Here we go again. Champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong, who rolled through France at will for seven straight years, joined America’s president for a cross-country ride in Bush chateaux country near Sheehan, Texas. Next thing you know the French press was filled with reports charging Armstrong with drug abuse, even though there’s no evidence that Armstrong ever played for Bush’s Texas Rangers, that he’s has ever met Rafael Palmeiro, or that he’s been fingered by Jose Canseco. In keeping with French law, Armstrong’s guilt was confirmed by the utter absence of evidence, as officials in the land of Robespierre proudly acknowledged.
Now there’s one more reason Mr. Sean Penn might want to stop off in Paris on his way back from Tehran, where, despite progressive mullah leadership, he noted a pressing shortage of urinals. Not for nothing does every Parisian street corner sport that most famous product of the French Enlightenment, the pissoir. To be sure, in French the word sounds as crude as its cognate does in English, even when uttered by as sensitive an actor as Mr. Penn.
As we learned yesterday, nothing was said by America’s favorite Frenchy, Senator Jean-Francois himself, during his attendance at Aspen’s farewell to the Albert Camus of American letters, M. Hunter S. Thompson. According to intelligence reports, Mr. Kerry’s time was not wasted. He had come to observe the multi-rocket firing of Mr. Thompson’s remains, a technology he will wish to incorporate into his own Strategic Defense Initiative once he wins Ohio. Incidentally, has anyone seen Teresa? Are we certain Mr. Thompson flew into the unknown alone?
Splitsville has become a common Democratic theme. Ostensibly, Democrats are split on whether they will accept or resist the elevation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, but the divisions run so much deeper. Do they detest their country or loathe it? Do they hate Bush or really hate him? Do they love Saddam or prefer Osama? Will it be Provence next summer or Tuscany? Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard? Windsurfing or hang-gliding? Straight marriage, gay marriage, or trans-marriage? Marriage counseling, grief counseling, or guidance counseling?
If not for the courageous New York Times, decisive liberal thought would be in short supply. How did the paper of broken record address the matter of Mother Sheehan’s having called the U.S. President the worst of terrorists and the country he leads a tool of Zionism? Not to mention her innocent reference to the spreading “cancer of Pax Americana”? By trotting out a correspondent who yesterday on page A22 conceded that Cindy Sheehan “is not perfect, but neither were Oskar Schindler, John F. Kennedy, Mohandas K. Gandhi…” Not so fast. Is it fair to compare a woman to a man? Besides did any of the above three men ever denounce “Pax Americana”? As it happens, we do know of one dominant male who did: former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, in the neo-Stalinist Nation magazine. Can we agree, then, that Mrs. Sheehan is as perfect as Amb. Wilson? Who will leak word to Valerie?
Words are a serious matter. The ever so clever Maureen Dowd likes to toss them around — until suddenly one lands where it shouldn’t. While recently razzing the incumbent president, she let slip that the Richard Nixon she met in 1992 was a “deposed president.” There you have it, a Perry Mason moment, in which the guilty party comes clean and confesses to everything: Richard Nixon was driven from office, ousted, overthrown, dethroned. That’s what “deposed” means. No one at the Times has used that term in connection with Nixon before. Thank you, Maureen, for telling us what it was all about, in preparation for what you would like to see repeated. Won’t happen, can’t happen, this isn’t France. Bush will remain in office, in Crawford, mainly, occasionally in Washington, perhaps more often than that in Red areas. But always far away from his enemies and Enemy Central-certified enemies of the week.