"You can't go home again. Didn't somebody from your state say it?"This is an imaginary Mitt Romney talking to an imaginary John Edwards a few imaginary days ago, in a very secret meeting at the Edwards home. "That's right. North Carolina's Thomas Wolfe wrote a book that had those words as its title," Edwards replies. "The hero leaves home, loses touch, writes some things that make his old neighbors angry, and when he comes back they treat him like he was a traitor.""Well, that's just where I am right now," Romney continues. "The people in Massachusetts say that I gave up my Massachusetts values when I ran for president. You know it is a pretty liberal state, and it mostly votes Democratic in statewide elections. So, as a Republican, I would have had no chance of winning if I had taken a hard-line conservative position when I was running for statewide office up there. In fact, some conservative commentators said that my views on abortion and gay marriage are 'largely indistinguishable' from Massachusetts senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry. When I did get elected governor, I pushed through a comprehensive health-care plan that got criticism from conservatives. But most of the people in Massachusetts liked it fine. They thought that even though I was a Republican, I was liberal enough to get their votes."Then, when I ran for the Republican nomination for president, I found that my Massachusetts approach wouldn't make me many friends among the conservatives whose support I needed in that contest. So you'll find that my views on abortion and gay marriage -- and other things like universal health care and immigration -- have changed so much that the folks in Massachusetts are not going to have the welcome mat out for me if I should ever run for office there again."Your Thomas Wolfe said it right. I need to find a new place to go home, a more conservative place, more in tune with my new politics.""I know what you mean," the imaginary Edwards says. "The people down here say that I gave up my North Carolina political values when I ran for president. It is a pretty conservative state, and it mostly votes Republican in U.S. Senate and presidential elections. So, as a Democrat, I would have had no chance of winning if I had taken hard-line liberal positions when I was running for the Senate office down here. "I ran and won as a moderate, which would be a conservative by your Massachusetts standards. Like you, I had to change my emphasis when I ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. I had to appeal to the hard line liberal voters who make up the core of primary and caucus voters on the Democratic side. I am afraid that I've gone too far to the left politically to have a chance to win again in North Carolina. You know, I would stand a better chance running for office in Massachusetts." "That's funny," Romney says, "With my new hard-line conservative political profile, I bet I would do better in North Carolina than Massachusetts. Maybe we should just trade places. We might do better politically in each others' backyards.""Sounds good to me," Edwards says. "I think I am ready to move. But first, how big is your house?""Not quite as big as yours, but big enough.""Well, can I get a haircut up there without getting stuff all over my hair like you've got?""For what you're willing to pay, you can get whatever kind of hair treatment you want. Deal?""Deal," says Edwards."Watch out, Bob Orr, Fred Smith, Pat McCrory, Bill Graham," says Romney. "Here I come."