A Washington Post editorial on Japan observes that “Its political paralysis has implications well beyond the island nation of 126 million people.” Political paralysis, in other words, is a bad thing. And paralysis consists of the fact that “The merits of the argument may prove irrelevant, since Mr. Noda may not be able to unite his party behind a clear platform, much less steer it through the upper house of parliament, which the opposition Liberal Democrats control.”
Good points. I think it’s interesting, though, that the Post editorial writer doesn’t suggest that the situation could be improved by implementing a rule requiring the upper house to operate by a 60 percent supermajority rule and giving minorities of as few as one member tons of tools to obstruct business. Nor do they seem to feel that, having modified the upper house’s rules in that way, it would be useful to object second- third- and fourth-tier members of the executive branch to a confirmation process dominated by supermajority voting and one-man days-long slowdowns. They don’t suggest any of those changes because, obviously, those would be terrible ideas. It’s obvious, at least, when you start talking a foreign country so people are freed of arbitrary psychological anchoring to the status quo. Try to talk about America, though, and the suggestion that a legislature proceed by industry-standard “the side with more votes wins” rule is considered both radical and also likely ideologically motivated opportunism or sour grapes.