I’m old enough to remember when any American leader who stood in solidarity with France and other (socialist, commie, effete, gibberish-talking) European leaders was relentlessly hectored by the American right. Remember when Secretary of State John Kerry ran for president in 2004 and just because he spoke fluent French, he was insulted by the Bush campaign as being “too French,” which was coded language for “too gay?” For a short and shockingly insane period of time, House conservatives actually changed “French Fries” and “French Toast” to “Freedom Fries” and “Freedom Toast” in the congressional cafeteria. Why? Because according to former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) the French “sat on the sidelines” in the Global War on Terrorism. How times have changed.
Fast forward to Sunday when an estimated 3.7 million demonstrators gathered in Paris to march in support of Charlie Hebdo and free speech following last week’s deadly terrorist strike there. The march has been called the largest gathering in French history, and included around 40 world leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and French President Francois Hollande.
No, President Obama wasn’t there. As of this writing, the White House hasn’t given a specific reason for his absence, other than a previously scheduled summit in India, but the reasoning ought to be obvious to anyone with functioning gray-matter. First, there are massively complicated security issues that would’ve stymied the event. Doy. Second, when was the last time a U.S. president — any president — marched in a demonstration anywhere? Doy again. Third, a random glance at the news from the last 14 years will show a pretty solid and comprehensive U.S. posture against terrorism. Doy a third time. And finally, in spite of these points, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley did, in fact, attend — a fact that was seldom reported on Sunday.
All of these points, however, were lost on the French-hating Freedom Fries bros who immediately lashed out at Obama’s absence from the rally… CONTINUE READING