The previous talking point constantly repeated by French mainstream preSS was that France had the most advanced health care system in the world. This State Party Line©, exploited from the extreme Left to the extreme Right of the French political spectrum, was emitted for years to a clockwork drumbeat on French State TV and radio. That got shot down after 15000 elderly French died in the 2003 heatwave (many of them waiting in vain for ice water or ice cubes in un-air conditioned French hospitals).
A new talking point had to be found. And found it was.
Even if Chirac's adversaries claim that his presidency has been a miserable failure, every political figure from the extreme Left to the extreme Right agrees that his opposition to the Iraq war is nothing less than visionary and that thanks to his stance France is at the vanguard of some kind of post-9/11 planetary geopolitical realignment.
Until his recent "Iran gaffe" showed everyone just how out of touch the inconsequent wanker really is.
"In playing down the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon, President Jacques Chirac of France showed just how marginal he has become as his presidency nears its end."