Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hatoyama, Moose & Squirrel

In my intemperate youth, I wasted many an hour I should have been spending in more elevated pursuits viewing the animated adventures of Bullwinkle, a moose (North American variety) and his pal Rocky, a flying squirrel. Interspersed between the chapters of the adventures in each episode would be little bits of repeated business between the two protagonists, the most famous of which was Bullwinkle's attempts (inevitably unsuccessful) to perform a magic trick.

"Hey Rocky," Bullwinkle would begin, "Watch me pull a rabbit of my hat."

To which an exasperated Rocky would chirp, "BUT THAT TRICK NEVER WORKS!"

Sadly, yesterday, we did not have the services of Rocky Squirrel during Party Leader Question Time in the Diet. We had only Liberal Democratic Party Tanigaki Sadakazu, who, while indeed lightweight and begoggled, lacks Rocky's ability to focus on the germane and the ability (I assume) to chirp.

Nevertheless, when the prime minister of your country, at the moment he is pressed for having missed his self-imposed deadline on coming up with a unified government plan for the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, tries to buy himself yet more time by saying that, don't worry, he has a secret plan for solving the impasse which he is keeping hidden under his hat until he is ready to whip it out to save the day, the only possible response is:


As for Hatoyama, his solitary success over the 34 minutes that Tanigaki peppered him with only the very simplest questions regarding the plans for the relocation of Futenma, questions to which Hatoyama offered spluttered, stuttered responses, was in making Tanigaki seem competent, coherent and in control.

And that indeed, requires more than a pinch of magic.


PaxAmericana said...

Not that Hatoyama looked very impressive, but maybe we saw a different news program. Endless questions about Futenma seem irrelevant when compared to basic quality-of-life matters. It's not like the LDP did a good job of handling the issue of bases in Okinawa, or the Futenma/Guam plan. It's kind of like Cheney criticizing Obama about problems in Iraq.

MTC said...

PaxAmericana -

While Tanigaki's questioning was repetitive and at a remove from what is on the minds of voters, he at least managed to stay on target. Hatoyama seemed to unable or unwilling to give a straight answer to anything, which made for some very bad television.

PaxAmericana said...

Tanigaki's staying with Futenma and seiji/okane is on target, but reminds me of Kamei and co. staying on postal money matters.

Also, what kind of a straight answer could be given? Futenma is not really solvable, and the only answer regarding "money politics" is that the LDP is worse. Isn't that the reason for the old guard using these as attack points? They don't have anything positive to talk about.

Anonymous said...

PaxAmericana, Tanigaki's strategy (successful, in my view) is to show how the DPJ is not much different from the LDP in governing Japan -- neither in substance nor in public relations. And how can Hatoyama's DPJ be any different when they are just as clueless about the intricate workings of the world around them? If you ask me, it's been entirely unfair to blame the LDP for whatever problems (and I use the term loosely) the country may have had up until now. Hatoyama's DPJ has proven so far that a simple regime shift would not fix the country to the voters' satisfaction. This is not cynicism talking; it is a simple statement of fact.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous's quote: [It's] "entirely unfair to blame the LDP for the problems... the country may have had up until now", deserves a prize for partisanship. They've been the Japanese government for the past 55 years for Pete's sake.

Anonymous said...

Any "Anonymous" deserves a prize for being just as clueless as the DPJ cheerleaders who thought that another party in office was going to somehow magically solve Japan's "problems" -- whatever those may be (It's always unclear and lacking in consensus).