Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bad News for the Regional Administrator, Taiwan Region

President Regional Administrator [insert title here] Ma Ying-jeou's popularity sunk to a new low this week, according to a poll from Global Views Monthly reported in the Taiwan News. In addition to approval ratings for Ma at 24.9%, participants also dissed the legislature....

The poll also revealed dissatisfaction with the performance of the ruling Kuomintang's overwhelming majority at the Legislative Yuan. Global Views Monthly said 59.3 percent of the survey respondents did not approve of the KMT lawmakers' showing, with even 48.3 percent of KMT supporters expressing disapproval of their own legislators.
The legislature has higher approval ratings than Ma Ying-jeou? This means we are seeing the same pattern of the Chief Executive taking the heat for the legislature's incompetence that we saw under the two Chen Administrations. The Presidency's role as a scapegoat for political failure is one of the factors that enables the legislature to keep getting re-elected. Ma would do well to start thrusting the onus for these problems back on the legislature...

....The policy drift will continue until the legislature gets off its duff and gets legislature moving, as Speaker Wang promised a couple of weeks ago. The survey also noted that a large segment of the public wants a cabinet reshuffle, a useless move that will simply set policy back months. President Chen -- can't say "previous President..." now that Ma has demoted himself to Regional Administrator -- was roundly criticized for changing the cabinet repeatedly. Things are not likely to improve for Ma either, with export order growth falling again, in single digits for the third straight month, and economic growth expected to barely reach 3% in the third quarter.

The melamine milk powder scandal has crossed the Strait with many local companies under scrutiny. King Car, a company whose foundation is one of the most active in Taiwan education, pulled eight of its products from the shelves. Products containing plant substances from China have basically been banned. Hilariously, the government decided to send an expert team to China. Anything to avoid having to put in stricter regulatory regimes! This morning word came in the local Chinese language papers that Canadian milk products may be tainted with Chinese powder, and perhaps US as well. It's like a metaphor for the Wall Street mess, in reverse..... MOFA meanwhile sent a protest to the WHO over a reference to "Taiwan, China" in a letter on the milk powder scandal. Why does the WHO even bother, since its own shameful, secret memorandum with Beijing has made it impossible for it to be an effective participant in events that affect Taiwan and China?

UPDATE: For those of you who wonder why I allow anonymous commenting, this comment below is sufficient justification

Michael, I see what you're trying to do with drawing parallels to the previous administration, but this is a completely different situation. All the papers are calling for a new Cabinet with getting rid of Premier Liu Chao-Hsuan at the top of the list. There has been lots of executive incompetence these past few months, with none of the big problems that have come to mind having anything to do with an executive being hobbled by a do-nothing legislature. If you disagree, name one way in which they have been limited by an ineffective legislature. I can think of one, anti-corruption and ethics laws, but that isn't why people are so hopping mad at Ma and it definitely isn't something the executive is pushing for (they haven't even mentioned it).

I'm not sure what you mean by "set policy back months". What coherent policies have you seen coming out of the executive? Other than being consistently pro-China, do you like the consistency in flip-flopping on whether or not to return the gas market to "free market principles" (first they said they wouldn't subsidize, then they subsidized, now they aren't lowering prices as fast as the world market... what the hell is the mechanism they are using?) or do you like the consistency in Ma saying that as President, he's not supposed to personally go view disaster damage, then a full week after the hurricane, going anyways, or do you several cabinet members speaking about how great the stock market is going to be then saying they are just kidding then saying every stock owner needs to take responsibility for their own actions?

When the melamine scandal first came out, why didn't they ban dairy products from China right at the beginning like every other country did? That's not a legislative problem.

The list goes on and on and on. It's hard for me to see how an executive facing huge crises and bumbles them is being hobbled by the legislature. These aren't things that are meant to be handled by laws.

The legislature is doing a shitty job, yes. But in other countries (say the US), the executive leads the legislature even when they are of opposite parties, especially in times of crises. Where is the leadership? What coherent policy are you afraid of upturning with a new cabinet?


6 comments:

bbk said...

不長腦子的馬蛆長
這個民調還算高的
不信可拭目以待唄

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Mr. Ma... you can't have it both ways. You can't push for increased economic and political integration with China and then point the finger across the strait every time the world is up-in-arms over another case of Flipper Babies.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I see what you're trying to do with drawing parallels to the previous administration, but this is a completely different situation. All the papers are calling for a new Cabinet with getting rid of Premier Liu Chao-Hsuan at the top of the list. There has been lots of executive incompetence these past few months, with none of the big problems that have come to mind having anything to do with an executive being hobbled by a do-nothing legislature. If you disagree, name one way in which they have been limited by an ineffective legislature. I can think of one, anti-corruption and ethics laws, but that isn't why people are so hopping mad at Ma and it definitely isn't something the executive is pushing for (they haven't even mentioned it).

I'm not sure what you mean by "set policy back months". What coherent policies have you seen coming out of the executive? Other than being consistently pro-China, do you like the consistency in flip-flopping on whether or not to return the gas market to "free market principles" (first they said they wouldn't subsidize, then they subsidized, now they aren't lowering prices as fast as the world market... what the hell is the mechanism they are using?) or do you like the consistency in Ma saying that as President, he's not supposed to personally go view disaster damage, then a full week after the hurricane, going anyways, or do you several cabinet members speaking about how great the stock market is going to be then saying they are just kidding then saying every stock owner needs to take responsibility for their own actions?

When the melamine scandal first came out, why didn't they ban dairy products from China right at the beginning like every other country did? That's not a legislative problem.

The list goes on and on and on. It's hard for me to see how an executive facing huge crises and bumbles them is being hobbled by the legislature. These aren't things that are meant to be handled by laws.

The legislature is doing a shitty job, yes. But in other countries (say the US), the executive leads the legislature even when they are of opposite parties, especially in times of crises. Where is the leadership? What coherent policy are you afraid of upturning with a new cabinet?

Sigh, I guess it's time to go watch Cape No. 7 again.

Michael Turton said...

Hi anon. First, great comments.

I've been commenting on Ma's and the gov't floundering, but I also want to shine a light on the legislature because, IMHO, people in Taiwan have a touch of the Fuhrerprinzep and are too apt to focus on the executive. This is a broad-based failure, led by Ma, but encompassing the entire governmental apparatus.

It's not so much a particular coherent policy that might come to an end, but to me a cabinet turnover won't solve the problem and will only cause further delay as people go in and out. The problem is fundamentally that there is no vision and leadership anywhere in the system. If Ma would stand up and lead, the executive would follow no matter who it is. But I think the problem here is that either Ma does not see himself that way, does not see what needs to be done, or something is restricting Ma's freedom of action -- he has to answer to higher ups in the KMT, etc. I think at some point fingers need to be directed at KMT elites who simply don't give a fuck about what happens to Taiwan.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Where;s the news media to fuel the hate like they did for Chen? Ma's numbers are low, but I am not seeing the fierce hatred in the media that could fuel people's passions to get mad.

Runsun said...

>>>>
Anonymous said...Where;s the news media to fuel the hate like they did for Chen? Ma's numbers are low, but I am not seeing the fierce hatred in the media that could fuel people's passions to get mad.
<<<<


Believe it or not, some of my pro-blue Taiwanese friends said,

"Oh, poor Ma, he is in such a bad luck ..."

So it is "bad luck" that put Ma in his current situation.

No matter how incompetent Ma shows, some just can't admit that they had made a bad choice.