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Posted at 07:06 PM ET, 01/13/2012

The stupidest attack on Mitt Romney yet, pardon my French

Excusez-moi?

Are you [kidding] me, Newt Gingrich? You have made an ad against Mitt Romney that attacks him on — among other grounds — the fact that he speaks French?

Have vous completely perdu votre tete?

If you seriously think that this is a good line of attack, this is what the French would call a grosse connerie. And they would be quite right.

I studied French in high school, where they told me that “Chouette!” was an actual thing French people said, thus marking me for life as a rube tourist who would gladly buy overpriced models of the Eiffel Tower from street vendors. Most of my French is limited now to the names of chocolates, cheeses, and mispronounced Southern towns.

But I will defend to the morte the right of Americans — especially presidential candidates — to speak any language they darn well please. More of us should.

I love English. I’ve spoken it all my life. I am one of those obnoxious travelers, who, if I ever find myself overseas, assumes that the only reason people do not understand what I am saying is that I am not speaking English at them loudly enough.

But what kind of stupide, narrow-minded, idiotique attack is this?

Heaven forfend that our president should be able to speak another language — even at a high school level!

Jon Huntsman speaks Chinese, and people attack him. Mitt Romney speaks French, which is not nearly so difficult as Chinese, even if you are trying to read Proust — just try reading Proust in Chinese — and Newt attacks him. Are we totalement and completement nuts? How does this make us look?

Speaking another language well isn’t something to mock. It’s something to celebrate! And anyone who disagrees is a crapulous idiot (that’s French) who should be forced to watch a lot of subtitled films without subtitles.

Look, I understand that many Americans dislike the French. Who knows exactly why. Maybe it’s their ability to pull off berets. Berets just make us look lost. Maybe it’s the way they force Marion Cotillard into every movie that Christopher Nolan makes. Not that she is not pleasant to behold, but there comes a limit. Maybe it’s their ability to eat copious cheese and gain no weight, the one trait highest on our national wish list of superpowers. Maybe it’s some combination of all the above.

But speaking passable French isn’t a crime, unless going to high school is a crime. And this isn’t even complicated French!

These days, people who speak French are more to be pitied than censured. It was once the language of diplomacy, with many wide-ranging applications. Now it’s mostly the language of the Olympics and ordering dishes with snails in them.

Mitt Romney must be a stronger candidate than I thought if this is all you have against him.

Whom does this sway? If there’s a voter out there, somewhere, who sees an ad where a candidate says something in high-school-level French, and mutters, “Well, Rhonda, that does it, I’m not voting for him,” I’ll eat my chapeau!

So stop it, s’il vous plait. It’s stupide. It’s asinine. Watching it makes me want to find you and drub you with a baguette while accordion music plays in the background. This sort of attack makes you look like an unscrupulous, mean-minded, self-centered, solipsistic, chip-shouldering old fart with a low opinion of the electorate’s intelligence.

Pardon my French.

By  |  07:06 PM ET, 01/13/2012

 
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