Continental Europe Cheers Health Care Reform

And thumbs collective noses at Republicans

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Conservatives have long slammed Obama's health care reform push as an attempt to make the U.S. more like Europe. Today, Continental European papers unapologetically celebrate the passage of health care reform. (The British press displays a little more ambivalence.) Europeans, of course, were by and large pretty big fans of Obama to begin with. The story "Obama's Triumph" is #1 in German newspaper Die Zeit's "most-read" list online. In the opinion pages, the party continues:

  • 'Ja, Er Kann Es Doch'  That's German for "yes, he can!" Ansgar Graw in Germany's Die Welt recounts the epic battle. Meanwhile, an editorial in the same paper declares health care reform "Obama's moonlanding," and praises the Democrats: "unlike the Republicans they recognized that the status quo as a an anti-social disgrace." While the voters could decide to take revenge for this unpopular piece of legislation in the November polls, concludes the editorial, "that in itself would be no proof that America doesn't urgently need this reform." Reymer Klüver in the Süddeutsche Zeitung adds a prediction: the Tea Party movement "won't cease to paint the reform as devil's work." After Obama has succeeded in propping up the economy can he hope that "a majority of Americans will recognize the necessity of the reform."
  • 'He Succeeded Where All His Predecessors Failed,' declare the editors of French paper Le Monde. "[To this debate], President Obama brought his style: calm, patient, determined--far from the hysterical politics manifested by his Republican adversaries. The success reinforces him in the States and on the international scene." The paper works in another dig at Republicans toward the end: "The Republican opposition made use of all procedural artifices to prevent a vote."
  • British of Two Minds--Sort Of  The Telegraph's Toby Young isn't pleased with Obama's new "elective dictatorship," but he doesn't have much company among his colleagues. "For a Brit," asserts Ceri Radford, "it takes a massive leap of understanding to grasp how anyone in America can greet the news that Barack Obama has finally passed his healthcare bill with anything other than a sigh of relief." She doesn't see how getting more people insured could possibly be bad. Allex Spillius admits that there are "genuine philosophical divisions" here, but he doesn't paint a very flattering portrait of the Republicans' position: "It came down to what kind of country you preferred: one where everyone can receive medical treatment (without using the emergency room and running up ruinous bills) or where there are winners and losers."
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