What is it about Ozawa Ichiro that drives normally liberal and forgiving persons crazy? How can so many be assured of his guilt of political finance crimes, or of his being somehow being too unethical or too tainted for high party position or public office?
For the general populace, the wish to dismiss is relatively simple to explain: investigation for political crimes and arrest of subordinates carry a presumption of guilt. All this disturbance of good social order -- so distressing. Besides, all of the newspapers would not be lying to us, would they?
For elites who know better, the near-autonomic ostracism of Ozawa seems more of a lazy tribal marker, a means by which one can signal to one's peers that one is for all the good things and against all the bad things, without having to be too specific about what those good things are or how one came about determining their goodness.
Sure Ozawa has expressed some discomfiting ideas and shamelessly pandered to constituencies. However, proposing radical changes to national policies and pandering to powerful electoral blocs is in the nature of the business Ozawa is in, which is seizing power through the ballot box.
As for the purported campaign scandals, whatever happened to presumption of innocence and the importance of evidence? How is it that it is considered fair play to be calling for Ozawa's head, when the prosecutors have decided they have no case against him, and the prosecutors have heretofore only been pushed to act at the insistence of shadowy citizens groups?
It is confusing that Democrats -- the American kind (the folks ostensibly in charge of Washington) -- have not been especially wary of the "Dump Ozawa" juggernaut. The parallels between the current investigation and reinvestigation of Ozawa and the relentless investigation and reinvestigations of the Clinton White House should have by now stimulated some reflection as to validity of the conventional wisdom regarding Ozawa and his politics.
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