Not long ago, with Democrats out of power, France was the symbol of everything Republicans hated. When Mitt Romney’s advisors created “Primal Code For Brand Romney,” their blueprint for using tribalistic buzzwords to imprint their candidate onto the reptilian minds of the GOP electorate, they chose France as the Other against which to brandish their hand-sharpened spears:
Enmity toward France, where Romney did his Mormon mission during college, is a recurring theme of the document. The European Union, it says at one point, wants to "drag America down to Europe's standards," adding: "That's where Hillary and Dems would take us. Hillary = France." The plan even envisions "First, not France" bumper stickers.
Now that there’s a real live domestic enemy in power, hatred of the French has receded. At Tuesday’s debate, Rick Perry cited French nuclear power as an unironic positive guide. And now today, asked about the killing of Muammar Qaddafi, Marco Rubio’s initial reaction was to credit the efforts of Britain and France, and discount the American role. (He has since revised his statement.)
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.