Zut Alors!

Well, somebody had to make this point, and WaPo’s snark-master Dana Milbank made it well:

There is a certain je ne sais quoi in conservatives’ criticism of the Obama administration over last week’s terrorist attack in France.

A decade ago, Republicans in Congress were renaming French fries “freedom fries” and French toast “freedom toast” because of that country’s refusal to support the Iraq war. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld belittled the “old Europe” French, President George W. Bush mocked an American reporter for speaking French to the French president, and conservative critics called the French “weasels,” “appeasers” and worse. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, was ridiculed by the Bush administration for being “too French” and looking French, and his fluency in French was a liability in the campaign.

And now, that very same Monsieur Kerry, the secretary of state, and his boss, President Obama, are being condemned by conservatives for . . . not being nice enough to the French.

Quelle horreur!….

After recording a series of conservative criticisms of the administration generally and Kerry specifically, Milbank notes that the French themselves seem to have a pretty high opinion of the francophone Secretary of State:

The son of a diplomat, Kerry has close family in France and learned the language at a Swiss boarding school. After the initial massacre in Paris last week, he addressed the shooting at an appearance with the Polish foreign minister, in both English and in French. French TV channel TF1 said that Kerry’s “poignant statement in French” would “go down in history.” The French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy said on CNN that Kerry’s French statement “is a great moment of brotherhood and solidarity.”

So yeah, the administration didn’t handle Sunday’s march very well–as the White House has publicly admitted. But some of the people whinging about it have no standing to do so, and quickly undermining their own credibility on the subject by treating the saga in Paris as just another opportunity for ritualistic Obama-bashing.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.