Why Italy's Obama Lost

Veltroni’s personality wasn't enough to overcome frustration with left
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2008 4:50 PM CDT
People of Freedom party leader Silvio Berlusconi, right, talks to Northern League Leader Umberto Bossi.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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(Newser) – An Italian politician who aggressively modeled his campaign on Barack Obama’s fell to once-and-future prime minister Silvio Berlusconi this week—and the shallowness of Walter Veltroni’s message is to blame, Dominic Standish argues in Spiked. He appropriated the slogan “Yes we can” and even re-named his party Democratic, but Veltroni mainly left voters in the dark as to what he stood for.

Standish claims personality wasn’t enough to take Veltroni over the top, but says charisma did win the day for Berlusconi, the famous TV magnate. The cards might have been stacked against Veltroni, though: Italians were so fed up with the legalistic anti-corruption initiatives of lame-duck PM Romano Prodi they might have rejected any lefty candidate.