Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The LDP Slips; None of the Above Gains

The Abe Cabinet poll numbers continue to slip, and, to a lesser extent, the LDP's. Unfortunately for the opposition, the biggest winner is "none of the above". According to the Yomiuri poll, the DPJ made modest gains, but so did Komeito (who arguably did better because it started from a much lower base than the DPJ). The Communist Party lost one third of its support, which sounds startling, until you see that it's a drop from 1.8% to 1.2%.

It would be nice if, as in most other countries, the figures in these unbiased, random-sample polls by the mainstream media with their own exemption from anti-competition laws came within shouting distance of each other. (Look around, and you'll see what I mean.) Still, the trend is clear; as things stand, the only hope for the DPJ is a hung Upper House after the 2007 general election that results in a grand LDP-DPJ coalition. (I have a sneaky feeling that Shisaku has already said something like this. Or my friends at Eurasia Group. Whatever. I'm not going to rummage through the humongous Shisaku archive.)

The DPJ's problem is clear; it is the not-LDP, but that leaves little room to cover for an amorphous pattern woven of every political stripe but the Communists and unreconstructed splittists. (Old Socialists.) Life is unfair; that is also an accurate description of the LDP. But the LDP got there first. The LDP is the blob you know, and the LDP has been doing it on (mostly) and off (briefly) for the last half-century. The Lost Decade (Dozen?) did not finish the LDP off; it's the DPJ's task to differentiate itself.

Many, many years ago, I asserted that the Socialist Party would have to crumble before the LDP followed suit. The Socialists obliged and the LDP splintered; yet the LDP rumbles along, with a little help from the there-but-for-the-Hokkekyo-go-I Komeito. I have no emotional attachment to either party; still, as a private citizen, I hope against hope that the DPJ gets leadership, gets going; on a clear and logical policy package based on creative thinking.

My two yen's worth:

1. Public works: creative destruction.
2. Education: deal with consequences of college-entrance-exam-driven education system.
3. Public pension and healthcare system: address true long-term costs.
4. Public debt: tax reform.

Yadda yadda. See, it's easy. When you don't have to actually do it.

I've been doing some thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that it is impossible to conduct a meaningful dialogue with anonymous bloggers. They will continue to be free to post as they see fit, but I'll only respond to criticism when I think the criticism is spot-on.

If someone who wishes to know about my decision in more detail, or of other thoughts that I've had along the way, but for whatever reason wishes to remain anonymous on the blog, please email me, and identify yourself. I'll be happy to engage in a dialogue, provided that you allow me to post the dialogue on this blog. Sans any ID information leading to identification of that person. But please be polite:
You are an idiot, Jun, and this is why:
"In http:…, you write "…". But previously you wrote "…”. You have changed your position without explanation. Moreover, your latest claim is groundless because…
Now, try to talk yourself out of this duplicitous mealymouthedness.

Dear sir:
With due respect, sir, it is people like you who make meaningful political discourse impossible. Now could you kindly tell me what you have to say for yourself?
Respectfully yours.

I will, of course, continue to respond to comments whose origins are directly or indirectly identifiable.

1 comment:

Political Interest said...

With all due politeness, I think that the DPJ's problem is far from clear.
Some pundits feel that all the DPJ has to do to win is to hang around long enough and not be the LDP. Aside from looking like losers, this strategy has other obvious risks.
The DPJ is, as you say, the not-LDP, but it is also so close to the LDP to be virtually indistinguishable from them both in policy terms (see the latest Asahi-Todai Ideological DM Survey?) and in the former occupations of its DMs. But, as you say, it has the advantage of longevity.
The DJP emphasizing their policy platform isn’t going to cut it. Because we know that citizens do not usually vote on the basis of their policy preferences. And given that the DPJ (and the LDP) are located close to the (ideological) position of the median voter, then the DPJ would lose support if it moved ideologically. The DPJ’s task is a lot more complex than to "differentiate itself". In terms of what, exactly, should it differentiate itself?
My real-world advice to the DPJ would be:
Ozawa needs to
1) lose some weight
2) take some coaching on how to appear relaxed and personable
3) invent a snappy sound bite or two
4) consistently get on the wide shows