Wednesday, July 01, 2015

KMTitanic 14: Heading for the July 19th Iceberg =UPDATED=

This Taiwan Solidarity Union poster says "Government and Business are in collusion, emptying Taiwan of its wealth", and calls on Ma Ying-jeou and Hau Lung-bin to make public the assets of their adult children (under the assumption that Ma and Hau are hiding their assets under their children's names as many politicians do). Gonna be brutal, this election. 
FLEET:Oy, mate... that was a close shave.
LEE: Smell ice, can you? Bleedin' Christ!
My god I'm getting old. I've been blogging so long that the other day I met someone with a masters degree who said to me: "I've been reading your blog since high school." Was quite a compliment, but it made me feel old. Yet glad I've lived long enough to see this...

First, Frozen Garlic updates us on the news about KMT heavyweight Hau Lung-bin, the former Taipei mayor and in many ways now the number 2 man in the KMT...
Hau Lung-pin has apparently decided on running Taichung 7 (Taiping and Dali). In thinking that it could be a good district for him, he is probably looking at a few things. First, there is a small concentration of former military voters in Taiping.... Still, many of the old second and third voters still live in the area. Second (and related to the first), this was the old political base for former New Party, PFP, and KMT legislator Feng Ting-kuo 馮定國. Hau probably expects he can build on Feng’s old networks. Third, Ma won this district in 2012, 51-46%. Actually, that’s the problem. Ma won every district in Taichung in 2012, but Taichung seems to be changing fairly fast. Basing expectations on what happened four years ago, much less ten or twenty years ago, is likely to lead Hau to an unhappy ending.
I popped over to the election database of the CEC to check. In the Nov 2014 election, Taiping went for the DPP's Lin Chia-lung 56,413 votes to 40,779, while Dali was an even bigger blowout win for the DPP, 65,123 to 43,174. Both are working class areas filled with small Taiwanese-owned factories, brutally neglected by the previous KMT administration of Jason Hu, which focused on western Taichung where big developers could make big bucks. This is a local election, and Hau will be a parachute candidate. Though he should do better than Hu, still... good luck with that...

In non-news, Eric Chu. I'm sorry. Who is Eric Chu? Name rings a bell...

President Ma will apparently make a speech at Harvard during his short swing through the US on his trip to Latin America this month. He'll be back on July 18, just before the KMT party Congress.

And so we turn to my favorite presidential candidate, the KMT's Hung Hsiu-chu. UDN quotes:

Survey shows that 23% of the pan-Blue voters support [DPP's] Tsai Ing-wen. Academics and legislators all suggest that Tsai Ing-wen and Hung Hsiu-chu move toward the center. Hung Hsiu-chu said that she was already very centrist: "How can I become even more centrist?"
....with her wildly pro-annexation views, how can she become more centrist? Dunno. Tough question, eh?

The always insightful Solidarity, who is both one of my favorite bloggers and one of my favorite people, translates a TISR poll on the election. Cautioning that it is early, he writes:
Q1. If the presidential election were between the DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 and the KMT’s Hung Hsiu-chu 洪秀柱, for whom would you vote?
Tsai: 47.7%
Hung: 27.8%
Don’t Know/No Response: 13.6%
Won’t Vote/Blank Vote: 10.9%
TISR Notes: A majority of 20-49s support Tsai. Among KMT voters, 76.5% support Hung, 12.3% Tsai. Among DPP votes, 91.9% support Tsai, 3.3% Hung. Among neutrals, 39.6% support Tsai, 14.7% Hung, and 20.2% wouldn’t vote or would cast a blank ballot.
...same patterns seen in all polls. Under-50s support Tsai, middle of the roaders support Tsai, Tsai dominates Hung. Tsai also wins a three-way with Soong, 37 to Soong's 24 to Hung's 20. Recall that in the 2012 election Soong was reliably polling 10% of the vote, but ended up with about 3%. All numbers should be taken with whiskey and a large grain of NaCl.

Hung's bizarre China policies are warping the KMT in strange and unpredictable ways. The staid old pro-KMT China Times, which often adopts a "loyal opposition" position in its editorials, went all-out for the party's candidate in an editorial circulated in many Taiwan networks, attempting to re-package her:
“One China, One Interpretation,” is not opposed to “One China, Different Interpretations.” It is an evolution of “One China, Different Interpretations.” It is a more logical and intuitive narrative of the cross-Strait relationship. As Hung Hsiu-chu quoted the late President Chiang Ching-kuo, who said, “The times are changing, the environment is changing, the trends are changing,” the KMT must not cling to “One China, Different Interpretations.” The 1992 Consensus helped the KMT win the presidency, twice. The time however, has come for a repackaging and upgrade.
As a commentary in the China Times noted (Solidarity trans) with what-is-wrong-with-these-people wonderment, the party platform is still on the 1992 Consensus and Ma Ying-jeou policy, and doesn't even mention Hung's "One China, same interpretation".

The KMT core and its Taiwanese legislators were already at odds over the services pact and the crushing defeat in the November elections. Now Hung's ardent pro-China rhetoric is further chilling KMT legislator support for the party and local support for the KMT legislative candidates. A spate of news this week...

First, a KMT legislator from Yunlin threatened to leave the party because of Hung's pro-China polices. (Solidarity translation). Solidarity says she won by 1% last time, so faces uphill struggle.
Chang said Hung’s “one China, same interpretation” policy involves questions of identity and will have a huge influence on local elections. “I can’t understand, how can Hung pop off such urgent unificationist statements?” she asked. She agreed with media evaluation that Hung’s candidacy represents the New Party-ization of the KMT and said that’s another reason she’s considering leaving. Chang believes that Hung should show respect for the KMT’s localist comrades when she speaks, because otherwise she will “absolutely cause the KMT to split."
*"New Party-ization" -- the New Party split off the from the KMT because the KMT wasn't pure enough in its ideological commitments to China and to "unification."

Such sentiments are widespread. Solidarity also observed that the KMT incumbent in Changhua 3 is giving up. Solidarity remarked: "What the KMT doesn’t want people thinking about this story is this: If someone who won 56-44 last time is giving up now, how much trouble are they in elsewhere?"

Chang Shao-wen's resignation from the KMT is also news this week. The Taipei Times scribed:
Following former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chang Sho-wen’s (張碩文) announcement of his withdrawal from the party on Monday, two KMT legislators yesterday threatened to do the same, with one saying the cross-strait policy of presumptive KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) was the source of her misgivings.

Chang, who was also KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) spokesperson during the campaign last year, released a statement on Monday announcing his withdrawal from the party.
That's right. This guy is so Blue he was a spokesperson for a KMT princeling. Now he's out.

There is obviously strong opposition to Hung at the local level. This split is old and fundamental within the KMT, but it was papered over by the victories of Ma in the presidential elections and the continued flow of central government funds down to local patronage networks. The Taiwanese legislators have been grumbling about the KMT's neglect of their concerns for years. Here's the 2006 call for a "Youth Forum" because the legislators, in touch with locals, already sensed the aging of the KMT voter blocs. Consider this comment from that article:
According to the Chinese-language media, Hsu [Hsu Shu-po (許舒博)] sent out invitations yesterday calling on his fellow legislators from southern Taiwan to “draw on their collective wisdom to find a correct direction for the party,” because the KMT needs to examine itself so the party can return to the middle course and grow stronger.
Of course, as Jujuflop noted in one of his insightful posts, it was all about the money and power. But that's really the point. Taiwanese, KMT heavyweight, and legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, their unofficial leader, was already being marginalized by Ma Ying-jeou, as I noted in an old post at Taiwan Matters here. In a sense the split that was already forming in the Chen era, delayed by Ma, is now taking form as Hung crystallizes the splits in the KMT.

These splits have also been pressured by the KMT's China policy. Recall that the KMT legislators wouldn't vote for the services pact, which is why the KMT committee chair attempted to have the pact made into law without a vote (which triggered the Sunflower occupation of the legislature). They did not support it because their constituents could see what a catastrophe it would be, and they knew they would face more difficult re-election prospects if the unpopular pact passed. Because the KMT's China policy brings it into conflict with the SMEs and farmers who form the backbone of the economy, it is inevitable that the closer the KMT moves to China, the farther it moves from its own (Taiwanese) legislators. Hence their terror at contemplating Hung's "unification now!" rhetoric and what it will do to their voter base.

As an article notes above, many in the KMT must be waiting on the July 19th KMT Party Congress before they decide what to do. If the Party Congress confirms her, the KMT will face a difficult task in keeping its legislators in line and in the party.

UPDATE: DON'T MISS: Solidarity translates UDN editorial: KMT expects exodus, may not keep 30 seats. Perhaps exaggerated, but make no mistake -- Hung is creating an existential crisis for the KMT. AlSO: Lead story in The Journalist is about the KMT splitting.

Recent sightings of the good ship KMTitanic
KMTitanic 13: Hung over an Abyss -- The Latest from Hung -- KMTitanic 12: Hung can see the Statue of Liberty -- The KMT rules -- It's Hung -- The rational party is Hung -- The Comic Genius of Hung Hsiu-chu -- Eric "Hamlet" Chu suffers the insolence of office -- KMTitanic 11: The Captain is no longer aboard -- 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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Carlos said...

Noooooo - the KMT needs to avoid all crises until after Hung's candidacy is confirmed! But where's Eric Chu in all this? I assume his reputation is taking a beating as all this goes on - if I were pan-blue I couldn't trust his leadership skills anymore. Does that leave Wang and Soong as the strongest alternatives?

Michael Turton said...

Chu has vanished, wisely, I think. Wang is now strongest KMT alternative, except for Hau. Soong is complete wild card, he is very smart, very flexible, very good politician. Also not in KMT....


Anonymous said...

Not trying to be pedantic, but I've spent some time figuring this out. So, here, a minor correction:

You wrote:
>>Survey shows that 20 to 30% of the pan-Blue voters support [DPP's] Tsai Ing-wen.

二成三, actually means 23%, not "20 to 30%".

One 成 = 10%
二成 = 20%
二成三 = 23%
二三成 = "roughly about 20 to 30%"

Basically, one can read "二成三" as "2.3成", i.e. "2.3 units of 10%", that is 23%.

BTW, 成 and 折 are a pair of unit of 10%:
(1) 成 stands for "10%",
(2) while 折 ("bend/bent") stands for "payable in units of 10%, after discount".

二成 = 20%
二折 = at 20% of the list price; i.e. 80% discount (減去八成 = 8成 taken off.)

The odd part is: While 23% is spoken of as "二成三", a sale "at 75% of list price" is commonly expressed as "七五折", not "七折五". However, "七折五" may sound odd but will be understood (as equivalent to "七折五".) On the other hand, "二三成" means "roughly about 20 to 30%" and does not mean "二成三" (23%).

It's a bit confusing. It took me a while to work it out.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Chu still on his three-week vacation? Let the poor man relax in peace.


Michael Turton said...

Thanks for the correction.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if something happened to Hung when she went to school in the USA. Maybe fellow students couldn't stand her racist attitude and she didn't make any friends?

d said...

Here's an idea... Tsai Ing-wen should draft Wang Jin-pyng to be her VP candidate. Shows a strong Taiwan focus (further neutralizing the cross-straits issue and isolating Hung), and it takes a page from Ko-P's "love see no color" playbook.

It also lets the strongest DPP leaders remain in their current positions (e.g. William Lai, Chen Chu - and Ko-P for that matter).

Wang is pro-localization and seems to be in the mold of Lee Teng-hui. He's also quite old and probably wouldn't run for President after her. He might not even be on a second-term ticket.

If that won't work, maybe she can pre-endorse him as Speaker of the legislature and see if he can run as a PFP candidate in an open (for the DPP) district.

My main point is that it seems as long as Wang and James Soong are not running, Tsai should win with a convincing mandate. But if Hung provokes either of them to enter (or both together), then it gets messier. So if Tsai/DPP can effectively neutralize Wang/Soong with overtures, offers, endorsements, head-nods, joint tickets, etc. and keep them just short from running,

Anonymous said...

Odd to watch Song try to position himself as head of the Taiwanese blues given his background.

re: d - If Wang runs for any office for either the DPP and PFP, he will be booted out of the KMT immediately and lose his seat in the LY. That'd allow the KMT to ram through all sorts of things in its final months.

Anonymous said...

That's a genius idea. Tsai would already win by a big margin (I was hoping for a Tsai-Lai ticket,) but a Tsai-Wang ticket would win the election by an absolutely crushing margin.

les said...

Wang Jin-ping cannot leave the KMT and remain Speaker of the Legislature. I think he's reluctant to step down for several reasons. I think it's more likely he'd join PFP than DPP if he were to go.

James Soong... well he swore he wouldn't cooperate again with KMT after 2004 when he got shafted. But OTOH, all he has to do is threaten to run for President, which would again split the pan-blue vote, in order to have all kinds of leverage. Perhaps he could get KMT to pull all LY candidates (those who would dare run) in central and southern Taiwan, and support his PFP candidates, in return for not spoiling the Presidential race. I'm sure KMT would rather have to deal with him in a LY with no clear majority party than with the pan-green side.