issues of today demand serious solutions not pragmatic, technocratic tweaks. Sometimes leaders are made by the times in which they live -- who's going to meet the challenge?