In my intemperate youth, I wasted many an hour I should have been spending in more elevated pursuits viewing the animated adventures of Bullwinkle, a moose (North American variety) and his pal Rocky, a flying squirrel. Interspersed between the chapters of the adventures in each episode would be little bits of repeated business between the two protagonists, the most famous of which was Bullwinkle's attempts (inevitably unsuccessful) to perform a magic trick.
"Hey Rocky," Bullwinkle would begin, "Watch me pull a rabbit of my hat."
To which an exasperated Rocky would chirp, "BUT THAT TRICK NEVER WORKS!"
Sadly, yesterday, we did not have the services of Rocky Squirrel during Party Leader Question Time in the Diet. We had only Liberal Democratic Party Tanigaki Sadakazu, who, while indeed lightweight and begoggled, lacks Rocky's ability to focus on the germane and the ability (I assume) to chirp.
Nevertheless, when the prime minister of your country, at the moment he is pressed for having missed his self-imposed deadline on coming up with a unified government plan for the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, tries to buy himself yet more time by saying that, don't worry, he has a secret plan for solving the impasse which he is keeping hidden under his hat until he is ready to whip it out to save the day, the only possible response is:
"BUT THAT TRICK NEVER WORKS!"
As for Hatoyama, his solitary success over the 34 minutes that Tanigaki peppered him with only the very simplest questions regarding the plans for the relocation of Futenma, questions to which Hatoyama offered spluttered, stuttered responses, was in making Tanigaki seem competent, coherent and in control.
And that indeed, requires more than a pinch of magic.
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