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Gloves off in Italian Elections

Face-off! A Carnival mask

“You lean on statistics like a drunk leans on a lamppost.”
“Drunk, who you calling drunk? I’m the prime minister. You’re just a useful idiot!”
Now we’re talking.
Last night, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and challenger Romano Prodi finally pulled a few punches during a TV debate.

With less than a week to go before general elections, it’s about time.
The rivals faced off for the second round in a new, American-style debate. This whole notion of fighting fair (camera pointed only on the person talking, strict time limits, no interrupting) has drained the debates of all that makes Italian politics a worthwhile spectator sport.
If you’re not screaming things like “better a fascist than a faggot” (this gem by Mussolini’s granddaughter at transgender candidate Vladimir Luxuria) or storming out of the TV studio when you don’t like the questions, what’s the point?
Until last night, it was a good thing Bono jumped into the fray, griping about how Berlusconi misused the singer’s do-goody-ness in election materials, or things would’ve become unbearably boring.
Baring a bit of teeth during prime time may shake the growing apathy felt by Italian voters; about 25% are still undecided in what is bound to be a close race. Polls have flip-flopped between the two candidates, at most three points one way or the other.
Should it come down a war of insults, Berlusca may triumph over his quieter foe, nicknamed “The Professor.”
Although he constantly paints himself as besieged by opponents — even publishing a book of 500 insults hurled by the left including megalomaniac, bandit and (my favorite) drunken hooligan — and likening his persecution to Jesus Christ’s, Berlusconi is never at a loss for a zinger.
Some notable ones include calling a German MEP perfect for the role of a Nazi prison camp guard and promoting Italy through the “splendid girls” who could work as secretaries.
I suspect it comes from his early days as a piano bar singer; he was probably great at putting hecklers in place.
Let the show begin.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 10:23 AM | Permalink

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