Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We Chose Death

The Liberal Democratic Party today established its Election Measures Committee in preparation for a House of Representatives election. At the meeting, Election Strategy Chairman Koga Makoto laid down what has to be the most brain-dead standard ever for selecting candidates:

"We will chose the candidate who can win."

As if anyone has ever used the opposite as a standard for choosing candidates.

Let us try this out as a campaign slogan, shall we?

"Vote Nakata. Because I can win."


Of course, the "candidate who can win" is a reference to the struggle in Gifu District #1 where two attractive women candidates--Satō Yukari, the former investment banker, parvenu and Koizumi assassin (shikyaku) and the once-exiled, disgraced but winning local girl Noda Seiko--cannot both be the party's nominee.

The phony struggle over which woman will fill the Gifu #1 slot (Noda will win it--everybody knows that) may be perfect fodder for the tabloids and the daytime soft news shows (oooh, cat fight!). However, it should be no more than that. Incredibly, the Gifu fight seems to be so mesmerizing that the LDP election leadership has lost sight of the glaring structural rot threatening the party once again.

The news just now showed former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichirō rapidly marching away from trailing journalists asking him his opinion of the committee's likely abandonment of his assassins. He was always smiles and playfulness until he was asked about the district candidatures.

What is Koizumi doing--just letting it slide? Will he do nothing to give hope to the Koizumi Children? Is this part of some kind of plan, to allow the current party leadership to set itself up for some kind of fall, completing the "I will break the LDP" part of his 2001 pledge?

Looking at Koga, I have not the least confidence he has an idea what a winning candidate looks like. Oh sure, he has just been touring the prefectures, meeting the support groups, listening to the complaints of the local party branches. He has been interacting with the locals, getting a sense of what will bring them back on board.

However, that is "winning candidate" in the narrow sense, the numerical sense of 50% of the ballots cast plus 1 vote in traditional LDP strongholds. The "dumb as a sack of cement but he's/she's our boy/gal" kind of winning candidate.

Looking at Koga and hearing him speak, I see someone willing to lose every seat in Tokyo if it means he can hammer together the traditional coalition sweeping all of the district seats in Shikoku.

That Tokyo has 25 seats and Shikoku only 13 would be immaterial.


Anonymous said...

How relevant are the Koizumi Children, really? It seems like every time they're challenged, they lose and don't seem to carry a lot of clout.
Does Koizumi even care about them or were they just a convenient tactic two years ago?

Of all elements of the LDP, they confuse me most.

MTC said...

Mr. DeOrio:

Children are the future. By starving the Koizumi Kids, the LDP is committing itself to a hopeless attempt at recapitulating its past.

Ozawa will counter by abruptly switching sides, suddenly focusing on the issues of interest to the urban and surburban middle classes--a smart tactical move as the dilution of urban votes is much smaller in the House of Representatives districts than it is in the House of Councillors districts.