Elephant jpg

La Sfida Repubblicana

The Republican Challenge

Il vangelo di Mitt Romney” an Italian headline proclaimed, “The gospel” of the Republican presidential candidate. Poco conosciuto (little known) in Italy, il primo candidato mormone nella storia d'America (the first Mormon candidate in the history of America) emerged in the coverage of last week’s Republican convention.

“Il mio fantastico Mitt” (my fantastic Mitt), his wife Ann said in her speech, “è un marito esemplare da 43 anni (is an exemplary husband of 43 years), un padre affettuoso (a loving father) è un cristiano devoto che dona il 10% del suo reddito in carità (and a devout Christian who gives 10 percent of his income to charity).

"Quattro anni fa mi augurai che Barack Obama riuscisse, perché amo l'America” (Four years ago I wished that Barack Obama would succeed, because I love America) Romney told the assembled Republican delegates. “Oggi dico: è tempo di voltare pagina” (Now I say: it’s time to turn the page).

When Romney ha preso la parola (took to the floor), he attacked the President “sul suo punto debole: il bilancio di governo” (on his weak point: the government budget), reported one of Italy’s most distinguished journalists, Federico Rampini, in La Repubblica. His speech touched “le corde del patriottismo (the chords of patriotism), della nostalgia per i tempi dorati della crescita (of nostalgia for the golden times of growth) e delle aspettative di un costante progresso nel tenore di vita da una generazione all'altra (and of expectations of constant progress in the quality of life from one generation to another).”

Rampini's article summarizes Romney’s piano in cinque punti per creare 12 milioni di posti di lavoro (five point plan to create 12 million jobs):

    *indipendenza petrolifera (oil independence), attraverso la totale libertà di trivellare (through the total freedom to drill).

    *facoltà di scegliere dappertutto le scuole migliori — cioè private. (Ability everywhere to choose the best schools—that is, private ones.)

    *ritorsioni commerciali contro la Cina e chiunque faccia "concorrenza sleale" (trade retaliation against China and anyone who makes “unfair competition”)

    *bilancio in pareggio "per non fare la fine della Grecia" (balanced budget so as not to end up like Greece)

    *la massima deregulation per le imprese (maximum deregulation for business), along with sgravi fiscali (tax cuts) and l'abrogazione della riforma sanitaria di Obama (repeal of Obama’s health care reform).

Unlike American journalists, Italian reporters did not accuse anyone of parlare a torto e traverso (speaking wrongly and crookedly) or of prometere mari e monti (promising seas and mountains — “the moon,” we would say in English). They also refrained from using the wonderful Italian word I would have have chosen for the long-winded speechifying of this (and any other) convention: sproloquio.

Words and Expressions

discorso, orazione –- speech

parlatore, oratore –- speechmaker

campagna elettorale –- election campaign

tribuna poltica –- party political broadcast

Dianne Hales is the author of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language. 

For a clip of the classic Italian comic Toto trying to get out the vote, click below: