Abe to Mori: Do shut up

Prime Minister Abe, channeling his buddy George “the Decider” Bush, has responded to former Prime Minister Mori’s “recommendations” for the composition of his next cabinet by reminding Mori who is responsible for the government. “I am the one person who must decide,” he said.

While I’m not exactly sad to see the authority of an old pol like Mori challenged, I’m also not particularly pleased to see that Prime Minister Abe is responsible to…well, no one.

This situation does not seem to be sustainable; something will have to give. How many public rebuffs will Mori take before abandoning the prime minister in a very public — and very final — way? Will the prime minister actually dare to pack his cabinet full of yes-men again, ensuring that he does not have to brook any dissenting opinions from within his own government? Alternatively, is Abe just trying to assert his independence even as he plans to toe Mori’s line by bringing old party leaders and critics into his cabinet?

Meanwhile, I cannot help but wonder what kind of maneuvering will occur in the palace while the prince is on tour in India, Malaysia, and Indonesia next week. Should the very public sniping between Abe and Mori continue this week, I would expect that in Abe’s absence the former prime minister would redouble his efforts in forging a consensus on a replacement, if he isn’t doing so already.

In any case, Abe’s situation increasingly calls to mind those sage words of Lennon/McCartney: “Day after day, alone on the hill,/The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still./But nobody wants to know him,/They can see that he’s just a fool./And he never gives an answer…”

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