The presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is on rocky ground. His poll numbers keep falling, and his lack of fundraising has caused him to cut staff positions. So… what does he do to inject new life into his campaign? He goes on the attack during the last debate by invoking one of America’s favorite whipping boys: the French. Fine. But then, in a move of sheer lameness, he has now apologized.
Not just for years but for decades, Americans have made fun of the French. Whether it be for their lack of bravery, their funny accents, their effeminateness, or (in more recent years) their laziness and reliance on the government to take care of them, France and the French people have been a target for humor and jokes. Yes, France is an ally. Everyone knows that. But making fun of the French is as American as… well… French Fries.
So, either Jeb or someone on his team must have thought it was a great idea to use a French reference when going after one of his rivals: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio has missed a number of votes, and Bush wanted to highlight these absences in front of a national television audience at last week’s debate:
The line, although somewhat awkwardly delivered, even got a few laughs from the audience, and it provided a way to get in a dig on Rubio.
But the Bush campaign couldn’t just let it go. Rather than ignoring any criticism of the remark (was there any REAL criticism?) or perhaps making any joke about the French, Bush has now apologized for the remark, saying that he “really did a disservice to the French.” A “disservice?” Are you kidding?
As reported in The Washington Times, Bush spoke to reporters in New Hampshire and said he was “wrong to criticize the French.”
“I made the mistake of saying that the Congress operates on a French workweek,” he told Time magazine.
“I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek,” Mr. Bush continued. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country — our first ally — that helped us become free as a nation! And I apologize. That did a huge disservice to France. It didn’t really get to the magnitude of the problem: Three-day workweek.”
Uh oh… now what’s coming next? An apology to Germany for insulting them while apologizing to France?
Why take up time with reporters by making apologies for an American pastime? Move on! Campaign! Be a man. Bashing the French is a right of passage for Americans, so the last thing people want to see is our potential leader apologizing for doing so.
Was Bush wrong to use the French reference? Should he have apologized?