A while back I posted about the futile search for the "real" Barack Obama, and I suggested that his true identity wasn't a secret. We see him governing every day, and he's not about to change his behavior after getting reelected/the 2014 midterms/becoming a lame duck, etc.
I feel quite similarly about efforts to divine the "true" Mitt Romney. Is he the centrist he was when he governed Massachusetts, just acting conservative to keep favor with Republican activists? Did his "47%" comments reveal his true colors, showing him to be a hardcore Ayn Randian who was just faking it back in the Bay State?
To me, these pursuits are a bit silly. Mitt Romney is a politician. (Note: That is a line of work, not an insult.) That means he attempts to manage coalitions, and the coalition he dealt with in Massachusetts is very different from the one he's dealing with today. He is currently trying to keep together people who want lower taxes for CEOs, people who want abortion providers jailed, and people who wear tricorn hats with Lipton bags hanging from them. These people do not all see eye to eye. But Romney is trying to keep them in his tent while winning over some more moderate senior citizens, suburban homemakers, and others.
As for his 47% comments, yes, that was a closed-door event, but that doesn't mean he was revealing his "true" preferences to that group while deceiving everyone outside. That was a campaign appearance like any other. While it was, in my opinion, foolish for him to believe that no one outside the event would ever hear his words, we don't really know whether that's the key to knowing how he would govern as president.
As president, Romney's decisions would be molded by the exact same forces that are molding his campaign. Yes, there would be pressure on him to moderate his policies to remain popular, but there are pressures on him now to do the same thing, and he's largely resisting them. He appears more concerned about offending the right than he does about offending the center, and there's no reason to believe he'd behave differently as president. This is not a criticism of him or a claim about who he truly is at his core; it is just an acknowledgment that Romney is, like any politician, a product of party and circumstance.
Now, understanding the psychology of a presidential candidate can certainly be an interesting and enjoyable pursuit. Mitt Romney, according to Nate Silver, has about a 1 in 4 chance of being elected president in November; that puts his chances way ahead of those of everyone else in the world, save Obama. That in itself makes Romney an interesting person. Beyond that, he's had a pretty interesting life. Learning what makes him tick is potentially worthwhile. But it won't help us understand his policy or political decisions, and it won't lead us to discover who is truly is. We can see who he truly is every day.