At the New York Times, they used to have a way of describing people like Berlusconi, people they couldn't control, people who weren't particularly concerned with gaining the approval of the Times's editors. They called them "not serious." Berlusconi, to the Euro Left, was not a serious person.
Nevertheless, he made his presidential debut in Strasbourg, where, as the IHT reported, members of the bastard child of all parliaments listened to his call for improving economic conditions, strengthening ties with the U.S., and dealing with the draft constitution. In a rowdy Q&A session afterward, left-wing Greens and Socialists held up placards, chanted, called Berlusconi things like "Attila the Hun" and ridiculed his country and his legal problems, all in an effort to goad Berlusconi into living up to their hopes and dreams.
According to a report in the Corriere della Sera, the best they could get was a lame quip directed at a hectoring Socialist named Martin Schulz. Berlusconi, whose TV network in Italy used to show endless reruns of Hogan's Heroes, said Schulz should look into a showbiz career because he would do well playing a Nazi prison camp guard — referring apparently to Sgt. Schultz, the zeppelin-shaped camp fixer in the TV series, which is now being made into a movie in Italy. Berlusconi was casting aspersions, literally. Schroeder demanded an apology...
But the lesson for Americans is that at least for the moment we have found our natural European allies — and they aren't British after all. They're the happy Italians. They don't care about European pomposity, they dress better than the Germans, they eat better than the French, they drive better than anybody, and they make stupid jokes about American TV. They're just like us!
From a hilarious NRO article on the glorious Silvio Burlusconi. Apparently, the Germans are shocked shocked that someone, after putting up with verbally abusive and racist attacks in a public forum, would actually hit back by referring to Germany's past in which they killed millions of...Oh, sorry, we don't talk about that in public anymore, it might truncate our ability to criticize Israel. Read it, its wonderful.
By the way, there's a great little addendum: Meanwhile, Barbara Amiel, in the Telegraph, tells Britain it's time to just take the BBC out back and shoot it, before it strikes again.