The China Times, pro-KMT but often functioning as a sort of loyal opposition paper, had this to say in an editorial hosted at KNN:
After years of thinning out, KMT party strength is considerably diminished at the grassroots. Compared to its early years, the KMT has fewer human resources, less equipment, and is smaller in scale. When party officials conducted field visits in the past, it was all pomp and circumstance. They were the equals of county executives and city mayors. Their decisions were final. County executives and city mayors could only nod. Even central and local-level elected officials were at their beck and call. But the golden age for authoritarian political parties has passed. Today when party officials conduct field visits, they must bow and scrape, and often get the cold shoulder. When nominees for local elections find themselves at loggerheads, they ask party-central officials to mediate, not always with success.The piece continues a bit further down:
Times have changed. Officials from party headquarters have become a nightmare for party workers. They may have devoted a lifetime to the party. But the highest level, to which they can probably rise, is local party chapter chairman. But their positions have now become crosses to bear. In recent years, such positions have become a place to put party officials out to pasture. Outgoing legislators who want to run but who are unelectable, candidates who were pressured to withdraw, and anyone who unsuccessfully sought office, can be placed in these support positions. Such support positions are sources of friction due to post-election grievances and local or clan interests. Mediating between the heads of local factions is even more difficult.
Next, King Pu-chung recruited outsiders to conduct an evaluation of the party's use of human resources, and to recruit campaign volunteers for the Five Special Municipality Elections. Judging by past elections, the Democratic Progressive Party, whether it was in the opposition or in power, made far better use of volunteers than the KMT. Young DPP volunteers wrote songs, choreographed dances, and set up websites. Old DPP volunteers engaged in word of mouth campaigning through radio and television talk shows, in the parks, and local markets. These volunteers were campaign workers during the election, and party supporters after the election. There were no personnel expenditures involved. While the KMT was in the opposition for eight years, it began studying this approach. But it never got the hang of it. To recruit older volunteers it always had to mobilize. The most spontaneous of volunteers were older women. But even they were recruited through women's associations. Youth groups were once an important force behind KMT strength. Youth groups shone at public relations during the Kuan Chung era. But it is far more difficult for young people to rise through the ranks of the KMT than the DPP. The most successful example of a volunteer effort in recent years was the Red Shirt Army. But that was a spontaneous movement. The Chen corruption case outraged the public, creating a supportive social climate. When the Chen corruption case ended, the Red Shirt Army lost its rallying point. Its supporters each had their own political preferences. This political force is unlikely to play a key role in the future.It must be hard for a party held together by money flows and whose theology consists of snuffing out Taiwan as an independent entity, to recruit volunteers in Taiwan. I feel their pain.... the editorial ends with some stinging criticisms of the KMT's position.
The DPP is slightly weaker in the central Taiwan region. But it is stronger in the two southern cities. It has many strong candidates. In the north its "Princes" are readying for battle. By contrast, the KMT has no heavy hitters in the south. The incumbent Taipei County Executive may have trouble in winning nomination for the new Xinbei City Mayor. The party is unaccustomed to internal debate. It is unable to put forth qualified candidates. Even pollsters are having trouble taking the political temperature. The nomination process and candidates may be flexible. But for the sake of momentum it would be better to present its roster of candidates, and engage in public debate. Election controversy is nothing to fear. Only lively public debate can create momentum. In order to win the Five Special Municipality Elections, the third and most important thing the KMT must do is encourage its leading candidates. The "Princes" of the party must have to the courage to say: I am willing to fight for the party.The latest China Times poll has the DPP's Su ahead of the KMT's Hau in the year-end elections for the Greater Taipei Municipality ("New North City" is such a freaking ugly name). Su was Taipei County Magistrate several years before, did a bang-up job, and has a good rep in the north, while the outgoing KMT magistrate has turned in a lackluster performance.
The editorial also raises the interesting question of the future of the KMT. Who are its up and coming leaders? Not exactly thick upon the ground....
- Government to allow outside review of government report saying that massive water diversion project was not linked to destruction of Xiaolin Village (my long post).
- CEPD approves 3 major infrastructure projects worth $3.5 billion US, including improvements to the existing Suao-Hualien road.
- Look at the upcoming by-elections at the end of this month, UDN says DPP has comfortable lead in Chiayi.
- Taiwan still wants US subs, says AP, but Reuters says it has effectively dropped its request.
- Taiwan Beer sets up brewery in China to enter China market.
- Amidst all the silliness about the US provoking China, and China-US ties at a new low, etc, someone actually puts their finger on the right perspective: Can China afford its belligerance?
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