Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Secret to His Success

Given the generally positive press and public responses to the new Cabinet and the new LDP executive lineup, is it too early or impertinent to ask who actually worked out the job assignments?

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō was on his "Asian Democracies: One Arc Under a Groove" tour for almost the entire week prior to Monday's announcement. While I know that in this era of email, wireless broadband and compressed video one can exchange information over great distances, enabling an individual to maintain a scary simulacrum of teleomnipresence--it nevertheless seems unlikely that the selection of a Cabinet could be done without a lot of formal visiting, private signaling and realtime, actual handholding. Everyone had to be on board with this new beginning, particularly because the LDP's political fortunes were in a tailspin. Someone also had to be keeping in mind the big picture, making sure that the party's new lineup and the Cabinet would inspire an immediate recovery of public confidence, braking the party's and government's falling ratings in the polls.

I have a hard time believing Abe Shinzō was on the phone, leading the troops, pleading with the elders, intimidating the reticent as his jet flew hither and yon over the Bay of Bengal. Possible it is but not probable...especially in light of his pathetic inability to manage underlings and peers when physically present in Tokyo.

So if not Abe, who was in charge of piecing together the new Cabinet? Who was the executor while the putative supreme leader was on his late August jaunt?

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