Willard: They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound.There are number of ways one can betray oneself. One can violate one's stated principles. One can behave in a manner that defies simple logic. One can act in a way that leads one's friends to abandon you.
Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
Willard: I don't see any method at all, sir.
- Apocalypse Now (1979)
In general, it is best to avoid all of the above.
However, there are times that we flawed creatures really, really, really want something so badly we are willing to betray ourselves. In these cases is still best to limit oneself to one of the above forms of self-injury on any given day.
Yesterday, the Liberal Democratic Party and their leader Tanigaki Sadakazu threw that concept into the fire.
Immediately after the Democratic Party of Japan's ramming of the bond issuance bill and the electoral reform bill through a just short of half-empty House of Representatives, the LDP and the New Komeito submitted to the House of Councillors a childish and nearly parodic motion of censure to that House's president.
The two parties wanted to have a vote on their motion the next day.
Unfortunately for the two parties, they had not conferred with the other opposition parties in the House of Councillors, whose votes they needed for the LDP-New Komeito motion to pass. When negotiators from the two parties went to meet their peers in the other opposition parties, they were aghast to find out that the other parties wanted the LDP and the New Komeito to vote for their censure motion, which had been sitting on ice in the House of Councillors since August 7.
Since the August 7 bill of censure contained a condemnation of the DPJ-LDP-New Komeito Three Party Agreement on the passage of the social welfare and pension bills -- and singled out for condemnation the consumption tax bill, which the LDP and New Komeito had both voted for, the tax rise indeed being a campaign promise of the LDP -- voting for such a censure motion would seem out of the question.
However, to everyone's surprise but those who know how deep the rot inside the LDP extends, the LDP leadership said:
"OK, if you are adamant about this, we are cool with voting for your motion."
Which immediately led to the New Komeito asking for time for "an adjustment" (chosei) of the atttack on the prime minister.
I would have loved to have been at that strategy meeting...
New Komeito Member (slowly, as if in distress): "OK, let me see if I have this straight.At which point the New Komeito delegation probaly told -- or should have told -- their peers in their longtime alliance partner:
You want us to vote in favor of a censure motion condemning the Three Party Agreement, an agreement to which we were two of the three Parties...and which also condemns the legislation agreed upon in that agreement, that we, together with a wounded DPJ, dutifully voted in favor of in the House of Councillors...legislation which, may I remind you, was not in the DPJ's manifesto, but in the LDP's manifesto.
Please tell me that this is not the plan."
LDP Member (grinning): "That's the plan!"
"We twisted the arms of our local party organizations to forge this alliance. We took a huge blow to our reputation as the party of peace by voting with you on the dispatch of Maritime Self Defense Forces ships to the Indian Ocean. We hung with you when you tried to turn back the clock to the pre-war era under Abe Shinzo. We got wiped out in the 2009 House of Representatives election because of our association with you. Our district vote switching in that election saved your party from utter annihilation.
We have been through hell and high water with you.
But this, this insane.
Sorry, but you're on your own now."
I have said it before -- when the religious party in a secular-religious party coalition is the voice of logic, moderation, patience and the dirtying ones' hands in the service of a greater good -- then you are suffering from a serious breakdown in the natural order.
Undeterred by their friends having abandoned them, the LDP yesterday linked arms with the remaining opposition parties in the House of Councillors, including the People's First Party headed by the LDP's arch-foe and designated punching bag Ozawa Ichiro, to pass the August 7 motion of censure, the New Komeito's members walking out of the chamber before the vote.
The motion passed, 129 votes to 91.
Ostensibly, the passage of the motion of censure means the current Diet session is over. The House of Representatives can continue to carry out its business. The House of Councillors, according to tradition if not law or rule, goes on immediate hiatus. The tradition of ceasing all business after a motion of censure is a reason why under normal conditions, the House of Councillors has indulged in this non-binding nonsense on what had been previously determined to be the last day of the Diet session.
We live, however, in abnormal times. The inability of one man, Tanigaki Sadakazu, to accept that he has never had what it takes to be LDP president, much less Prime Minister of Japan -- and the inability of the LDP presidential hopefuls in the top leadership, with their vested interest in maintaining the status of the office of the president even as it was being dragged down by an incompetent -- have left the LDP sans sense, sans morality, sans anything.