Sunday, May 18, 2008

Allez aux Etats-Unis d'Amérique!

Allez aux Etats-Unis d'Amérique!
A senior Republican accuses the Democratic party of wanting to turn America 'into France'. Quelle horreur!

There is indeed reason for quiet optimism for the Democratic party in November, as the GOP shows signs of pronounced epidemic Alzheimer's and disintegration - whether it's the Republicans losing previously rock-solid congressional districts such as that in Mississippi this week, or the actions of its upper echelons.

First, Bob Barr, the profoundly reactionary one-time Republican congressman, declares that he wants to run on the Libertarian ticket, pulling votes away from John McCain and - what is more - forcing the latter to reverse his impressions of a centrist lest McCain forfeit the party's core of conservative votes.

Second, while we can forgive the septuagenarian candidate himself for never being sure whether it's the Shia or the Sunni who are the enemy du jour, now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has chipped in. "It's pretty clear to me that the Democratic agenda is to turn us into France," McConnell said this week, showing multiple signs of memory loss.

He may have forgotten that in the little incident that led to the first ridiculous outrage against France, which was, of course, the Iraq war, our gallant Gallic allies were proven entirely correct. The war was a huge mistake, as most Americans now agree. Most have tried to blank out the memory of French fries turning into freedom fries in the congressional canteens. French letters were left unmolested by evangelical congressmen who never use that sort of thing anyway.

Typically, McConnell's dimming gray cells, while betraying the customary ingratitude to Marshal Lafayette and the French army and navy without whom Americans would be singing "God Save the Queen", may not have visited the largest city in Kentucky, the state he so badly misrepresents. It is named Louisville, and for a clue about which Louis it is named after, the city's symbol is the fleur de lis.

But is Barack Obama really promising universal health care, pensions big enough to live on, public transport and high speed trains, not to mention generous paid maternity leave, high minimum wages and all the other appurtenances of civilisation that France and much of Europe take for granted?

If so, he should say so explicitly. It could be a winner, not least if you throw in champagne, the cuisine, decent bread and hundreds of exquisite cheeses instead of processed slices and soi-disant American "cheddar."

Of course he need not link it too explicitly to France, which apart from occasional relapses into sanity, as over Iraq, is a little too, well, Republican, in its over-attachment to inflated national self-esteem, la gloire, la force de frappe, and the flag. But Europe may do nicely as a role model for the change he has promised. Allez Obama!

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