by Ore Fakorede
He was perhaps the most clueless leader in the history of contemporary politics, failing miserably to master the simple art of discretion and propriety in speech as well as in public conduct. As the world looks back on his seventeen-year dominance of Italian political life, we kick back with the top seventeen gaffes from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous repertoire of ridiculousness. Try to contain yourself. We couldn’t. ROTFL!!
1. “I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone.”
– Speaking to supporters.
2. “They should see it like a weekend of camping.”
– In reference to the survivors of an earthquake in Italy’s central Abruzzo region, who were put up in emergency tents.
3. “Thank you dear Father Massimiliano, I’ll try not to let you down and I promise you two and a half months of complete sexual abstinence until April 9.”
– In reply to a priest who praised him for promoting family values.
4. “The most keen can certainly find a second job, maybe unofficial…”
– In reference to laid-off Fiat factory workers whom he encouraged to get jobs on the black market.
5. “Only Napoleon did more than I have done, but I am definitely taller.”
– Speaking on a television talk show.
6. “As always, I work without interruption and if occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay.”
– Speaking at a motorcycle industry show in Milan.
7. “I had to use all my playboy tactics, even if they have not been used for some time.”
– In reference to his persuasion of Finland’s president Tarja Halonen to give up her country’s bid to host the European Food Safety Authority and support Italy‘s bid.
8. “I never understood where the satisfaction is when you’re missing the pleasure of conquest.”
– In a magazine interview, denying allegations that he pays for sex.
9. “Italy is now a great country to invest in… today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries… superb girls.”
– Speaking at the New York Stock Exchange.
10. “When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said, “Yes”, while the other 70% replied, “What, again?”
– Commenting on scandals over his private life.
11. “Those judges are doubly mad! In the first place, because they are politically mad, and in the second place because they are mad anyway. If they do that job, it is because they are anthropologically different from the rest of the human race.”
– In reference to judges pursuing his predecessor Giulio Andreotti on charges of collaborating the Italian Mafia.
12. “Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in internal exile.”
– Speaking of Benito Mussolini, Italy’s World War II dictator.
13. “Look for a wealthy boyfriend. This suggestion is not unrealistic.”
– Offering advice to women seeking financial stability while speaking at a political rally.
14. “If I, taking care of everyone’s interests, also take care of my own, you can’t talk about a conflict of interest.”
– Speaking on his alleged conflict of interest as prime minister and one of Europe’s wealthiest business tycoons.
15. “Women are lining up to marry me. Legend has it, I know how to do it.”
– Addressing a youth rally where he encouraged women to marry rich, older men.
16. “I don’t need to go into office for the power. I have houses all over the world, stupendous boats… beautiful airplanes, a beautiful wife, a beautiful family… I am making a sacrifice.”
– Speaking about himself and his (repeated) election to political office.
17. “An Aids patient asks his doctor whether the sand treatment prescribed him will do any good. “No”, the doctor replies, “but you will get accustomed to living under the earth.””
– A grossly insensitive AIDS joke told by Berlusconi.