Sam Boyd makes an important point — just because he was a moderate technocrat before he became a true-blue rightwinger doesn’t mean the moderate Mitt is the “real” Mitt. Part of the appeal of his candidacy to conservatives is the plausible notion that he was faking it as a moderate in order to succeed in Massachusetts.
Even more important, it’s crucial to recognize that the question of his “real” views has a pretty limited relevance. I’d still prefer him as president to crazy Rudy, and the Moderate Technocrat Era at least gives us reason to think New Model Romney might retain the technocratic competence, but it’s not as if once in office Romney is going to blossom into a kind of politician totally different from the one he’s currently campaigning as. We’re learning about his willingness to adopt whichever views are most politically expedient. And doing something like going back on the reckless “no taxes” pledge he’s made on the campaign trail would probably be pretty costly. Obviously, flipping back around on abortion or gay rights would look absurd and there’d be no reason to do it. The Mitt we’re gonna get if he wins is substantially the one we’re looking at during this campaign season.