Freedom fries, it can safely be said, are now consigned to the dustbin of congressional history.

Those tidbits of political gastronomy were the creation of former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio. As chairman of the Committee on House Administration in 2003, he ordered House cafeterias to rename french fries ”freedom fries.”

It was a sign of the times. The French government was critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Criticism, it's said, is sometimes the most truthful demonstration of friendship.

French President Jacques Chirac, however, didn't seem to be offering his critique in a friendly spirit.

Mired in scandal, Chirac chose not to seek a third term. His successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, visited Capitol Hill last week and the changes were palpable.

Sarkozy delivered a paean to the long history of Franco-American solidarity. He displayed an appreciation for all things American, from the U.S. military that twice in the last century liberated French soil to American culture.

”On behalf of all Frenchmen, I want to reconquer the heart of America,” he told a joint session of Congress.

Leaders of both parties were bowled over. Sarkozy reiterated the depth of his nation's friendship with the United States in a warm exchange of toasts with President Bush at a state dinner.

The relationship of nations is often reflected in the personalities of their leaders. Happily, Sarkozy has restored the relationship between the United States and France to its proper, amicable state.

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— San Antonio Express-News