Leaving aside the ideological points [Romney] continues to score with his rhetoric regarding Iran, it’s worth noting that Romney is not privy to the intelligence briefings that the President receives, nor the advice of the nation’s top military commanders. Assuming he’s elected President, one of the first things that will happen will be a full intelligence briefing. When that happened to Barack Obama in November 2008, several commentators noted that he seemed suddenly subdued and that his comments about foreign policy began to take on a new light. That would be called the light of reality. If he’s elected President, Mitt Romney will see that light too, and we’ll find that things won’t change nearly as much as some people fear.
Steven Taylor differs. My fear is that this is a man who backed torture, who wanted to "double Gitmo", whose belief in America's divine destiny has Mormonism to back it up, who was best buds with Netanyahu, who believes that Russia is our "number one foe", who wants a big increase in defense spending, and who promises a war on Iran. That's what we have on the table versus Mataconis' feeling that Romney would turn to pragmatism in office, as the weight of the office and the permanent interests of the US sink in.
It's possible – just as it was possible for George W. Bush to go from a "humble" foreign policy to the eradication of tyranny from the face of the earth. But I have learned a lot about the enormous pull of the military-industrial complex and the almost accountability-free CIA from the last decade, and none of it makes me feel comfortable about Romney's neocons storming the barricades once again.