Friday, July 17, 2015

KMTitanic 15: waiting for the July 19th absolution

Riding north from Tainan today, I took the 163 to the HSR station in Chiayi. There was no direct connection between the 163 and the 37 to the HSR station, so I took a lonely gravel and dirt access road a couple of kilometers through the fields of sugar cane that ran parallel to the HSR line. As so often in Taiwan, I ran across a little historical treasure: the old rails from the Japanese-era sugar lines still exist all over the south, uncared for and unacknowledged.

Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby... and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six... out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait... wait to die... wait to live... wait for an absolution... that would never come.
Well, only a few more days til Judgment Day, July 19th, when Skynet annihilates the KMT. Both current KMT Chairman Eric Chu and President Ma Ying-jeou, honorary chairman, have stated that there is no way current candidate Hung Hsiu-chu will not be confirmed as the party's nominee. So expect the carnage from this week, which saw five legislators expelled from the KMT, to continue....
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文), who withdrew from the KMT before it officially expelled him on Wednesday, along with four other party members, yesterday said that there are always signs before a political party falls apart
....J Michael Cole says he hopes more KMT members will speak their minds like the Expelled Five. It sure is fun to hear their views...

Curiouser and curiouser: Wang Jin-pyng, KMT heavyweight, Speaker of the Legislature, and Taiwanese faction politician from way back, blocked the southern KMT factions from circulating a petition demanding that the party withdraw Hung's nomination at the July 19th Congress.
The KMT's National Party Congress, scheduled for July 19, is going to confirm the nomination of Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-Chu (洪秀柱) as the KMT's official candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election. However, a signature drive for an open letter, trying to block Hung Hsiu-chu from running in the race, was initiated among the grassroots in Kaohsiung. According to an informed source, Legislative Speaker Wang Jyn-ping (王金平) had asked the pro-Wang faction not to join the drive, stressing "Right now what is most important for the KMT is solidarity."

According to the open letter, Hung's "One China, One Interpretation" campaign plank advocating precipitous reunification with the Mainland would seriously harm the KMT. The letter pointed out that confronting the possibility that we could be defeated handily in both the 2016 Presidential and legislative elections, the KMT party central and the party as a whole should face the reality rather than engaging in self-deception. It went on further to state, "to win is more important than to just run," so running with no hope of winning would undermine the party's future.
One of the expelled legislators criticized KMT Chairman Eric, saying that he had left the party in a pathetic state. Chu's decisions have been so uniformly bad there is a secret fantasy circulating among many of my friends that Chu is a pro-Green out to wreck the KMT. Wang Jin-pyng's decision to support Hung's nomination -- he has to know she cannot win -- has the same flavor. It looks like Wang wants her to be confirmed so she can undermine the KMT. Hung is so awful that Chu came out the other day saying that he thinks the KMT will win only 45 seats in the legislature.

UDN pointed out in an editorial that Hung has no experienced campaign manager. KMT Sec-Gen Lee Si-chuan is currently running the Hung show, but he can't juggle his KMT duties and her campaign.
The rhythm of Hung Hsiu-chu campaign looked chaotic following her breakthrough in the polls, mainly because it lacked a command and control center. As a result, it lacked the capacity of agenda setting. Hung Hsiu-chu must seek as soon as possible a “command and control center” that can integrate various campaign resources and plan campaign strategies and approaches. She must recruit someone with extensive campaign experience, as well as communication and coordination skills. That someone must communicate not just with the KMT party central, but also with the Ma administration team, with KMT legislators, and even grassroots figures. Only then can the Hung campaign get back on track in the shortest possible time and resume battle stations.
Wang Jin-pyng has said a couple of times he won't join the Hung campaign, again this week. Hung's campaign is going to be run by Deep Blue insiders completely out of touch with Taiwan outside the swank Taipei districts where they all live. Should be entertaining.

Hung's lack of campaign skills was blindingly evident this week in a fiasco involving a trip south, which Hung canceled because of "security fears":
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presumptive presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) visit to a Kaohsiung night market was canceled over concerns expressed by Kaohsiung police for her safety, the contender’s team said early yesterday, before saying later that no change was made to the agenda after Kaohsiung police denied the allegation.
For Hung to publicly state that "security" was the issue is a blunder. You obviously blame time, coordination with local administration, or something similar. You don't admit publicly that you fear for your life in the south -- I suspect that is Hung's contempt for Taiwanese at work, that reflexive revulsion at being down there among all those "low-class" Taiwanese with "market names" especially in that most Taiwanese of places, a night market. Lots of locals are going to interpret it that way. If you want to know how mainlanders in Hung's generation think, review the story of Koo Kuan-ying... can't wait for more of this to come out during the campaign.

July 19 probably won't bring changes in Hung's status. The KMT is likely to confirm her. Instead, it might raise the issue of Eric Chu's status. Hung has already said that the party's presidential nominee should be Chairman of the Party, a position that a purist and ideologue like her must dream of.  Wouldn't be surprising if she takes a shot at the Chairmanship at the Congress, most likely with some of her supporters putting it to a vote. Recall that Frozen Garlic pointed out that the delegates to the KMT party congress appear to be mostly Deep Blues who are Hung's most ardent supporters. There are two grass roots power bases struggling in the KMT -- the Taiwanese faction politicians who can clearly see that the KMT is headed for the iceberg, and the Deep Blue true believer rank and file who think of themselves as Chinese and see the KMT as having gone astray and needing to return to its Return to Zion roots.

The Party is still struggling to get Hung's weird China policy under control. The KMT news organ reported that the Party platform had been revised to include Hung's views:
In addition, revisions of the party platform were completed during yesterday’s CSC meeting. The revisions incorporated views from President Ma Ying-jeou, Chairman Eric Chu and KMT presumptive Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱). The revisions clearly incorporated into the party platform the “1992 Consensus,” “one China, different interpretations,” “maintaining the status quo of no unification, no independence, no use of force under the framework of the Republic of China Constitution.” The revisions will be referred to the National Party Congress, scheduled to be held on July 19, for deliberation and confirmation.
...except that when you read the description, it doesn't include Hung at all...

The KMT's long-term problems haven't gone away. If anything, they are getting worse. Miaoli county is an absolute disaster for Taiwan and for the party. The Taipei Times observes:
Former Miaoli County commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) is a case in point. He clearly knew the county’s treasury was running low, but he was fond of grandiose projects and used the funds of various government foundations to organize fireworks displays and international concerts and to construct buildings that are underused. As a result, his successor is complaining that the county government cannot pay staff salaries.

Despite Liu’s absurd record, the county council passed the government budget almost untouched year after year, while Liu was given a five-star rating in media polls. He was the role model for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) local rule, and was praised by the Cabinet on several occasions. Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) used to be a KMT legislator representing the county, but he never questioned local-government finances. In other words, while many people might have found the situation odd, everyone played along and in the end the bottom fell out. This is a structural problem, and while it is necessary to pursue Liu’s possible legal liabilities, he is not the only one under suspicion of wrongdoing.
The KMT-run central government and other KMT local elected officials were all complicit. What could they have been thinking? Liu is obviously unsuited for promotion to higher levels, meaning that they permitted one of their local stars to run amok, ruining his own career, and damaging KMT prospects in one of their few remaining holdings. Where can the KMT cultivate new names with local power bases?

Last week the KMT announced that Hau Lung-bin, former Taipei mayor and KMT heavyweight, is running for a legislative position in Keelung. This lead to protests within the KMT, and now the party will hold a primary there to choose the legislative candidate. But it shows, once again, the contempt that the mainlander core of the party holds for its local Taiwanese faction politician base. This colonial mentality must change if the KMT wants to exist for the long-term in an increasingly Taiwan-focused society.

Also waiting on July 19th: James Soong, People First Party (PFP) leader and likely presidential candidate if Hung is nominated by the KMT. Fighting for legislative seats, the PFP is going to steal some votes from the KMT this time... but don't imagine that the PFP is going to cooperate with the DPP. That was tried before....

Recent sightings of the good ship KMTitanic
Hung: I can't say the ROC exists -- Judgment Day: July 19 --  KMTitanic 14: Heading for the July 19th iceberg -- 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?
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

I too suspect the existence of a conspiracy to destroy the KMT from within. Members of this conspiracy seem to have penetrated into the party's highest echelons, and judging from the evidence, must include Hung, Chu, Wang, and Ma.

Anonymous said...

This delights in all sorts of conspiracy theories, doesn't it? Here's mine: Wang and his faction are looking to take over the KMT, patiently waiting and playing both sides until the moment comes to spring into action. (And/)Or, the old-guard are pretending to demolish the party, but are really purging it, planning to relocate to China and help the CCP launch the military takeover of Taiwan with Ma as its puppet governor.

Michael Turton said...

Haha those are good conspiracy theories. Such incompetence invites conspiracy theorizing...

Carlos said...

The one about Wang hoping to pick up the pieces is a believable one.

So how does the legislative race look like with Soong in the mix? If a legislative candidate moves from the KMT to the PFP and wins a seat, do they vote for the same policies as they did when they were in the KMT? It’s almost too bad Hung had to implode so early.

Patrick said...

Love that picture of the abandoned Japanese rail tracks, thx for sharing

Anonymous said...

Re: KMTitanic: Incidentally, one of the expelled legislator, Chi Kuo-Tung, also used the iceberg metaphor, he's getting kicked off the ship because he tried to wake up the captain to the iceberg. The media asked who the captain is, but did not bother to ask what the iceberg refer to.

Re: the story of Koo Kuan-yuan: To this day I am still perplexed by the idea that what appears to be blatant sarcasm is actually sincere belief. People do live in different worlds due to paradigm shift.

Re: link to Randy Forbes failed: I might be wrong about this, but I think DPP's ideologies (centre-left) are closer to those of Democrats then to Republicans; ironically the liberals don't want to demonize China, so much so that they dismiss evidences that shows that it really is, and it's the right wing who want to protect regional safety for their own interests.