Many are happy today after the election results because they expressed something at the polls that the GOP needs to face. All versions of the multiple-headed dragon that gives an unpleasant, irrational and deluded voice to Republican radicals need to be pushed from the center of conservative politics. Serious conservatives like Peggy Noonan, Mark McKinnon and David Frum need to be listened to, in the interest of the country and in the interest of Republicans themselves.
All of them know that the party can face the electorate or it can face slowly being erased by political reality, as Noonan said on Fox News and was gotten off as quickly as possible, with a thank-you from a younger blonde. That did not change the truth. So many more knew this than a few Fox News “experts” on American politics.
In a mismatch with reality, Donald Trump continues to make an utter fool out of himself. He sent out tweets saying the country was not a democracy and the election was itself a farce.
What makes Trump important among the lowest and most smug materialists is that he apparently knows something about selling and buying. In a strong sense, he and Mitt Romney are twins of the moneymaking spirit. But Romney did know when to fold up his campaign and face, as well as concede, defeat. He knew he could not sell another thing connected to victory.
But when we look under the electron media microscope at what happened to each of these salesmen recently, there’s reason for hope. Hope working overtime.
Yes, we have had good reason to be irritated by all of the factoids passed off as serious reporting over at Fox News — but even it popped the cold towel of facts on the backside of the smug automaton known as Karl Rove, who could not explain why — lord, lord, lord — even a billion dollars could not buy the election. Apparently, hustlers were doomed to arrive in Hades sooner than expected. We also had an equally good reason to feel our intelligence regularly insulted and burned by the blast furnace of calculated hysteria that is Rush Limbaugh. But Rush stepped into the bear trap of reality, and it broke his ankle until his lies could carry him no further.
For all of that, we rarely got the kind of satisfaction that Trump recently gave us days before the election during an appearance on David Letterman’s “Late Show.” It was a moment of sheer clarity for the nation — and a high point for what is usually the overwhelmingly insubstantial nature of television talk shows.
The Donald stepped into it when celebrating Romney for supposedly standing up to and being willing to take on the dragon of Chinese totalitarian capitalism. Trump said big, bad China was tearing our heart out — and someone needed to do something.
President Barack Obama, who Trump still insists wasn’t born in this country, wouldn’t; Trump’s pal Romney would.
Then it got good.
While bragging about some Trump clothing line of shirts and ties, The Donald had a pin stuck in his balloon of monstrously swelling self-satisfaction. Letterman did it quite simply — by asking the big man where his goods were made.
At first, Trump wasn’t sure. Or said he wasn’t.
It turned out, Trump ties are made in China. Well now, or as Henry V asks, “How now?”
The look on the master builder’s face said it all before he regrouped and began talking out of both sides of his mouth, violating a copyright that Romney had, and one that doomed his candidacy Tuesday.
He proved how right George Will was when he called The Donald a “bloviating ignoramus.”
But that’s not even his biggest sin. Trump suffers terribly from an overweening arrogance and the fervent belief that financial success proves superiority (when it actually leads to the misreading of people who are no less intelligent although they are not wealthy).
All this perfectly paralleled Romney’s ascent, built on brazen lie after brazen lie.
Romney believed but has been chastened. He now knows that we cannot be sold whatever pile is put in front of us because no one will bother to smell. But the people are not lacking the ability to sniff the stench of corruption.
The carmakers in Ohio made it public knowledge that thousands of automobile jobs were not sent to China. What Obama had done saved the industry and sent it right back up to the international top. The president had not messed them up, as the GOP candidate claimed.
On Election Day, these paper-thin men were hit by the firewall of reality. Their ashes now create an indelible and fitting memorial.
Stanley Crouch can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.