Here’s a pesky thought for Kerryites. The chances of the French warming up to their guy if he becomes President are about as great as Jacques Chirac smothering his escargot with Heinz Ketchup.
Consider the following scenario. John Kerry’s just been elected president, and he’s on his way to meet with his French counterpart, while Teresa does Paris. She visits the left bank, saunters through the Sartre Shop, crunches crepes at the Camus Café, and dunks donuts at Derrida Diner. She’s delighted to learn that clever French engineers somehow managed to eliminate the Right Bank, and gives no thought to her husband.
Naturally, Kerry wants to make a good impression, so he greets Chirac with his right arm extended to shake hands and the other wrapped around a copy of Marcel Proust’s novel, “Remembrance of Things Past”—all 3,200 pages of it. He smiles, though his left shoulder sags from the weight of the book. To be positive the meeting goes well, Kerry mentally toys with the names of a few famous Frenchmen, de Tocqueville and de Gaulle, before squeezing Chirac’s dimpled digits. Then he introduces himself as le President de Kerry. Chirac seems appreciative.
“Mon Ami!” he declares. “So long we have waited! So long we have suffered! So long we have been forced to cope with the militaristic, imperialistic, oppressive, bone-headed, unilateralist wild-west cowboy policies of your ignorant, unsophisticated, uncivilized, un-French-speaking predecessor! And now you are here! We stand ready fully to support you, le President!”
“Oui, Oui!” Kerry exclaims in gratitude.
“Second door to your left, Mr. President,” mutters his chief aide and side-kick, Pepe le Tonto.
“I’m just agreeing with him, you moron!” Kerry says without breaking his smile. “Can we eschew obfuscation and get on with things here? So, Mr. Prime Minister, I assume that means you’re ready to send French troops to Iraq to help us out?”
Chirac’s smile vanishes. The thin-lipped Frenchman frowns in a fashion reminiscent of the Grinch who stole Christmas. “Of course not,” he says.
“Holy Leaping Frog Legs! Why not?” Kerry shouts.
Chirac shrugs. “We only supported you for the same reason your voters did. We all hate Bush.”
Still under the influence of his Letterman appearance the previous night, Kerry exclaims, “Well, that really sucks!”
Mistaking his meaning, the prime minister offers him another shrimp. Kerry scowls and stuffs it into his pocket next to his copy of Proust.
On to Berlin, and then to Moscow. The meeting with the Germans didn’t go well and Kerry’s fuming. “You know, you could’ve warned me about that German leader, what’s his name?”
“Yeah, that guy. I thought you were talking about that round-headed kid who plays the piano on the Peanuts strip.”
Pepe le Tonto sighs heavily. “You didn’t help matters by addressing him as Mein Fuhrer. Germans are very sensitive about that, you know. You’re falling down didn’t help either.”
“Not my fault, a Secret Service agent bumped me, Proust fell out of my pocket, along with the shrimp, I stepped on it and slipped.”
“Speaking of which, instead of Proust, you could’ve carried something German. You know, like ‘The Brothers Grimm.’”
“Not my fault! They’re Danish, and besides, what’s a comedy troupe have to do with this’ Hand me another bon-bon.”
“And the proper response after being introduced to a German government official is ‘A pleasure to meet you,’ not, ‘Gesundheit!’”
“Again, not my fault. All those German names sound the same to me, like someone sneezing. Besides, that’s not the real issue.”
“What is the real issue?” Tonto asks.
“They all lied to me!” Kerry snaps. “They took one position before I was elected, another afterwards, and who knows what they’re thinking as we speak. They constantly change their views. For our next visit, I’ll be ready. I’m going to attack their muddle-headed policies! I can’t wait for our next diplomatic meeting. When do we arrive in Moscow?”
“We’ve just landed.”
Long pause, deep in thought. Finally, Kerry says, “How do you say waffle in Russian?”
Ah, the delights of multilateralism.