...is vainly lash out in all directions when faced with the prospect of losing power.
Last Friday, Elections Countermeasures Chairman Koga Makoto made a pilgrimage to Miyazaki Prefecture to beg popular governor and former manzai comedian Higashikokubaru Hideo to stand as a Liberal Democratic Party candidate in the upcoming House of Representatives election (a similar offer was made to Osaka celebrity governor Hashimoto Toru as well). Higashikokubaru gave the offer -- a chance to trade in his secure governorship for a powerless frontbencher seat (the order of importance being reversed in the Diet) -- all the respect it deserved. Sure, he agreed, he would run as an LDP candidate, on the condition that he would be promoted as a future president of the LDP.
Koga was stunned at the audacious counteroffer and did not pursue the matter further. By contrast the media, particularly the lower orders of the television kingdom, took the story and ran with it. All weekend long (a rainy weekend, meaning lots of folks were stuck at home watching the TV set) the public was treated to a veritable festival of Higashikokubaru, who seemingly had nothing else to do himself but appear in live video feeds from Miyazaki City.
That Higashikokubaru might consider the offer of a party list seat candidature worthy of mockery and close to an insult, seemingly never crossed Koga's mind.
Now today we have the papers predicting a reshuffling of the Cabinet . Ostensibly, the PM wants to parcel out the positions that have, due to resignations, been given to sitting members of the cabinet, leading to cabinet members with unmanageable multiple responsibilities. In truth, the proposed reshuffle is a vain attempt to create a positive -- and by positive I mean "not extremely negative" -- buzz about the ruling coalition as part of a rollup campaign for a Diet dissolution and House of Representatives election.
Yes, I agree, this plan makes no sense. How is the image of the government improved by the appointment of a whole new bunch of LDP members to the cabinet at a time the people are absolutely sick to death with the LDP? How does appointing a group of ministers who will be in office for only three months at most dispel the public's perception that the prime minister and his party are a bunch of unserious policy lightweights? How does an act that keeps the PM, who is is as popular as a hangnail, in office a little longer help his fellow party members facing a tough election fight?
It is a mark of the intellectual rot in the little village of Nagata-chō that Koga and the PM actually believe that the public views them as serious individuals offering interesting proposals, rather than as pathetic buffoons.