John’s CPAC wrap-up post included a discussion of Mona Charen’s contribution to a panel on feminism. I didn’t see the panel (or attend CPAC). However, according to Yuval Levin’s account, Charen criticized CPAC for inviting Marion Marechal Le Pen to speak at the convention. She stated:
[T]here was quite an interesting person who was on this stage the other day. Her name is Marion Le Pen. Why was she here? She’s a young, no longer in office politician from France.
I think the only reason she was here is that she’s named Le Pen. And the Le Pen name is a disgrace. Her grandfather was a racist and a Nazi. She claims that she stands for him. The fact that CPAC invited her was a disgrace.
I’m not sure Le Pen’s name was the only reason CPAC invited her. She’s a physically attractive, talented, fiery speaker and an ardent nationalist. She earned the admiration of Steve Bannon, who featured prominently at last year’s CPAC (how quickly they forget).
But I agree with Mona’s conclusion. Inviting Marion Le Pen was a disgrace.
Le Pen does, indeed, stand with Jean-Marie Le Pen. She told the Washington Post’s James McAuley that she is his political heir.
Is Jean-Marie Le Pen a racist and/or a Nazi? Close enough. He has defended the French government’s collaboration with the Nazis during World War II and he seems unsure whether the Holocaust occurred. If it did, Le Pen considers it a mere detail in the history of World War II. The political party he founded, which his daughter Marine Le Pen took over, expelled him for these and other sickening views.
In her speech to CPAC, Marion Le Pen did not echo the worst views of Jean-Marie. However, she did say that the France of today, with its political correctness and large-scale influx of immigrants, is not the France “our grandparents fought for.”
But her grandfather, a paratrooper, fought for a vision of France that American conservatives should reject to a significant degree. Inviting his like-minded granddaughter to speak at CPAC implies too much comfort with that vision.
Therein lies the disgrace.