Father Byles: And God will wipe away the tears from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will be no more pain; the former world has passed away.I tore my eyes away from Richard Saunder's excellent post on Taiwan's memorial arches to contemplate the colossal wreck of the KMTitanic, around whom a bare and level ocean stretches far away...
My day began at 7 am, before my first cup of coffee, when my man Kerslake alerted me to the Apple Daily's poll news. Because I could not stop to translate, Solidarity kindly stopped for me...
In an Apple Daily poll yesterday, 54.9% of voters said they support Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu 洪秀柱 representing the KMT in the coming presidential election. When asked for whom they would vote if the election were held tomorrow, 50.05% said they would vote for Hung, and 28.47% said they would vote for Tsai.The truth of the matter is that Hung won't get a vote south of Miaoli. Hung Hsiu-chu is an ideological purist of the old school, the more-KMT-than-the-KMT school. She's older than Ma Ying-jeou and of the generation that came of age under Chiang Kai-shek, and I suspect, like I believe of Ma, that her mental model of leadership is Chiang Sr., not his son Chiang Ching-kuo. A legislator since 1990, she's run only in safe districts and has been on the party list since 2008, so she doesn't have to run at all. She's never campaigned outside of Taipei... and hasn't campaigned in several years. She is tough, however, and has bucked the party's command before. In 1989 she won the primary nomination for legislator but the party central wouldn't accept it. Risking everything, she ran anyway and won. The tussle over her nomination must be a familiar experience for her...
With the KMT launching its “anti-brick” measures for its presidential primary, Hung, the party’s sole candidate, needs to get more than 30% in polling to assure her nomination.
This poll is just a reference, Hung stated in response. A blue legislator said that Hung’s poll support and momentum have definitely grown, but this great disparity between her and Tsai is possibly attributable to the green camp “irrigating the vote” [dishonestly expressing support for Hung to force a weak candidate on the KMT] and called for the KMT’s central committee to respond carefully to this phenomenon.
But today? She's not out of touch -- she's so distant from everyday voters, she needs binoculars just to get a glimpse of out of touch.
You can imagine the glee with which pro-DPP poll respondents, entirely unorchestrated, said they'd prefer Hung to Tsai, obvious nonsense since polls earlier last month (hey, it's June already!) from different media organs all had Tsai crushing her by ungodly margins. The KMT has hoisted itself by its own rules petard -- as Solidarity pointed out on Twitter today, there is no way to filter the Greens out of a public poll, since they can always lie.
It's hard to know how to read all this, since many in the KMT are deeply and publicly opposed to her candidacy, but things clarified slightly when the news arrived this morning that KMT Chairman Eric Chu, once the savior, now mere mortal, announced he was taking a three week vacation. The KMT news organ has the call (Solidarity as well):
At the same time, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) announced that he would take three weeks off, absenting himself from three weekly sessions of the Central Standing Committee (CSC) starting from this Wednesday. KMT Vice Chairman Hao Long-bin (郝龍斌) will chair the meetings in Chu’s absence. A KMT insider said, “It’s really weird that the Chairman has decided to take three weeks off at such a crucial time,” leading many to suspect that Chu was taking time off so as not to be involved in presidential primary using a technicality. A KMT senior executive explained that Chu could not preside over the CSC for the next three weeks because Chu would be interpellated in the New Taipei City Council until June 17, adding that if the party needed to decide whether to nominate Hung or draft someone else on Wednesday, June 17, “the party central will negotiate with the New Taipei City Council to make Chu available to preside over the CSC.”
“the party central will negotiate with the New Taipei City Council to make Chu available to preside over the CSC.” Man, that's a classic of bureaucratic piety. Poor KMT executive was like a B-17 bracketed by searchlights over Berlin...
Yep. In the middle of the nomination process, with no candidate and the party in total disarray, Eric Chu is taking a three week break. It's almost like he doesn't want to be Chairman or something, as if he were begging someone in the KMT to stage a putsch in his absence. Maybe he just doesn't want to be associated with the Hung candidacy. Solidarity observed:
What’s more, if Chu hadn’t overturned Hau’s decision to have Hung hold policy briefings elsewhere and then run her poll at the end of the month, the meetings he’s skipping wouldn’t be so crucial. There is a bad-fanfiction-like lack of continuity from day to day right now.As Chu lurches from unfathomable decision to unfathomable decision, the Hung mess is looking symptomatic of a deep split in the KMT. The way I am interpreting this at the moment, Chu is facing opposition from the Deep Deep Blues, the purist, ideological KMTers like Hau Pei-tsun, the former Premier, and Ma Ying-jeou. Ordinarily antagonistic (there's even a fringe of far right-wingers who claim Ma is a closeted independence supporter) they are united in one thing: Chu is not KMT enough for them. He's married to a Taiwanese, and even though his father-in-law is a big deal in Tainan politics and in the KMT, it's not enough. Hung is the only candidate who can pass their ideology and ethnicity tests. From what I can see, Chu can't get anything done because the direction of reform can only to be to make the party a Taiwanese party, and the mainlander clique at the top will never accept that. This three week vacation is Chu's way of throwing up his hands and saying "Alright, you do it your way."
Although KMT Sec-Gen Lee Si-chuan will be running the party, I am also beginning to wonder if Hau Lung-bin the son of Deep Blue stalwart Hau Pei-tsun is being pushed forward now as a de facto replacement for Chu by the mainlander core, to prevent the KMT from becoming Taiwanese and preserve the power of the Deep Blue core, or is perhaps seizing the moment because Hau knows they will support him, since he too has the right ethnicity, parents, and ideological commitments.
Anyway you slice it, the "Chu is waiting for 2020" interpretation of his actions has taken a beating in the last few weeks. There's no way anyone is going to forget this period of mismanagement. Perhaps it is as simple as my man FM has maintained for the last six months: Chu doesn't want to be president.
In fact, it's looking like he doesn't want to be Chairman either.
Anyone know where I can buy a commercial grade popcorn machine? Because that's what I am going to need if the KMT keeps giving me days like this.
UPDATE: Great comment below:
Anonymous an angry taiwanese said...Read the whole post to get the flavor of who she is. All this will come out if she actually runs.
quote Frozen Garlic (post 2010/11/13) The first speaker I saw was legislator Hong Hsiu-chu 洪秀柱. She gave a stunningly radical speech. It went something like this:
In 2000, we lost governing power, and it was painful. We had eight years of hate. Hate.
The moment when KMT ring Hong Hsiu-chu's nomination bell is the moment this Garlic post become immortal. (https://frozengarlic.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/campaign-trail-hau-rally/)
UPDATE 2: Maddog directed me to a video of her claim that violence is in the DPP's DNA, juxtaposed with her own acts of violence.
Recent sightings of the good ship KMTitanic:
Hung? Really? -- Comedy and ethnicity in The Rational Party -- KMTitanic 10: the ship is foundering -- Wang out -- Chu goes there? -- Rounding up the KMT again -- KMTitanic 8: Chu = monkey wrench -- KMTitanic 7: Existential Crisis -- KMT Shorts -- Chu Notes -- KMTitanic 5: Struggling for the Northern Lifeboats -- Chu Political Theatre -- KMTitanic 4 -- KMTitanic 3 -- KMTitanic 2 -- KMTitanic 1 -- Chu's Revolutionary Reforms?
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