Monday, August 24, 2009

Brief Thoughts on Post-Election LDP: Faction Leaders, Babyfaces, Etc.

Prime Minister Aso is the only faction leader in a position to campaign on behalf of other LDP candidates, but he is a mixed blessing at best. Otherwise, LDP faction leaders are either retiring—Yuji Tsushima—or have their hands full fighting for their own political lives. Most of the other LDP notables and other elders are in the same situation. It is likely that many of them will not return, and those that do will not have earned any political points from their junior colleagues. In the event, this has left the field open for the one LDP babyface who is by definition able and willing—Yōichi Masuzoe, Upper House member and the one of two bright spots (the other being Shigeru Ishiba) in the ill-fated post-Koizumi administrations—to amass political chits.

Much attention is being given to the near-inevitable devastation to the ranks of the Koizumi Kids* and the likely LDP drift away from major urban centers—the LDP is doing particularly poorly in Tokyo and Osaka—but there seems to be little talk about the consequences of a diminished, discredited, leadership. Note also that one other publicly popular (if not so much with his peers) figure Nobuteru Ishihara is a safe bet to keep his SMD seat—in Tokyo.

* ...which somehow prompts me to ask, are you one of those people who feel sorry for Ponyo’s siblings, Star Wars Stormtroopers, baby sea turtles, the nameless extras who spend their brief moments in this universe to amuse us before they pass away, unseen, unmourned?

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