Monti’s botched campaign

Italian PM Monti won over 20% of the votes of the other Italy, that is the Italians that live abroad. There are a number of reasons why nearly one in five of the Italians living abroad voted for Monti while he hardly won one out of ten of the ones living in the peninsula. Some say that given that ‘foreign’ Italians weren’t affected by Monti’s fiscal tightening, and didn’t have to pay taxes on their homes, etc., they had no problem in voting for the statesman that Monti is. True, Monti’s cure was great if you didn’t have to swallow it. But there is also another reason.

A former European politician once famously said ‘we all know what are the best policies to implement, the problem is that none of us knows how to get re-elected once we put them in place.’ A campaign conducted back to back after a painful fiscal tightening was never going to be easy, and Berlusconi, one of the best campaigners in the world knew this well. He kept a low profile until he decided to pull the plug on Monti and started to aggressively attack him, as if his party didn’t vote all of his laws. The professor replied that he didn’t understand Berlusconi’s logic. What the professor didn’t understand was that he was falling straight into Berlusconi’s clever trap. Il cavaliere sensed that he didn’t need to ‘make sense’ to recover his fortunes, he simply needed to make rosy promises to a country that is suffering from ten years of stagnation, and repeated tax hikes.

The same strategy was adopted with different comical variations by Beppe Grillo. You can’t disagree when no details are given. Monti made another mistake during the campaign, after promising to rise to politics; he lowered himself in the personal attacks arena, a playing field much more congenial to Berlusconi than to il Professore…