Guarini Institute Panel Discussion: "After the Italian Legislatives and the Pennsylvania Primaries"

This interesting debate kicked off with a power point presentation by Lucio Martino, a specialist in politics regarding the United States, which displayed some astonishing figures. Did you know that a grand total of almost 800 million dollars has been spent campaigning? He stated that the world is tired of hearing about the American elections, which have been discussed since 2000.

Professor Pamela Harris

Political Science Professor Pamela Harris

Martino pointed out that history has shown that the party that remains divided until the last minute is usually the one that loses the White House, so he predicts John McCain will win. The floor was then passed on to Professor Pamela Harris. Professor Harris said that she believes Hillary Clinton must now woo the super delegates to win the general elections and if she loses Obama will have to work hard to bring the votes Clinton would have had to his side instead of to the Republicans.

Professor Lawrence Gray then presented a staunch criticism of Hillary Clinton, stating that her campaign ad about answering the telephone at three in the morning if there is a crisis was downright silly. Gray stated, “If she did answer the phone, all she would say is, ‘Bill, it’s for you’.” Gray predicts that Obama and Clinton will end up on the same ticket and that they will then go on to the general elections and lose to John McCain.

Gavin Phelps, junior at Hillsdale College in Michigan, had the opportunity to present a slideshow of a rare selection of Italian propaganda posters from the 1946-1953 period, prepared and displayed by the Christian Democratic party . Federigo Argentieri, Director of the Guarini Institute, commented on these posters and provided the audience with an in-depth analysis of the 1948 elections and the similarities and differences with 2008: in sum, the “clash of civilizations” between Left and Center has survived, contrary to the three major parties of 1948 (CD, Socialist and Communist parties), a unique phenomenon throughout Europe.

The panel discussion then switched gears to discuss the recent Italian legislatives with comments made by President Franco Pavoncello and the Honorable Giorgio La Malfa, son of one of the founders of the Italian Republic. Pavoncello pointed out how remarkable it is that now there are only five or six parties in parliament compared to previous numbers that reached fifteen to twenty.

La Malfa presented an interesting argument that Berlusconi did not win the elections, rather the Left lost. Italians felt a growing sense of insecurity as the Left proved to be inept when it was voted in 2006, leading to the recent collapse of the government and the reelection of Berlusconi as Prime Minister.

This event proved to be a success among students who attended. Phelps stated, “I thought the lecture was thorough, the speakers were knowledgeable and well chosen. I was very impressed.”