Like father, like son

Following this post from last week, this article in Mainichi today caught my eye:

Fukuda cabinet: many common points between father and son

Coming to the plate in a “ninth inning, two outs, bases loaded” crisis

The article proceeds to discuss the number of similarities between the circumstances faced by Fukuda the elder and Fukuda the younger, not least the problems involved with reports of widespread corruption and recovering from a major electoral defeat that empowered the opposition.

But, the article notes, if the LDP couldn’t afford any errors thirty years ago, it has even less margin for error now, hence Mr. Fukuda’s adoption of the catchphrase “last stand cabinet” to describe his government. As Mr. Fukuda said yesterday, “If we take even one false step, the LDP will lose power.”

I wonder if the sense of crisis Mr. Fukuda has himself tried to evoke isn’t slightly hyperbolic. The LDP is undoubtedly in dire straits — I’ve said as much myself. But one mistake? I think Mr. Fukuda will find that having given himself some breathing room in the early going, he will have some room to push an agenda — and make many voters think twice about whether they really want Mr. Ozawa to be the prime minister. Of course, he will still have to avoid making the amateurish mistakes that doomed Mr. Abe. But then again, Mr. Fukuda will benefit from the favorable contrast with his predecessor, just as Mr. Abe suffered from governing in the shadow of Mr. Koizumi. Just imagine the benefit to Mr. Fukuda’s support if in the event of ministerial graft (or a ministerial gaffe) he were to act forcefully and quickly to demand accountability and dismiss the wrongdoer.

Meanwhile, Kyodo has come out with the first poll numbers for the Fukuda cabinet — 57.8% favorable. Not a bad position to be in as he readies himself for a clash with the DPJ.

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