At least, that's how I see it. On the Democratic side, I just hope Obama (if elected) doesn't actually believe that he can work "together" with Republican revanchists. But perhaps this is to a degree just astute packaging. And I am hoping he will be elected.
On the Republican side, to backtrack for a moment to 2000, one lesson some people take from the campaign that year is that you shouldn't focus on personality in the shallow, superficial way that the press did in preferring Bush to Gore. But another, very different-sounding lesson (not necessarily inconsistent, however) is that the individual's campaign, including what it tells you about his or her personality, is actually highly pertinent.
Thus, Krugman keeps noting that Bush's campaign platform in 2000 showed how reckless and dishonest he is. I'd add that Bush's odious personal qualities were already on full display, although I along with others didn't fully grasp this. An example is his sadism, which came out in the debate with Gore when he gloated about giving people the death penalty. And of course the ignorance, smirking, arrogance, sense of entitlement, etcetera.
All this is prelude to asking about Romney: Just how bad is he, and how disastrous would it be if he were elected? (As now seems a lot less likely.) The prior might have been that his record suggests adequate competence and intelligence, and the fact that he's pandering so shamelessly is just a matter of rationally chosen political tactics. But I have come to think that it bespeaks more grievous defects that we hopefully will never get to learn about the hard way. Encouraging about the process if he and Rudy fail because the truth about them emerged through it.
One hard thing for me about the last seven years is that I believe in nuance and shades of gray. I don't like utterly despising people and finding them completely without any decency or redeeming qualities. But sometimes that is what you get. Next question, just how bad is McCain. He has done some bad things, such as the torture sell-out to Bush, but often appears to have good as well as bad qualities. And if the Rovean grip on the party is weakened, he might have an easier time expressing them. Then again, if he believes in endless war and a 100 years occupation of Iraq, along with endless tax cuts, the good may not matter enough.
Huckabee is actually a likable person in some ways. I have old friends whom I would tremble to see as president, and whom I wouldn't even recommend as, say, a spouse or parent, but who are enjoyable in the right context due to their having some nice qualities. Whatever one thinks of Christianism in politics or his hostility towards gays, rejection of evolution, etcetera, I have enjoyed his deft skewering of the Republican leadership's arrogant elitism. Plus I am hoping he's on a trajectory to destroy the coalition that has brought us where we are today - and in the best case scenario to lose like Goldwater or McGovern, but with the subsequent tail of George's loss, not Barry's.