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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2010-03-23

After healthcare vote, the selling begins

With mid-term elections coming up this autumn and some polls saying 59% of Americans are against the healthcare reform bill, Republicans and Democrats will now focus all their attentions on winning over voters before the November vote, say US papers. TUESDAY, 23rd MARCH, 2010

 

The left-leaning news website Politico says both Democrats and Republicans are now looking to mid-term elections this autumn, now that the healthcare reform bill has been voted through. All of the House of Representatives is up for election and one third of Senate seats are too.
 
According to one poll, 59% of voters oppose the reform bill. To reverse this situation, the Democratic campaign “will aim to portray Republicans as Scrooges who would deny health care to the most vulnerable Americans.”
 
“For more than a year, Democrats and Republicans have engaged in a bitter, drawn-out debate over the role of government in the health care system. Their clash cuts straight to the heart of each party’s ideological center: Democrats believe in government, and Republicans believe in trimming it.”
 
On conservative websites and blogs, the buzzword is “unconstitutional”. “Congress will be accused of “trashing the Constitution” in nationalizing healthcare,” says World Net Daily.
 
“Critics say that nowhere in the US constitution – which sets limits on the Federal government’s powers – is there an authorization to force people to buy the health-insurance program that a federal bureaucrat picks out…this restricts liberty.”
 
The website also quotes Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk ‘icon’ who said that after Obama’s healthcare “takeover”, a mass amnesty for illegal aliens cannot be far behind.
 
“The Constitution has been ripped to shreds so why is anything safe?...Obama needs the votes of immigrants in 2012.”
 
In the International Herald Tribune, Paul Krugman celebrates the failure of the Republicans “fear-mongering” through the healthcare debate.
 
“The emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained by the facts of by any sense of decency.”
 
There was “racial-hate mongering”, says Krugman, citing examples of publications that claimed health reform would decide who gets treatment based on skin colour. There were also “wild claims about abortion funding”.
 
Krugman also notes that “it was not a radical fringe but the core of the Republican Party” that peddled these lies. And it worked - the reform bill went from being highly popular to widely disapproved.
 
“This is a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out.”
 
Also in today’s international papers:
 
New York Times:  “Google Shuts China Site in Dispute Over Censorship”
 
China Daily: “Eluding copyright debacle” (Editorial)
 
The Independent: “Is Number 10 set to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet again?”
 
 

 

By James CREEDON

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