US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Ghastly Outdated Party (New York Times)

Republicans are getting queasy at the gruesome sight of their party eating itself alive, says Maureen Dowd.

2. I work for Uncle Sam, and I'm proud of it (Washington Post)

It's time to stop bashing federal employees, writes Jason Ullner.

3. Halftime in Detroit (Wall Street Journal) (£)

Taxpayers will be paying for the auto bailouts for decades to come, writes George Melloan.

4. Obama's dream: To run against Santorum (Washington Post)

Rick Santorum is a good man. He's just a good man in the wrong century, says Kathleen Parker.

5. Fighting L.A.'s gangs with families (LA Times)

L.A. Deputy Mayor Guillermo Cespedes' effort to fight gangs is working, writes Jim Newton.

6. What ails Europe? (New York Times)

Why has Europe become the sick man of the world economy? Everyone knows the answer. Unfortunately, most of what people know isn't true, writes Paul Krugman.

7. Trickle-down environmentalism lacks public support (The Examiner)

When it comes to buying electric cars, the headlines may be about going green, but the reality is most Americans say they'll be motivated to go electric for a far more mundane reason: When the price of gas gets too high, they'll switch, writes Scott Rasmussen.

8. Obama policies threaten America's energy boom (Politico)

It's time for the president to stop stifling American energy and start encouraging the development of all our nation's energy resources, writes Sen. John Thune.

9. As Santorum rises, so does scrutiny (USA Today)

The spotlight has begun to give Santorum a difficult problem: the characteristic most responsible for his rise -- his authenticity as a social conservative -- is also his greatest vulnerability, says this editorial.

10. The enduring fallacy of the CEO president (Politico)

Disagreements are central to politics -- Does life begin at conception? Is health care a right? Should we end the Fed? But they are more foreign to business, writes John Paul Rollert.

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Emmanuel Macron offers Theresa May no comfort on Brexit

The French presidential candidate warned that he would not accept "any caveat or any waiver" at a press briefing in London.

Emmanuel Macron, the new wunderkind of French politics, has brought his presidential campaign to London. The current favourite to succeed François Hollande has a natural electoral incentive to do so. London is home to 300,000 French voters, making it by France's sixth largest city by one count (Macron will address 3,000 people at a Westminster rally tonight). But the telegenic centrist also took the time to meet Theresa May and Philip Hammond and to hold a press briefing.

If May hoped that her invitation would help soften Macron's Brexit stance (the Prime Minister has refused to engage with his rival Marine Le Pen), she will have been left disappointed. Outside No.10, Macron declared that he hoped to attract "banks, talents, researchers, academics" away from the UK to France (a remark reminiscent of David Cameron's vow to "roll out the red carpet" for those fleeing Hollande). 

At the briefing at Westminster's Central Hall, Macron quipped: "The best trade agreement for Britain ... is called membership of the EU". With May determined to deliver Brexit, he suggested that the UK would have to settle for a Canadian-style deal, an outcome that would radically reduce the UK's market access. Macron emphasised that he took a a "classical, orthodox" view of the EU, regarding the "four freedoms" (of people, capital, goods and services) as indivisible. Were Britain to seek continued financial passporting, the former banker said, it would have to make a significant budget "contribution" and accept continued immigration. "The execution of Brexit has to be compliant with our interests and the European interest".

The 39-year-old avoided a nationalistic tone ("my perspective is not to say France, France, France") in favour of a "coordinated European approach" but was unambiguous: "I don't want to accept any caveat or any waiver to what makes the single market and the EU." Were the UK, as expected, to seek a transitional arrangement, it would have to accept the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Elsewhere, Macron insisted that his liberal economic stance was not an obstacle to his election. It would be fitting, he said, if the traditionally "contrarian" France embraced globalisation just as its counterparts were rejecting it. "In the current environment, if you're shy, you're dead," he declared. With his emotional, straight-talking approach (one derided by some as intellectually threadbare), Macron is seeking to beat the populists at their own game.

But his views on Brexit may yet prove academic. A poll published today showed him trailing centre-right candidate François Fillon (by 20-17) having fallen five points since his denunciation of French colonialism. Macron's novelty is both a strength and a weakness. With no established base (he founded his own party En Marche!), he is vulnerable to small swings in the public mood. If Macron does lose, it will not be for want of confidence. But there are unmistakable signs that his forward march has been halted. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.