Friday, February 01, 2008

Keeping one eye on the clock

"We did not lose the game. We just ran out of time."

--attributed to Vince Lombardi

What is it with the LDP and time management?

Ever since the spring of last year, the party has been unable to complete any maneuver within the time allotted. The expiration date of the law on the renewal of the supplementary gasoline taxes has been known for a very long time. How could the party blow it--and not just blow it, but blow it again?

Let us review the inglorious record, shall we?

- Regular Diet session of 2007

Extended 12 days in order to pass a few bills whose passage had been held up by the eruption of the pensions scandal. The importance of the passage of these final pieces of legislation was lost upon the public.

- House of Councillors election, 2007

Delayed, from July 22 to July 29, to accommodate the extended Diet session.

- Extraordinary session of the Diet of 2007

a) Delayed in its start, from late August to September 10.

b) Extended twice in order to effect the passage of the refueling law.

- Time limit for the passage two-thirds majority override of the extension of the gas taxes to cover up the missed opportunity to renew the laws prior to the expiration date of March 31, 2008


The LDP is clinging to a memorandum of understanding with the Democratic Party of Japan to pass/make-a-best-effort-to-pass (the two two main parties disagree as to the the agreement's main point) all of the budget-related ancillary legislation by March 31, following some kind of approximation of examination of the bills and parliamentary debate.

[I say "approximation" because all and sundry are talking about a seijōka (正常化) of the Diet session. How anyone can call about a session being "normalized" when the opposition controls the House of Councillors for the first time ever is beyond me. The original powerless of the Japanese opposition was not "normal" from a global standpoint...and the new "twisted" Diet makes an attempt to reapply the "normal" practices of past Diets nonsensical. ]

* * *

One would come away with the impression that the LDP had never had to schedule anything before--that the leadership had never had to plan ahead, had never had to prepare alternatives should the main schedule become unworkable.

It is as if they had never had to face any kind of serious impediment before, that they could just wing it, passing necessary legislation "Whenever..."

Surprise guys and gals. When you have a radical revolutionary program to impose, or an empowered opposition against you, you really need to buckle down and plan stuff.


Jan Moren said...

While I think you're pretty much right there, I do suspect that not a few LDP lawmakers realize just how untenable the current policy of propping up the countryside to the detriment of urban voters really is. This "Aww, shucks, just missed that deadline. Darn." is a good foil to avoid passing a long-term deleterious piece of legislation while not looking like they're deliberately abandoning their rural allies.

MTC said...

Janne -

I will entertain the possibility.