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.