Friday, November 17, 2006

The long dark mornings of the soul

Monday is shaping up to be one of the most interesting days in a long while for the LDP.

Yesterday, the government rammed the draft of the new Basic Law on Education through the House of Representatives despite the opposition boycott of the session (or should I say because of the opposition boycott of the session?)

Though I have no polls to consult, Sunday's Okinawa gubernatorial election looks like it's going to be a disheartening slog for the LDP-backed candidate.

The rancor over the readmission of the postal rebels is hardening.

Now if the LDP candidate loses on Sunday, what will Nakagawa Hidenao do? He specifically postponed the readmission of the rebels so that it would not interfere with the Okinawa election. If the LDP should still lose in Okinawa anyway, will Nakagawa have to consider postponing readmission until after a Wakayama special election?

On the 9th in the evening, the Nikkei Shimbun published a long article asking what the big deal is about the rebels anyway. The article pointed out that a number of the party's senior members are returnees and that Nikai Toshihiro, Kono Yōhei, Ōgi Chikage have even led opposition parties. It also notes that, like it or not, the LDP is Abe Shinzo's party now--and the rebels were, until their departure, among Abe's closest ideological soulmates. If he wants them back in--well, that's his business, isn't it?

On the other side, a lot of editorialists have railed at the readmission of the postal rebels as being a betrayal of public promises made by the LDP. I, idiot that I am, cannot remember the LDP saying the rebels will forever remain outside the party. So how is their readmission a betrayal of promises made to the people?

What has been amazing is how the obvious, or what I think is obvious, has slipped the notice of the commentariat.

Readmitting the postal rebels, even after they have voted for the postal reform legislation and Abe in the Diet prime ministerial selection, remains a serious political blunder. Not because they cannot deliver the single seat victories in their home prefectures--maybe they can. Not because the public was told that the rebels would never be readmitted--they weren't.


It is because -- and I fail to see why this is so difficult to grasp--the rebels did not leave the party--THEY WERE EXPELLED.

They did not leave the LDP in disgust at the party's clientalism and collusion--they were kicked out because they symbolized clientalism and collusion!

So, when Monday comes around, and Nakagawa visits the PM to report on the repercussions from the Okinawa election--upon the U.S.-Japan alliance, upon the push to include patriotism in the curriculum, upon the Prime Minister's popularity--will he also have something to say about the readmission of the Dirty 11?

What may he say?

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