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Reportage. To a half-empty auditorium, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi presented his new book, Avanti. The secretary of the Democratic Party is trying a new persona, but he hasn’t changed a bit.

The Renzi show: New book shows a familiar ex-premier

They told him to present himself as less arrogant and cocky. This time, he stands in the center of the stage of the elegant Maxxi Auditorium in Rome to present the book Avanti (“Ahead”), already widely anticipated by the newspapers. And the first thing he admits is “we were wrong.”

But immediately he adds “the communication”: The most he admits is his mistakes in speech, not in facts. He was wrong “in proposing a cultural revolution as the one we have (partially) carried out with a communication style that is closer to a supermarket ad than a political project.” In short, he is sorry he looks “more like the salesman than the statesman,” but he has nothing to regret about “the reforms we have really made. Many well done, some not so much,” but the problem was the “destructive counter-narrative.”

Renzi wanted the first public launch dedicated to the press. “Just for you,” he squeaks, offering it to reporters. But “you” is scarce. It is a half empty room. Even the ordinance retinue is undefended; there they are Richetti, Rosato, Bonafé, Bonifazi, etc. — but the congressmen excused themselves; votes are being carried out in the chambers. Some new entry of the secretariat navigates in the first row among empty seats. And for the first time, many reporters did not bother to attend.

Of course, there is a professional reason: It was expected to be a news-heavy day, TV appearances in sequence, where the proposed policy would get mixed up with the commercial promotion and it would be impossible to distinguish between the would-be re-prime minister and the aspirant bestseller writer. But it is also true that after Dec. 4, the air has changed and Renzi, who is nevertheless achieving numbers high enough to win his way back, even though he is not really in decline, seems like a bit of a has-been, an old train, one with a brilliant future behind him. And the media circus is a little tired.

But he is not done with the bravado. He takes off again toward Palazzo Chigi — an uphill race on the cover, he puts the fourth gear on his bike, like he did back in his days at the Palazzo Vecchio. But in fact he will take the train like Grillo. The book is the excuse and track of rallies for his never-ending campaign. It is “a book written by me and not by a ghostwriter,” and it shows, a “reflection on the left, the government program, sharing emotions.” And then he simplifies the simplification, “deepening, anecdotes and the human side.”

Here we find a version of Renzi, the thousand days as told by Renzi himself. But we have already heard it a thousand times. But above all, there is the kit for the brave Democratic militant, FAQ, answers to frequently asked questions for use by those who carry out the election campaign. His truths on past and future controversies, already widely consumed by the press: the banks, the jus soli, immigration, “Grillo’s and Lega’s” populism, “the mistake of relying on the [Italian Central Bank]” for the dossier on banks. The veto to the fiscal compact in the Treaties? “A political position of the Democratic Party.” He admits that in fact there will be “consequences even without its inclusion in the Treaties,” but the point is the propaganda: “The 30 billion reduction in taxes will go through.” The slogan is ready. And anyway, “On Aug. 3, we will give professors something to discuss.” And if the Democratic Party has already voted yes on Feb. 1, the answer is that “the veto was chosen by voters in April.”

The anecdotes are about those enemies to be destroyed. Apparently he considers them more insidious than what he would like to admit. They are the usual suspects: D’Alema, the Left Democratic Party, Enrico Letta. D’Alema, who attacks while aspiring to make an agreement with Forza Italia, is described as the leader of the inciucisti for having (allegedly) entered into an agreement with Berlusconi on the elections of Colle Amato, rather than Mattarella (D’Alema denied it, qualifying it as “psychotic reactions”).

He considers the ex-left Democratic Party, today’s MDP, a rock to be removed. We were told — and it is true — by those who asked him to go to Palazzo Chigi, instead of Letta: “The direction of February 2014 is streaming. You will find the words of Speranza and others in the acts,” he writes. “A palace coup? It did not happen. And you know this because you were there. It’s called internal democracy.”

Letta, who was sent home by those who today miss him, is described as a child who “goes into sulk mode,” but also a cunning politician. “The scene of the bell transition marks an investment of the outgoing Prime Minister: playing the role of a victim will always work in a country which is more sympathetic to those who cannot make it than to those who try.” A few pages later, he forgets the reflection and declares himself a victim of disinformation: “To this day, I wonder how people still like me, despite the shameful talk shows that, in the last three years, paint an image of myself that, in the end, even I cannot stand.”

There is something also for Pisapia, who is remembered maliciously as one of the “fathers” of the Milan Expo (half left-left, the one that is preparing for his leadership, did not appreciate this choice), and because he, a coalition man, was instead one of those who rowed “against the Ulivo party” in 1998 (his followers reply that actually, he was against Bertinotti the ensure the government would stand). The inside left the Democratic Party, what’s left of it: “When people who have been part of the wonderful experience of the Thousand Days — after sharing everything, even the details — distance themselves from what we did together, they are not harming me, but themselves, their credibility, their consistency, their reliability for the future, “and so, even minister Orlando is settled.

He feels he is still himself: “That’s why I wrote this book, to invite, engage, excite. Because I understood to be the depositary of the dreams of some Italians — and not for what I am, but for a variety of circumstances. Because “out of the goodness of his heart,” I think that a politician has a duty to go beyond the 140 characters of a tweet to fully express the own ideas.”

Then a reporter asked if he has a plan B if the attack to Palazzo Chigi fails, and he remembered he needs to look less arrogant: “The Italians will decide. My goal is not to live with the obsession to go back to Palazzo Chigi.” But he sniffs the challenge and shows his true colors: “It will not be decided by the editorialists and small parties.”

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