It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters -- especially of course seniors (who might well "believe they are entitled to heath care," a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.
It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant.
There are a couple of angles to keep in mind with this. The first is the reference to Romney quitting and clearing the way for "the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve." Obviously, Kristol was kidding, and it'd be unfair to suggest otherwise. But given Romney's ineptitude and incompetence of late, it wouldn't surprise me if more conservative voices started making similar jokes a little more often.
The second and more substantive consideration is the fact that there's a division on the right about Romney expressing contempt for the "victims" who fail to "take personal responsibility." For Brooks, Kristol, and many in the party who worry about appealing to the American mainstream, having a Republican presidential hopeful insult half the country while hobnobbing with wealthy donors is an awful development.
But for much of the GOP's far-right base, Romney was only echoing their genuine beliefs -- this anti-47 percent attitude is Limbaugh-esque and party activists are cheering Romney on this morning.
For Democrats, that's good news -- the more mainstream voters hear Romney's disdain for half the country, and far-right support for the offensive sentiment, the better it is for Democratic election prospects.