Sunday, December 14, 2008

On Shutting Up Morons

It is debilitating that even this late into the game there are smarty-pantsies insisting that the Liberal Democratic Party is not finished because "the party has been declared dead a hundred times over and yet has always found a way to survive."

Please. Shut up. Now.

It is truly over.

The party is spitting out a president it elected by an overwhelming majority TWELVE WEEKS AGO.

The LDP's problem is not that it cannot dealt with the grubby opportunism of its coalition partner, the New Kōmeitō. It is not that it cannot deal with the House of Councillors being under the control of the Democratic Party of Japan-led opposition. It is not that it cannot deal with Japan's broader structural problems including rural depopulation, low birthrates, parasitic industries and communities and poor public spending priorities. It is not that it cannot deal with the whiplash of the current global financial crisis and economic slowdown.

It is that the LDP cannot deal with itself.

Please. Do not dare tell me the voters do not understand this.

10 comments:

AK said...

They do have a point, though. The LDP survived the apocalypse of 1993, I am no expert but if it could survive that and come back then I would rather shoot a few extra rounds in the body and burn it just to make sure.

FPS said...

The LDP can't survive forever. Even though it survived the 1990s, it's been a walking corpse for much of that time, and again in recent years since Abe, Fukuda, and now Aso have taken a kick at the can.

It's impossible to imagine the DPJ not getting a majority in the lower house come the next election. I just hope they do a good job once in power, otherwise Japanese voters could be stripped of what little faith they may have left in politics.

In any case, the notion that the LDP will survive in the future simply because they have in the past is silly. They've really worn their welcome with voters now. Koizumi is the only reason they're still in power now.

Matt Dioguardi said...

If the DPJ gain power would they make enough significant changes such that one could honestly differentiate them from the LDP? Or would it merely be like having a shift in control between various factions of power? Or would the DPJ potentially come unglued, because once in power they ceased to have a united front on how to use that power?

And if ... never mind ...

MTC said...

Matt Dioguardia -

Let me answer, if I may, by a question. If you were Ozawa Ichiro, with slim majorities in both the House of Representatives and House of Councillors, what bill would you put before the Diet with the intent on guaranteeing that the LDP in its contemporary form can never can return to power?

Think it possible that the passage of that legislation with be the DPJ's Job One on Day One of the new Diet.

Garrett said...

Do you really mean this?

"The LDP's problem is not that it cannot dealt with the grubby opportunism of its coalition partner, the New Kōmeitō. It is not that it cannot deal with the House of Councillors being under the control of the Democratic Party of Japan-led opposition. It is not that it cannot deal with Japan's broader structural problems including rural depopulation, low birthrates, parasitic industries and communities and poor public spending priorities. It is not that it cannot deal with the whiplash of the current global financial crisis and economic slowdown."

I'd agree wholeheartedly if that paragraph said, "The LDP's problem is not only that. . ."

I really hope you're right. The LDP has long outlived its utility and has, for a generation, been one of the primary causes of many of Japan's problems and a genuine part of the solution to very few of them. For even longer than that, perhaps for as long as it has existed, the LDP has been an unnatural amalgam of competing ideologies. That is still exists at all, that it existed after the 1970s, is a testament to the unsavory elements of politics in Japan.

The question, though, is not how aware voters are of all the LDP's problems and shortcomings, but whether they'll actually turn out to vote for a different party in large enough numbers to kill the LDP. Only voters can really do that - otherwise, there might be splits, but the abomination will keep lumbering along, spreading destruction and bad ideas in its wake.

Throughout the wealthy world, voting is primarily an act of name recognition. People may not like the LDP, but they vote for it, or they don't vote. We can't start counting it out until there something around that could fill part of the gap it'll leave.

Janne Morén said...

"[...] what bill would you put before the Diet with the intent on guaranteeing that the LDP in its contemporary form can never can return to power?"

What kind of bill would that be? Any changes in the election system, for instance, would need a qualified majority, no?

Tobias Harris said...

I believe MTC is referring to a bill that would redistrict the lower house to level out the inequity between, for example, a vote in Shimane and a vote in Kanagawa, cutting rural Japan down to size at the same time that the LDP is trending in the direction of becoming a rural rump party.

rubashov said...

This reminds me of the way people were saying in 2004 that the US Democratic Party was doomed, it had lost touch, it couldn't win elections, and so on. In 2005, before Abe took power, the LDP was winning elections, brining charismatic leaders on board, and lurching (albeit slowly, with many a step backwards) towards solutions. Now, just three years later, we're writing its epitaph.

I've heard people speculate that Japan is somehow "ungovernable" (or similarly, that the DPJ won't do any better than the LDP). This contributes to the idea that the LDP is "finished" because it can't solve Japan's problems.

It seems to me that this line of argument assumes that government--any government, in any country--can solve these problems. Take the birthrate problem--do we say that Sweden, Germany, Italy, China, Russia, and most every developed country are "ungovernable" because they can't "solve" their birthrate problem? No. Being from Iowa, I can tell you that the US has been dealing with the exact same rural popualtion problems that Japan does without any good solutions. Does that mean the US government is incompetent? So the Japanese government can't make Japan immune to the global recession we're heading into. Does that mean the LDP (or DPJ) is incompetent? I don't think so. It says more about the nature of modern society and the (in)ability of democratic government to change it than it does about the strength/competency/future of the LDP.

Even if it's true, though, that the LDP is a walking corpse, it makes me wonder. Was there a "road not taken" in 2005 that would have led to a different outcome? If Abe had dropped the nationalism and worked on reform instead, what would the situation be like?

Matt Dioguardi said...

I believe MTC is referring to a bill that would redistrict the lower house to level out the inequity between, for example, a vote in Shimane and a vote in Kanagawa, cutting rural Japan down to size at the same time that the LDP is trending in the direction of becoming a rural rump party.

I'm not sure if I would say that having people in one area (a rural one) be subject to the majority of people in a different area (an urban one) is necessarily a shining example of equity. Moreover, the above would be in a subtle way, not change, but more of the same. In other words politicians trying consolidate and maintain power once they get it by changes in the rules. (It goes without saying there is always a good reason for this ... equity and so on ...)

Mutantfrog said...

"This reminds me of the way people were saying in 2004 that the US Democratic Party was doomed, it had lost touch, it couldn't win elections, and so on."

I don't actually recall many serious people saying that. But whatever was being said, that was the period when the DNC was revolutionizing their campaign strategy based on Howard Dean's philosophy, and on a local level recruiting new candidates from groups such as veterans and liberal Christians, which had been leaning far more towards the GOP for multiple election cycles.

By contrast, what has the LDP been doing under the radar over the past 3-4 years that might pay off in the next general election?