If these exit polls prove correct, it looks like Romano Prodi�s center-left coalition has defeated Silvio Berlusconi in Italy�s general election. On the one hand, this election could be considered a setback for the xenophobic right to whom Berlusconi pandered in the campaign�s waning days. But as far as I can tell, the biggest loser of this election might well be the editors of The Economist, who look like they are about to lose their favo(u)rite whipping boy of the last decade or so. To be sure, Berlusconi is an easy target, but Bill Emmett and co. elevated their Berlusconi coverage to an art form. For the sake of sarcasm and wit in political reporting, here�s hoping Berlusconi doesn�t fade from the political scene. Sure, he might be a pernicious influence on Italian democracy, but he is just so irrepressibly entertaining for foreign observers like me, that it would be sad to see him go.

Well, almost.

--Mark Leon Goldberg