Italian PM: “I am the Jesus Christ of politics”

berlusconiThe scandals and corruption charges surrounding Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi make the GOP’s problems in Washington seem minor league. Berlusconi is one of the 25 richest people in the world. His businesses create a number of legal problems for him politically, and he is facing charges of bribing judges in a trial involving one of his businesses. He’s also compared himself to Jesus Christ in a speech to political supporters:

But then he went on to complain that he feels like what he called “the Jesus Christ of Italian politics”.

“I’m a patient victim. I put up with everything. I sacrifice myself for everyone,” he said.

Opposition politicians called Mr Berlusconi’s comparison grotesque, although he was simply using popular speech.

In Italian, for example, you can refer to someone as a Povero Christo, or a poor Christ, without being accused of blasphemy.

Berlusconi’s statement will be used against him by his political opponents. Those in the European media, who love gifts like Berlusconi who keep on giving, will blast the comments across their front pages.

But do Italians really care that a man who owns a handful of television stations, some radio stations, a collection of newspapers, an advertising business, some film companies, insurance corporations and food and construction outfits said he’s on the same level as Jesus Christ? It certainly won’t generate any riots or burnings, nor should it.

This politician is conflicted with interests beyond repair, and during his tenure the country’s press freedom ranking dropped from “Free” to “Partly Free.” The Economist has been unrelenting in criticizing Berlusconi (just glance over his Wikipedia file and you’ll get an idea).

Berlusconi recently said that only Napoleon did more than he has as a leader, and called a German European Union MP a Nazi concentration prison camp guard. Berlusconi also once said that Mussolini was the greatest Italian statesman.

This is a country where Jesus Christ was put on trial (the case has since been thrown out). With all these comments under Berlusconi’s belt, is this religious reference really all that surprising?

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