Remain calm

July 10, 2009

SILVIO BERLUSCONI

SILVIO BERLUSCONI

Personal attacks may be driving Sarah Palin from public office, but not so the prime minister of Italy. Silvio Berlusconi told G8 leaders gathered in L’Aquila, “You all know very well they are making personal attacks on me, but don’t worry, I will be leading my country for another four years.”

Berlusconi’s perceived dalliances and affairs and his tumultuous marriage have made for lively reading, and they have also made for no end of righteous explanations from the prime minister. He and Gov. Palin have this in common: Neither has done anything wrong.

It’s unusual, to say the least, for the head of a government to address an internal matter like Berlusconi’s circus of a life before  a gathering of his peers, but this is no ordinary man. Perhaps the most interesting thing about his statement was the tone of reassurance: “Don’t worry,” he told his colleagues, “ma state tranquilli” — the expression literally means “but remain calm.” Here was Berlusconi — within himself seriously concerned about the battering his reputation has taken in capitals around the world — expressing his determination to remain in office in terms that make him sound not vulnerable, but indispensible.

On balance, even coming from Berlusconi, it was more heroic than anything we’ve seen in Wasilla.

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