by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“Literally,” President Joe Biden said at a Democratic fundraiser last week, “there’s a case being made around the world, not just here, because democracy and autocracy.” That wasn’t even a sentence, but you get the idea. He continued, “You just saw what’s happened in Italy in that election. You’re seeing what’s happening around the world. The reason I bother to say that is, you can’t be sanguine about what’s happening here either.”
In insinuating that democracy is under attack because of a healthy democratic election result, Biden was not just spouting his typical divisive rhetoric. He was leveling a direct insult at a foreign ally — Giorgia Meloni, the conservative Italian politician. Meloni, having worked through the democratic process and won an impressive majority in last month’s election, will be Italy’s next prime minister. Biden wasted no time weakening America’s standing in the world to score a few cheap political points when he insulted her before meeting her. Perhaps Biden feels there are still too many world leaders willing to take his phone calls.
Not that the word “fascist” still means anything — Biden has called everyone who disagrees with him a “semi-fascist” — but Meloni is not a fascist in any meaningful sense of the word. Her party’s economic and social programs do not resemble those of Italy’s long-gone and unlamented Fascist regime. Even the claim that her party “has roots in Fascism” is a stretch — it could have been applied just as easily to Silvio Berlusconi, and for exactly the same reasons (the now-defunct party involving some former fascists, which also used a torch as its symbol, merged with Berlusconi’s party more than a decade ago). But Meloni, a single mother with an inspirational life story and a sharp tongue, is seen as a much greater threat to the Left than the clownish Berlusconi ever was. Meloni is therefore the one who receives the honor of their “f-bombs.”