My new piece delves into a couple of examples of people admitting that their party's success depends on dividing the country and giving up on some people. Pat Buchanan, for example, built a career on this advice. Romney's mistake is saying it in public -- because once you do that, fellow travelers want you to keep saying it.
In May of 1970, when he was a young former journalist working for the White House, Pat Buchanan offered President Richard Nixon some tips that he’d never stop using. “I strongly endorse symbolic gestures toward groups,” wrote Buchanan, “especially the blacks where symbols count for so much.” In order to divide the country effectively, Nixon had to pretend that he wasn’t dividing it at all. “The President is President of all the people and while they will never vote for us, we must never let them come to believe we don't give a damn about them—or that they are outside our province of concern.”
Like I said, lots of conservatives are argung that Romney's comments merely turned the subtext into text. But notice: He's trying like mad to erase them.
TODAY IN SLATE
I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.
After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales
Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos
If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter
Giving Up on Goodell
How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.