"Republicans don’t want Mitt Romney to go away mad but they do, it seems, want him to go away. ...

“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.” ...

Here’s the two-pronged problem for Republicans at the moment: 1) Romney has no motivation to toe the party line now, and refrain from making such comments, given that he will never again be a candidate, and 2) even if Romney quietly steps aside now, the party is left without any sort of elder statesman to help broker future policy and political fights."

http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/11/15/republicans-to-mitt-romney-exit-stage-left/