Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Broken Record: WaPo on Chen indictments

The international media is like a broken record on Ma....here's an article on the Ma Indictments from several days ago by Ed Cody of the Washington Post. The opening isn't bad, but the analysis at the end is full of nonsense:
...Ma, a lawyer educated at New York University and Harvard, championed the Nationalist Party battle to unseat Chen over the corruption charges. As a result, his own indictment came as a severe political embarrassment, likely to raise questions within his party as well as among voters about his fitness to be a presidential candidate.

In addition, it presented Taiwanese with a particularly bleak political landscape: the island's two main political figures tainted by corruption allegations and a presidential election coming up with no problem-free leader to turn to. Although Chen was not indicted along with his wife, prosecutors said that they had evidence and would have charged him were he not covered by presidential immunity.

Ma's political setback was also seen as a blow to mainland China. With a policy of avoiding tensions and putting off discussion of Taiwan's final status, Ma had raised the prospect of easing cross-strait problems that have grown during six years of rule by the independence-minded Chen.
Everything in these paragraphs is wrong:

a lawyer educated at...Ma has never passed the bar in Taiwan. Did he pass some other bar?

In addition, it presented Taiwanese with a particularly bleak political landscape: the island's two main political figures tainted by corruption allegations and a presidential election coming up with no problem-free leader to turn to..... say what?

Chen Shui-bian is only one of many major political figures in a party that, at the moment, is overflowing with viable Presidential candidates. Chen cannot run in 2008 and so his problems are his own. The Green side does not appear to take the allegations very seriously, and they did not appear to have any effect on his ability to get out the vote in Kaohsiung in December. Indeed, his Green core has rallied round.

But to return to the idea that the political scene here is "bleak", the DPP at the moment could win with Su Tseng-chang, the Premier, Chairman Yu of the DPP, Vice President Lu, or former Kaohsiung city Mayor Frank Hsieh. All of them are strong candidates with many years of political experience and of them only Hsieh has been touched by scandal, and he only indirectly. Beneath them are a new generation of up and coming youngsters.

The fact is that the "bleakness" is entirely on the KMT side, where after Ma Ying-jeou the party has no candidate who is clean and could win wide approval. Former Chairman Lien Chan lost two presidential elections and is the most widely despised major political figure on the island. Speaker of the legislature Wang Jyn-ping, is a native Taiwanese but the mainlander core of the party will never accept him. The popularity of James Soong, currently brooding in the US, has waned, and he is Chairman of another party. In short, things are not looking bright for the KMT. As I have noted before, the KMT is in a long-term crisis that goes back to the death of Chiang Ching-kuo, who appointed no successor and thus, there is no one to carry the Chiang charisma.

The presentation here is pro-KMT in two important ways. First, it slams the island's politics as a whole. One of the things China and the KMT want to do is present Taiwan as a place that can't govern itself. This attitude plays right into their hands. Second, it presents "bleakness" as everyone's problem when in fact it is only the KMT's problem. The DPP has the opposite problem, in fact, with too many electable politicians vying for the '08 ticket.

It would be nice if one of the major media groups mentioned the longstanding testimony from students at school with Ma that he was a student spy for the Taiwan government. It would nice, too, if they took up the practice of calling the KMT by its right English name, the Chinese Nationalist Party.

Ma had raised the prospect of easing cross-strait problems that have grown during six years of rule by the independence-minded Chen.

Ma's way of "easing tensions" is selling the island out to Beijing. The cross-strait problems are caused by China, not Chen, which cannot live with Taiwan's democracy. I wish the international media would be more forthright in focusing on Taiwan as the victim of China's inability to live with democracy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did Ma just never take the bar exam? Or did he actually take it but fail to pass it?

Michael Turton said...

According to Wiki and other sources I know, Ma took it and failed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Ying-jeou

Michael

Arty said...

I think Chen's problem is his inability to deal with China regardless who is causing the problem. China is intolerable of Taiwan's democracy (such empty word way over used by President Bush and so many people). Does gaining Taiwan independence make it more democratic?

As Taiwan's president, he/she should weight all his decisions on people's livelihood. You do not necessarily have to sell out to China in order to have a normal relationship with China. Nor you need to gain full independence to be more democratic. I think my question is "how much democracy is worth?" 600,000 and counting for Iraq? 10 million lives? 23 million lives (Taiwan's population)? Super powers are bullies in this world. Spitting in their faces will only land you a hard punch in the face just look at Iraq and Chechnya (still haven't gain independence and thousands have died if not more).

Anonymous said...

Yes, it enough to make one sick how some deep blues I have talked to in Taipei conveniently blame everything on Chen - and the U.S. - while painting China as a cultural cousin that is harmlessly minding its own business over there........

Anonymous said...

Yes, it enough to make one sick how some deep blues I have talked to in Taipei conveniently blame everything on Chen - and the U.S. - while painting China as a cultural cousin that is harmlessly minding its own business over there........

Anonymous said...

Come on, Yu Shi-kun and Annette Lu are not serious candidates. I think Annette Lu may have some good ideas about Taiwan's democracy and national identity, but she is a poor politician that sort of says the wrong things at the wrong moments way too often. Realistically--Su is clear front runner with Hsieh on very, very big upswing ever since he entered the race for Taipei mayor.

My guess--Hsieh will eek out a victory over Su.

My hope--Hsieh runs for president and Su continuing as Premier to keep the government efficient and stable. Hsieh and Su as president and vice-president doesn't really seem like a good combo election-wise and it'd be a shame to give a worthless job to Su. If Su continues to do a good job, he might be able to even keep his job as Premier past the election.

My fear--Hsieh has vision and the credibility to lead Taiwan, but a couple of bad apples have gotten close to him. If he uses the wrong people, it could cost him more dearly than it already has.

Looking at Ma and his record with running Taipei and as chairman versus Hsieh in Kaohsiung, Ma has Hsieh's problem times 10 plus his own corruption scandal to deal with. Still, comparing yourself to the Chinese KMT is sort of belittling yourself.

Michael Turton said...

Iraq did not spit in the US face, and the Bush Administration does not want democracy in Iraq. Your analysis has nothing to do with Taiwan.

There are lots of options for Taiwan, and certainly you don't have to sell out to China to have good relations. But the problem here is that China won't deal with Chen. They are waiting for the KMT to come back to the Presidency.

Come on, Yu Shi-kun and Annette Lu are not serious candidates. I think Annette Lu may have some good ideas about Taiwan's democracy and national identity, but she is a poor politician that sort of says the wrong things at the wrong moments way too often. Realistically--Su is clear front runner with Hsieh on very, very big upswing ever since he entered the race for Taipei mayor.

Definitely, Lu is not as viable as the others. But the point is that everyone mentioned for the Presidential ticket for the DPP is relatively clean, has a good democratic history, and has experience of government. Who does the KMT have to match the leading DPP people?

I too think we'll see a Hsieh-Su ticket. I'm hoping they will move Lu over to Premier. Another good ticket would be Tsai Ing-wen for Veep with Hsieh.

Any way you slice it, and however you rate the candidates, the DPP has a much richer field, that is clean, competent, and loves Taiwan. Who among the KMT leaders satisfies all three of those requirements?

Michael

Arty said...

"Iraq did not spit in the US face, and the Bush Administration does not want democracy in Iraq."

I said that sarcastically. Regardless what the goals of the super powers are of showing force(oil, control, if you don't listen to me I am going to kick you @ss etc.) The end result will likely to be a blood bath regardless who is right or wrong.