If this is how you treat a friend…

The BBC has a hot article on how the Bush White House, normally the masters of spin and PR, distributed a brief to journalists a brief calling Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as a political “amateur” who is “hated by many”.

According to the Beeb:

The four-page description of Mr Berlusconi had been taken from the Encyclopedia of World Biography.

It refers to the Italian prime minister as a man “hated by many but respected by all at least for his bella figura (personal style) and the sheer force of his will”.

It says Mr Berlusconi was said to be “regarded by many as a political dilettante (amateur) who gained his high office only through use of his considerable influence on the national media”.

Acknowledging the error, White House spokesman Tony Fratto issued an apology.

This was either a deliberate “leak” or a calculated shot across Berlusconi’s bow as Bush prepares to make his exit. (Please let it be so…) Knowing what we know of the Bush regime, it’s hard to say which it is. A corrupt right-wing billionaire media magnate such as Berlusconi seems like a natural member of Bush’s base, the “haves and the have-mores.” (I am not making any of that up.) Why they’d insult him is beyond me. But many of their machinations will be for some time to come.

The entry for Mr. Berlusconi seems to be unavailable through the Encyclopedia of World Biography that was linked to by the BBC.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.