Before Saying Obama Subverts Constitution, People Should Read a Book on Berlusconi

Last week, former Cincinnati mayor Ken Blackwell was on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to present his book: “Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.”

Aside from being very bad at making his point, Blackwell wasn’t able to answer a simple question about the TITLE of the book: “Specifically, how is Obama subverting the Constitution?”

Blackwell stumbled and muttered something about Obamacare and appellate court judges to be appointed by the president.

If this is subversive, please find someone to export this model to Italy.

Napolesconi, by Gippo - Gyp, 2005

What Blackwell (and co-author Ken Klukowski) need to do is read some books on Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Only then will they have a clearer idea of what “subverting the constitution” means.

Here are just a few facts to back up what I’m saying.

  • On Dec. 21, 2005, the Italian parliament approved a law that changed the electoral process, making it less democratic. Sponsored by then Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli, the law canceled the electorate’s right to vote for single candidates, forcing them instead to vote excusively for a political party. Candidates would be elected following the order decided by the party.

    Once approved, Minister Calderoli said the law was a “porcata,” which can be loosely translated as “rubbish,” although it is more precise to translate it as “a demeaning act of a pig.” He laughingly admitted on national TV that he had written the law to favor the government in the upcoming national elections.

  • Berlusconi’s government, with the racist and xenophobe Lega Nord party leading the way, is pushing for a major reform of Italy’s double parliamentary system and of the balance of powers. (Blackwell, listen carefully, because I don’t think you know what this actually means)

    The reform, also known as federalism, would transform Italy into a one-chamber Republic, reducing today’s Senate to a chamber dealing with laws and issues on a regional level. Laws would not need a double approval (like it is in the United States) and would make it through parliament much quicker.

    Included in this package of reforms is Berlusconi’s dream of transforming Italy into a presidential Republic, similar to France. Today, Italy has a president whose role is merely symbolic, although he does have the power to not approve laws he considers unconstitutional. The president, in this case, is another component of the country’s balance of powers.

    Berlusconi wants to become president through an election, but first he wants to give executive powers to the president. As though all this weren’t enough, Berlusconi initially proposed to have the president elected directly, no matter what majority he got. In France there is a second round of ballot voting if a candidate does not obtain more than 50 percent of the vote.

  • Berlusconi’s family owns some of the country’s most influential media and publishing companies. This conflict of interests is crucial for Berlusconi’s attempts to subvert the constitution.

    Berlusconi showing an offensive gesture at a 2002 EU summit.

    His brother Paolo owns Mediaset, Italy’s three most watched TV channels alongside the three public channels RAI. In 2009, Mediaset reported almost 3.9 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in net revenues, with a profit of 272 million euros. ($360 million)

    Mondadori is also owned by Paolo Berlusconi. Last year, Italy’s largest publishing company reported it was still going strong, confirming “its leadership in the Italian book sector (28.4% market share), in magazines (almost 35% market share), and in magazine advertising (26.6% market share). The group is also one of the main magazine publishers in France.”

  • Now, here are three questions for Blackwell: Has Obama changed the electoral process? Has Obama declared he wants to change how the Senate or House of Representatives function? Does Obama own any broadcast or publishing company?

    No. No. No.


    1. Blackwell tried to subvert the Constitution by rigging the 2004 election.

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