In response to the readmission of Hiranuma Takeo, prominent postal rebel, to the LDP, and to the general thrust of discourse within the LDP — Mr. Abe’s speech to the Diet yesterday notwithstanding — the reform-minded “Koizumi children” are apparently at work preparing to convert their study group into a formal LDP faction.
Their rallying cry: “The people are not idiots!”
Of course, the decision that to have influence within the LDP they need to be a formal faction strikes me as an admission of defeat, a rear-guard action on behalf of ideas (and a type of leadership) out of vogue in the party. They will probably not be comforted by Mr. Hiranuma’s statement that he “understands” their opposition.
Will it make any difference? Arguably what’s missing are not the ideas of reform, but the standard bearer. There is no substituting for Mr. Koizumi’s charisma. And given the way the Tanigaki faction has been excluded from power, there’s no guarantee that having a faction will put the “children” any closer to the reins of power within the LDP. The party is treading water with considerable difficulty thanks to the leaden anchor of Mr. Abe. It is unreasonable to think that a band of reformers without a charismatic leader will be able to transform the situation in their favor.