Sounds like he’s stepping down. Ah, Berlusconi

I’m going to miss him. He’s the villain everyone loves to hate. He’s like the European George W. Bush.

He controls the media!

He gets up to all sorts of shenanigans!

What amuses me about him is that he’s such a punching bag. He’s one of those politicians that the (admit it, left-leaning) press awards the disparaging moniker “election-winner” as though that’s some quality distinct from any other a politician can have.

He obviously has SOME kind of appeal to Italians or they wouldn’t put him in office time after time. Can you chalk it up to him having a ridiculous stranglehold on the media? Some of it, sure. But maybe he’s also what Italians want in a Prime Minister, relative to the rest of the field.

Look, I’m not saying he ain’t a bad dude. Dodging criminal prosecution because you’re the Prime Minister until the Statute of Limitations expires is pretty despicable, but of the society as much the man. Are people saying he rigged elections to achieve this? I don’t think so, which means he did something that’s pretty tough to do (get friggen elected multiple times) to pull it off.

Anyway, the vast majority of public figures are bad dudes. Maybe he’s in the 75th percentile or something, sure, but much more than that?

Most people are happy to talk past one another on this kind of thing. I marvel at how cognitively costly it is to engage in real empathy or admit a mistake (I mean this of myself as much as anyone else). Real understanding of a disagreeing party’s position, therefore, is elusive simply because people won’t shoulder that burden.

We foreigners may never know why on earth the Italians elected such a douche bag. But maybe they’ll be nice enough to put another one in office so we can still have someone to look down on.

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