As an Obama liberal, I offered my take on Romney in this January blog post.
If you don't have time to read the post (i.e., if you have a life), here's a quick summary: I find Romney not as scary as any of the other Republican candidates, now that Huntsman's gone. Romney has some virtues, despite his flim-flammery and distortions of Obama's record.
As for the election, here are some possible scenarios:
Best-case scenario: Santorum or Gingrich wins the nomination and is creamed in the general election, with the Dems winning both the House and the Senate by large margins. The Tea Party commits suicide, and the Republicans undergo a mass reevaluation of who they are. Chances of this happening: 3%.
Second-best-case scenario: Romney wins the nomination, chooses a Tea Party-favorite veep nominee (Santorum, Gingrich, Demint, Rubio), is supported by the Tea Partiers, and loses big. Dems win House and Senate. The Tea Party is marginalized in the Republican Party, which realizes that its monstrous shift to the right has damaged it seriously. Chances of this happening: 5%
Third-best-case scenario: Romney wins the nomination, chooses a non-Tea Party veep nominee (Pawlenty, Huntsman, Christie), and loses a close election. Dems retain Senate, GOP retains House. The Tea Party neither gains nor loses power in the GOP, which remains hostage to it. Chances of this happening: 35%
Third-from-worst-case scenario: Romney wins the nomination, chooses a non-Tea Party veep, and wins the election. Tea Party loses some power in the GOP because Romney owes them nothing and ignores them while in office. Chances of this happening: 30%.
Second-from-worst-case scenario: Romney wins the nomination, chooses a Tea Party veep, and wins the election. The Tea Party claims partial credit for the win and remains powerful in the GOP. Chances of this happening: 15%.
Worst-case-scenario: Santorum or Gingrich wins the nomination and the election. Tea Party rules the whole country. Gack! Chances of this happening: 3%.
Chances of other scenarios happening that I haven't thought of : 9%.
Of course, any Republican win is terrifying because Supreme Court justices Breyer and Ginsburg will probably leave the court in the next four years. Kennedy might also leave.
Two or three more conservatives on the Supreme Court would be disastrous for the country for the next 25 years.