The Capo di Tutti Capi Returns

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According to the Italian media's notoriously unreliable exit-poll data, Silvio Berlusconi and the center-right "Freedom Coalition" he heads is set to again take the reigns of power, with a projected majority of seats in the chamber of deputies and the senate, and Berlusconi becoming prime minister for the third time. The Times of London has the details, and, for good measure, includes a photo of the leather-faced former PM giving his best Don Fanucci-cum-Mussolini wave to supporters of his People of Freedom Party. According to Italian media reports, the coalition defeated a left-center bloc led by the former Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, a former communist party member who was heartily (and bizarrely) endorsed by George Clooney.

For my money, The Economist has done the best job over the years of exposing the buffoonish Berlusconi as corrupt in both business and politics (charges which led the former PM to sue the magazine in Italian court). As expected, they are again throwing darts, reminding us of his more recent gaffes:

Most of Mr Berlusconi's jests have been either silly (the claim that he spoke Latin well enough to have lunch with Julius Caesar) or sexist in a way that did not seem to damage him (his view that right-wing women were better-looking than lefties). But on April 8th, a more sinister side re-emerged when Mr Berlusconi said that state prosecutors, like those who have been chasing him through the courts since the early 1990s, should undergo periodic mental-health checks. His main rival, Walter Veltroni of the centre-left Democratic Party, demanded an assurance of Mr Berlusconi's loyalty to state institutions.

NEXT: "We Don't Talk Green Talk in the Company"

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  1. “and, for good measure, includes a photo of the leather-faced former PM giving his best Don Fanucci-cum-Mussolini wave”

    Who writes this crap?

  2. I do.

  3. [if I get deployed to Iraq comment]

    YEAAA!!!! More help in Iraq! They should be showing up right after I finish ILE.

    [if I get deployed to Afghanistan comment]

    YEAAA!!!! More help in Afghanistan! They should be showing up right after I finish ILE.

  4. “I do.”

    Takes a big person to admit it.

  5. Don Fanucci-cum-Mussolini wave

    Was Berlusconi wearing a white suit, Michael?

  6. Mr Berlusconi said that state prosecutors, like those who have been chasing him through the courts since the early 1990s, should undergo periodic mental-health checks.

    This sounds more like shit-talking than an actual statement of policy. Perhaps this might have caught Spitzer early.*

    *My lighthearted comment in no way detracts from the fact that I think Berlusconi is a douche…

  7. Point of Inquiry:

    Do references to Mussolini and Fascist Italy count as a Godwin?

  8. I think its important to remember that as a successful businessman there is almost no doubt in the world that Berlusconi has violated countless Italian laws and is theoretically subject to prosecution. Italy’s regulatory and tax structure is such that nobody could operate a business complying with the law, and nobody does. So just because a prosecution might be technically correct doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely unjust and political.

  9. I’m with FatDrunkAndStupid

  10. “Do references to Mussolini and Fascist Italy count as a Godwin?”

    That was my point.

  11. I thought Godwin only applied to one National Socialist Party, not a blanket for them all.

  12. Still better than the socialists.

    And technically Godwin applies only to “You’re as bad as Hitler!!1!1!!” or similarly inappropriate hyperbolic comparisons.

  13. Are we talking about Mussolini pre-Anschluss, when he was trying to protect Austria against National Socialist expansionism, or post-Anschluss, when Adolf and Benito had become BFFs and Mussolini was trying to copy the National Socialist regime’s policies?

  14. Not Godwin, but plays him on H&R,

    I think we are talking about when he was a college professor.

  15. Not Godwin, but plays him on H&R,

    That’s why I asked…

  16. The Italians and their crazy politics. Did Ciccolina have anything to say? What’s her party affiliation, anyway?

    Was Berlusconi wearing a white suit, Michael?

    Yeah, your Don Fanucci reference fails a bit with the dark suit and no hat.

  17. It is comforting to see at least one “first world” as we used to call them) nation with a political system more fucked up than the US, if only marginally so.

  18. Never mind all this, how about some analysis? Is “The Right” in Italy good, bad, or indifferent?

  19. Yes Henry,

    But, as there are several other so-called first world countries that are more fucked up than ours, they are fucked up in such a way that those who usually stand to accuse America of being numero uno, see their shortcomings as virtues. Exhibit A …. SWEDEN!!!

  20. What’s bizarre about George Clooney a) thinking he knows something worth telling everyone or b) endorsing a former Communist Party member? I read the linked article, and if anything, the adjective that seemed appropriate was ‘predictably’.

  21. “state prosecutors … should undergo periodic mental-health checks”

    Well, on the one hand let’s not use it to bully anti-corruption crusaders like Silvio wants to here, but on the other hand, Nifong was delusional, and that US Attorney in Pittsburgh seems on the edge too. State pathologists, at least in MS (a pathological liar?)… maybe there’s something to this idea.

  22. Mr Berlusconi said that state prosecutors, like those who have been chasing him through the courts since the early 1990s, should undergo periodic mental-health checks.

    Sounds good to me. I mean, how they can complain, unless they have something to hide?

    I’m with FatDrunkAndStupid

    I’d buy that t-shirt.

  23. “(the claim that he spoke Latin well enough to have lunch with Julius Caesar)”

    Did they order the Caesar salad?

  24. Mr Berlusconi wanks as high as any in Wome!

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