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Thread: Silvio Berlusconi- King of Italy, Right Wing Pustule

  1. #16
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    I see that you're all on his d*ck, so did you vote for him?

  2. #17

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    And again he asks:

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post

    Oh, and we're still waiting for a picture of you.
    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    I see that you're all on his d*ck, so did you vote for him?
    (guys, he's making me nervous...)

  3. #18

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    Lets keep it civil guys.

  4. #19
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Again Fabrizio, did you vote for Berlusconi? It's a simple question, why not just answer it?

    billionare / real estate tycoon / ACMilan owning / media mogol /Prime Minister
    When you compose his hagiography, don't forget to include singer/songwriter.

  5. #20

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    The last person I voted for was Enrico de Nicola.

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    When you compose his hagiography, don't forget to include singer/songwriter.
    I know, I know... it's not as prestigious as starring in "Cattle Queen of Montana".


  6. #21
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    But Silvio IS the Queen;
    he cakes on lots of makeup, then waits at the palace to get serviced by paid ladies in waiting.
    Yuck.

  7. #22

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    At least he pays them.... Monica Lewinsky was an intern!

    All she got out of the deal was a stained dress and a used cigar.

  8. #23

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    Re. the ideological stance, CLEARLY Berlsuconi is the leader of what, in Italy, passes for the "right wing". The problem with right/left, liberal/conservative is that they are very broad, very relative labels. I think what Fabrizio might have been hinting at is that many of Berlusconi's policy stances (such as they are) would be center-left to leftist in the US and centrist in most places.

    If, Midtown, you have any genuine interest in understanding a phenomenon like Berlusconi (as opposed to just insulting him); I'm happy to point out some stuff. If not, enjoy the bunfight with Fabrizio.

    Most people I know who vote for Berlusconi do so for one or more of the following reasons:

    > At least in words, he supports lower taxation and is friendlier to free enterprise than the opposition (I know several entrepreneurs who voiced this to me)
    > He is perceived as a successful, self-made man and a break with stultifying bureaucratic parties (Ross Perot effect, in terms that may be more familiar to you)
    > They are in some way (however tenuous) linked to his business/sports/media empire (kinda like the home-state effect, again in terms that may be more familiar to you, in US presidential elections)

    His "judicial difficulties" and use of two terms in power to keep himself free are explained away by his supporters in terms of judicial partisanship (very debatable), judicial incompetence/arrogance (not entirely untrue) and Byzantine legislation (partly true).

    An example: under his leadership, 'false accounting' was 'decriminalized' (one charge he or those close to him have faced). Sounds pretty bad, huh? Except that under Italian law any minuscule mistake, even a formal one, constituted 'false accounting' and there was a history of 2-3 decades of Finance Police effectively extorting money from small businesses to "look the other way". I.e.: if you're a small businessman you might vote for this guy, like, forever.

    Bear in mind, that corruption, though arguably more endemic AND systemic within Berlusconi's power base, is not exactly unknown among the opposition parties. No indeed.

    As for his comical vanity, Latin American personality cult and, ehm, indiscretions... It just does not carry the same political penalty as elsewhere. I think a lot of guys in Italy think "there but for the grace of God, go I". .

    As a shorthand, you might think that, when voting in national elections in Italy, your choice could be characterized as follows:

    The "right". Veeery corrupt; somewhat complicit in organized crime; led by a vain, venal and self-absorbed man; less than effective on socioeconomic reform but not inimical to business; somewhat conservative/catholic on 'social values'.

    The "left". Pretty corrupt, just not as much; clearly complicit in perpetuating public-sector perks bordering on a caste system; very divided and ultimately ineffectual in socioeconomic reform; pathologically suspicious of the private sector; socially progressive though more interested in grandstanding than addressing deep-rooted problems.

    Personally, last time around I voted for the "other guys". Living abroad, Berlsuconi is, personally for me, a liability. On balance, too, he has been less fiscally prudent than the other guys. But it's a close call, let me tell you (and "none of the above" is darn tempting, too)


    (edited for typos)

  9. #24
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Do the trains run on time?

  10. #25
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Yes, and they zip along at a gazillion KPH

  11. #26
    Last edited by Fabrizio; July 18th, 2009 at 03:24 PM.

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luca View Post
    Personally, last time around I voted for the "other guys". (....) But it's a close call, let me tell you (and "none of the above" is darn tempting, too)
    I voted for "none of the above".

    I would never vote for Berlusconi and I never have. For me it is a matter of principle. The many conflicts of interest alone should disqualify him from office. But... but...

    I would love for Midtown to tell us his opinion of Prodi... of Di Pietro, Veltroni, D'Alema....

    In a NYTimes article I posted earlier, the authour tries to explain Berlusconi's appeal, she justly writes: "Compared to the old order, Mr. Berlusconi’s political class is seen as a modernizing force. "

    From another NYTimes article that illustrates the common sentiment here:

    "To Silvia Tomassini, owner of a boutique in Rome’s ancient center, Silvio Berlusconi is “arrogant.” At 71, he’s too old. He endlessly commits “brutta figura,” which loosely means that you can’t take the man anywhere nice. Yet when elections come again to Italy — and they may soon — Ms. Tomassini will vote for him. Indeed, polls show that nearly two years after he was voted out of the prime minister’s office, Mr. Berlusconi would probably win it back. In Ms. Tomassini’s case, she does not love him, but thinks he cares for working people. Besides, she hates the other side.

    “He’s not a person of class or culture,” she said. “But he’s better than the center-left.”

    ---

    At least Berlusconi gets things done.

    The Italian people (different from an Anglo-Saxon culture) don't give a ratz azz about his call girls... not when you finally have the mountains of trash in Naples cleaned up ... not when you have a quick efficient response to the earthquake in Aquila: 300 dead, continuous aftershocks, a city destroyed yet just 6 months later it's hosting the G8 with all of the world to see. Remember that in proportion, the earthquake in Aquila is for Italy what a Katrina was to the States...

    Also: It's not easy for Americans to understand but there is a part of the Italian psyche that shuns democracy. Too many Americans assume that the rest of the world thinks exactly as they do.

    Luca compares Berlusconi to Ross Perot... and I think that's a good observation. But I'd also add a dose of Richard Daley, the Democrat who ruled Chicago for 21 years.

    From the Richard Daley wikipedia entry:

    "Daley's ways may not have been democratic, but his defenders have argued that he got positive things done for Chicago which a non-boss would have been unable to do."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_J._Daley

    --
    Last edited by Fabrizio; July 18th, 2009 at 08:31 PM.

  13. #28
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    a city destroyed yet just 6 months later it's hosting the G8 with all of the world to see.
    LMAO, to see what? the ruins (still there), half the city still in exile, 23,000 refugees still in tents?
    Fabrizio, your brain functions in upside down world.

  14. #29
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thoughtful input, Luca.

    The problem with right/left, liberal/conservative is that they are very broad, very relative labels. I think what Fabrizio might have been hinting at is that many of Berlusconi's policy stances (such as they are) would be center-left to leftist in the US and centrist in most places.
    Actually, when I said this:
    "Nothing about guns and tuition and all of that. You paint things in Texas terms and the context here is Europe."
    clearly the relative nature of the labels is exactly what I was referencing.

    Fabrizio has his own precious way of framing things, which invariably means a dubious comparison to something in the United States.

  15. #30

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    Midtown explain to us how the response to the earthquake and it's victims could have been better. Thanks.

    And: do you see any merit in the audacity of inviting hundreds of journalists from around the world to stay there for a week and have free reign?

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