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Friday, April 21, 2006

Atrios Atrios himself asks for my opinion.

"I'm curious if any people a bit closer to the action on the ground have a sense of how the Italian population is reacting to Silvio's shenanigans"

I live in Rome. The Italians I know are disgusted but not surprised by Berlusconi's antics. A refusal to reject the legitimacy of anyone who disagrees with him, including the majority of voters in this case, is typical. He is beyond Bush in arrogant denial of reality. This is the second time he has questioned the validity of counted votes. The other time he said his own internal exit polls (which showed him winning as always) were more reliable.

The problem is that I have almost never met anyone who admits to voting for Berlusconi (I work at a University but still ...). Somehow he has won two national elections with almost 0 confessed supporters.

Oddly I got a glimpse of pro Berlusconi views in a cab on election night (I waited at center left headquarters untill the victory speach at 3:00 AM and all public transportation was long closed).

The cab driver was not pleased at the results but mainly hoped that tons more money wouldn't be wasted on another vote. He said Prodi's plan to reintroduce the inheritance tax was unfair to working class Italians. He said corrupt politicians should just leave public life. His example of corruption was Massimo D'Alema who, gasp, once rented an apartment without paying a rent higher than the absurdly low legal maximum (this is due to an insane national rent control law eliminated by the center left last time they were in power).

There are Berlusconi supporters (half of the population) but few talk to me and their perception of the facts is more bizarre than Glenn Reynolds'. The explanation can be found back on election day, when the center left put on Murdoch owned Sky TV for a relatively fair and balanced report on what was happening (Berlusconi owned and Berlusconi controlled public TV had reported projections that Berlusconi had won).

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