When fighters wake up groggy in the dressing room after being knocked out in the middle of what seemed like a winning bout, they want to know what happened.
As one of many Republicans reeling from their losses this month, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour had an answer: He said the GOP has to give itself a “serious proctology exam” and look “everywhere” for its troubling internal contents.
Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal said the Republicans have to stop being “the stupid” party. He has the position that, rather than relying increasingly on the white male vote, GOP politicians have to appear to like Americans in all their complexity and diversity.
Otherwise, they will continue to be voted against by citizens who get little from Republicans other than the sort of condescension Mitt Romney offered on the campaign trail.
Though Jindal should be complimented for trying to write a new page in the playbook, we have good reason to suspect his positions.
After all, this is a man who signed into law a bill that allows “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” in the state’s classrooms to support the “open and objective discussion” of certain “scientific theories.”
Translation: Creationism can supplant evolution in science classes. That is a submission to the far right, which battles science every step of the way.
The toughness and clarity of Barbour’s critique are more appropriate. When that exam is complete, John Sununu, Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh surely will be found somewhere in the muck, constipating the rational process and blowing so-called racial dog whistles. So will the latest version of Sen. John McCain, who now sounds as illogical and supercilious as a Fox News hack like Sean Hannity.
McCain and muck buddy Sen. Lindsey Graham now look for every opportunity to excoriate Susan Rice, current U.S. ambassador to the UN, over her statements on the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.
But these men had no problem with the incorrect information another Rice — Condoleezza — continually gave during the past administration about WMDs in Iraq. None were ever found, by the way.
To borrow a phrase from James Wolcott, “attack poodles” like Ann Coulter might defend McCain by saying the GOP has “better” blacks than the Democrats. They ought to step away and examine reality, which Chris Hayes made very clear in an MSNBC blog post:
“Conservatives are creating their own electoral enemies. The beating heart of modern conservatism is its visceral appeal to anxieties and fears of white Christians. This is a different statement than saying the beating heart of modern conservatism is white racism or white supremacy.
“It’s not, or not principally. It is simply white ‘identity’ politics, with all of the pathos and ugliness that implies. And if you don’t believe that, go read some conservative comment threads, or click over to the Drudge Report or Fox News, two outlets with a preternatural sense of the deepest anxieties of the modern conservative base.
“Look at the ceaseless coverage of the New Black Panthers, and voter fraud and immigrants living high on the hog off government welfare, and the absolute frenzy the right whipped up over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque.”
Hayes is right. What we need as a nation is simple. We need to see actual logic enter the political ring. We need battlers with eloquent grit and internal fortitude. A Republican fighter who can do more than buy the nomination, as shape-shifting Romney did; who can do more than build a vision on the eggshell-thin ideas of Ayn Rand, as pretty boy Paul Ryan did.
On Election Day, the United States — including those who consider themselves members of the Republican Party — got bigger and more challenging. It is what Carl Sandburg meant when he wrote, “The people, yes.”
Stanley Crouch is a King Features syndicated columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org