Commentators on both the left and the right are slamming President Obama for missing the march in Paris last Sunday. Even a stalwart courtier like CNN's Jake Tapper sniffed that he was "ashamed" that the U.S. was represented by an ambassador––one, by the way, who got her appointment by bundling money for the president's political campaigns. But who's surprised at this latest display of diplomatic incompetence? This is the same president who gave the queen of England an I-Pod loaded with his speeches, banished a bust of Churchill from the White House, bowed low to the Saudi King, blew off Margaret Thatcher's funeral, and insulted on an open mike the prime minister of Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East. Missing the march is just Obama being Obama.
More significant is the fact that these complaints are just distracting us from more important questions about the march. The first is, what took the French so long? In 2012, to take just one example, a jihadist killed 7 people, including 3 Jewish children, in Toulouse and Montauban. Why did those deaths not merit a large display of "solidarity" and multicultural togetherness? Some will argue that the Charlie Hebdo killings deserve more attention because they struck at a foundational belief of liberal democracy, free speech. Indeed it did.