Republicans don’t want Mitt Romney to go away mad but they do, it seems, want him to go away.
That sentiment was in full bloom following Romney’s first post-election comments — made on a phone call with donors earlier this week.
On the call, Romney attributed his loss to the “gifts” President Obama’s campaign doled out to young people and minorities. For many, the comments had an eerie echo of the secretly taped “47 percent” remarks Romney made at a May fundraiser.
“There is no Romney wing in the party that he needs to address,” said Ed Rogers, a longtime Republican strategist. “He never developed an emotional foothold within the GOP so he can exit the stage anytime and no one will mourn.”
Added Chris LaCivita, a senior party operative: “The comment just reinforced a perception — fairly or not – that Romney, and by default, the GOP are the party of the ‘exclusives’. It’s time for us to move on and focus on the future leaders within the GOP.”
Speaking of those future leaders, several of the candidates talked about as 2016 presidential possibilities quickly condemned Romney’s comments as well.
“We have got to stop dividing American voters,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. “I absolutely reject that notion, that description … We’re fighting for 100 percent of the vote.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker added that the Republican party isn’t “just for people who are currently not dependent on the government.”
The strong intraparty reaction — just nine days after Romney loss the presidential race — speaks to the desire within the professional political ranks of the Republican party to move on as quickly as possible from an election that badly exposed their weaknesses.
The prevailing opinion among that group is that there is much work to be done and that Romney will have a hand in almost none of it. Put more simply: Thanks for playing. Now go away.