Focus Point - Italy Turns Right

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Post-war Italian politics has been the stuff of farce, however tragic the results have been for the Italians: there have been almost 60 -- count 'em, 60 -- governments, mostly left-wing patchwork quilts.

But last week, voters picked the center-right coalition headed up by businessman Silvio Berlusconi. This time, they seemed to mean it, giving him control of both houses of parliament in the strongest post-war government ever.

Why care? Berlusconi has promised to cut taxes, shrink Italy's bureaucracy-throttled government, and privatize state industry. Parts of Northern Italy have prospered against the odds, but the Italian economy has mostly been a "how-not-to" handbook. If Berlusconi can parlay political clout and public dissatisfaction, he could engineer one of the great modern European turnarounds. Who knows? He could become George W.'s Tony Blair, and become a model for market rebels organizing against the still-socialist dominated states of Europe.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, DDT.