Ordinarily, Jean-Marie Le Pen of France's National Front Party would be the left's ideal politician. He regularly denounces U.S. "imperialism." He opposed the Gulf War. He is supported by communists. He so despises religion that he happily married a divorcee, pleased that he would not have to marry her in a church. He has lots of affairs -- the centerpiece of France's superiority to America.
But liberals don't like Le Pen. They want Muslims to do for Paris what they did for Kabul, and Le Pen stands in their way.
After years of irrelevant rants against Muslim immigrants, Le Pen's anti-immigration message has finally hit a nerve with voters. Despite glib, cheerful assertions that Islam is a religion of "peace," the French have been repeatedly presented with stark evidence to the contrary. In addition to their usual prodigious criminal behavior, French Muslims are responsible for a rash of recent synagogue-burnings and anti-Semitic violence. (One of them even took a field trip to America, hoping to slaughter yet more infidels on Sept. 11.)
And then, suddenly -- shocking liberals everywhere -- Le Pen rose like a phoenix from the ashes, placing second in the presidential election. He even beat the sitting prime minister.
Liberals are hopping mad about this turn of events. Consequently, they are accusing their beloved French of "xenophobia." "Odious xenophobia," in the words of a New York Times editorial. The Times was in such blind rage that it simultaneously denounced Le Pen for capitalizing on opposition to immigrants, "mostly Arab," and for speaking in "anti-Semitic overtones." How, precisely, opposition to anti-Semitic violence committed by Arabs reflects anti-Semitism remains murky.
Whenever liberals are frustrated, they accuse their opponents of "xenophobia" -- which is admittedly a step up from Muslims who express frustration by strapping dynamite to children. In the Times' classic argument-by-epithet style, an op-ed referred to the surge of European opposition to Muslim immigration as: "hypernationalist," "anti-foreigner," "anti-immigrant" and "ultranationalist."
I don't know. Maybe they just don't like female genital mutilation. (On account of the rich culture brought to France by Muslim immigrants, France actually had to pass a law specifically forbidding this charming practice.)