Friday, October 12, 2007

Does Either Party Want to Win the 2008 Elections?

A few weeks back I wrote a post on why Hsieh will win the 2008 Presidential Election. Hahaha. What a sense of humor I have! I slay myself, really. Just ignore everything I said, because President Chen has decided after consideration -- as if there were any doubt -- to take up the invitation offered to him by the DPP's central standing committee and become the Chairman of the DPP.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian Thursday agreed to return as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, pledging to safeguard the island's sovereignty and lead the party to election victory.

"After days of deliberation and exchange of consultation with party elders, I decided to take the post of DPP chairman and assume the responsibility (of party chief)," Chen said at a press conference.

The DPP had asked Chen, who had served as its chairman from 2002-2005, to lead the party following the resignation of Yu Shyi-kun in September.

I can imagine the conversation at DPP party headquarters....
ANALYST 1: New chairman...who?
ANALYST 2: I've got an idea....why don't we make an unpopular President who already mishandled one set of legislative elections the first time around the party Chairman again!
ANALYST 3: God, that's brilliant! You're a genius!
ANALYST 4: Wish I'd thought of it.
ANALYST 1: You must be channeling Karl Rove.
ANALYST 3: Perfect! The KMT has Honorary Chairman for Life Lien Chan, so we definitely need one too.
SHIAO MING: But....but....Lien Chan lost two elections, and he's uglier than the hind end of a yak.
ANALYST 2: [ponders] Don't worry. I think we can reach that standard.
SHIAO MING: But...but...don't you think the DPP should promote some up and coming young person like Hsiao Bi-khim or Lin Jia-lung? Or maybe give an experienced person like Tsai Ing-wen the post as a profile raiser? I mean, party heavyweights will be making all the decisions why not cultivate talent?
ANALYST 1: What a stupid idea! What are you, some kind of Chinese spy?
ANALYST 3: Yeah, who are you anyway?
SHIAO MING: Uh...I'm just here delivering the lunchboxes. Who's having the vegetarian?
Ma Ying-jeou, quick to criticize, as always, ignored his Party's past:

Ma blasted Chen's provisional selection as DPP chairman.

"A chairman should be elected by party members," he said. "And it should not be because one is the president that he can become his party's chairman."

Strange, but I can't recall Ma taking this line when the Chiang Sr. and Jr. appointed themselves KMT Party Chairman after killing, imprisoning, exiling, or buying off potential rivals. Good Old Ma -- he can always be relied upon to have the courage of some other guy's convictions.... this week Ma also accused the DPP of colluding with China -- yes, you read that right:

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stop "deceiving" the public by saying that "Taiwan is the ROC" because the Republic of China was annihilated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) long ago.

Chen was referring to a statement released by Ma's campaign office on Sept. 15 that said: "We hope the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] will not collude with China in attacking the Republic of China ... The Republic of China and Taiwan are inseparable. Taiwan is the Republic of China, harming the Republic of China means harming Taiwan."

Ma on Wednesday went on to say that the Presidential Office did not decorate the building or put up placards displaying the national title for this year's Double Ten National Day celebrations, calling the move similar to China's refusal to recognize the ROC.

Ma added that the administration's behavior showed that the DPP was singing Beijing's tune and had teamed up with Chinese authorities to attack the ROC.

Let's point it out again: the first thing newly-elected KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung did in April was to go visit China. Who is colluding with Beijing? Any time you want to know what nefarious activity the KMT is engaging in, just see what they accuse the DPP of doing.

Such attacks remind us, however, that Ma speaking of the "ROC" during an election cycle is once again doing exactly what the DPP wants him to do. Foreign representatives up in Taipei may gush over the charismatic former secretary to a dictator as they listen to Taipei residents hack on the DPP (but remember that 40% of them voted for Hsieh last year -- watch what they do, not what they say), but down here in The Real Taiwan every time Ma opens his mouth, he sounds like the mainlander colonialists that Taiwanese grew to hate during the martial law era. Is Ma an ideologue? If not, why the unnecessary public defense of that useful virtual state, the ROC? Ma has to propitiate his core voters, just like Chen....

Does either party want to win? I can't tell. I thought the KMT was doing a great job handing the election to the DPP with the selection of Vincent Siew for the Veep, the slow alienation of the southern (Taiwanese) legislators, and the panting after the DPP's referendum. But with the ascension of Chen to the top spot in the DPP, I think the democratic side has definitely evened the score. Moreover, Frank Hsieh, the DPP's Presidential candidate, has been in hiding for the last couple of weeks, suffering from stress and a sprained ankle, he said on his blog. The one good thing about the Apotheosis of Chen: it will keep the KMT locked in its obsessive focus on the meaningless rivalry between Chen and Ma -- yet another tactical error of the KMT is that they seem to have forgotten it is Frank Hsieh, not Chen Shui-bian, that Ma Ying-jeou is running against.

Ah, Taiwan elections. I think I need to go binge eat now...


Tommy said...

Seriously, I just don't get it. With Chen in this new and old position or not, Hsieh really needs to get his act together. Disappearing for two weeks like this in an election season is farcical. It can only hurt his prospects. In the past two weeks, Ma has been campaigning. Whether he has been saying intelligent or stupid things is besides the point. He is currently the only one who is saying anything..... except for when Hsieh puts lame recordings on the Internet with comments such as "I'm licking my wounds."

A part of me wants to see this as some kind of grand scheme on the part of the DPP that has some brilliant outcome that nobody can predict because it is so brilliant. However, my rational mind laughs at the idea. What gives?

Anonymous said...

I still don't get why Hsieh disappeared for two weeks. A lot of people think it is some sort of political moves. However, I still think the doctor probably found out something bad other than his ankles when he went to see a docotor for it.

Michael Turton said...

Man, guys, I'm hoping it's some brilliant plan too. The DPP always does the come-from-behind thing.... but somehow I think this is just your basic eff-up. Aarrgh. Lotta campaign still to cover, fortunately...


Anonymous said...

Sigh. That is SO dumb. Taking Chen out of the political landscape was elementary politics when the KMT had fixated on him so strongly. DPP: "Doh!".

Anonymous said...

I might be wrong, but it seems to me that here Frank Hsieh took a page out of Japanese mythology 101. Let’s not forget that he spent eight years in Kyoto, soaking up Japanese culture, while earning a doctor degree in law.

If my guess is correct, his move was inspired by a pivotal event in the legend of Amaterasu-Omikami, the sun goddess at the top of the Shinto pantheon. Her brother Susanoo had trampled all over her fiefdom, and smeared her palaces in night soil. Miffed at her brother’s rudeness, Amaterasu retreated in a cave in protest, plunging the world in darkness, with all the consequences you can imagine.

Eight million distraught deities devised a trick to trap her out of her hiding. They assembled in front of the sealed cave, having placed a mirror opposite the entrance. A female deity launched into a bawdy dance amidst the audience’s mounting cheers. Amaterasu, her curiosity picked by the ruckus outside, came out of hiding to be confronted with her radiant image. “Who’s this?” inquired the sun goddess, who, until then, had never seen her own reflection. “Our new goddess, “ answered the gods in unison. And they all pledged allegiance to Amaterasu.

Now, guess who is Frank’s Susanoo?
Who’s the bawdy dancer?
Would eight million votes guarantee the sun rose anew over Taiwan?


Tommy said...

I think Jerome might be correct. I have thought about this before. I think that Hsieh is upset that Chen is the new party chairmain because it detracts attention from Hsieh. I think Hsieh is in hiding because he knows the party cannot choose another candidate at the time being. He will stay in hiding until the DPP powers that be start to see that they will lose the election without even a modest fight, and try to force an outcome in his favor.

Unfortunately, this approach doesn't gain him anything in the more important fight with Ma. It might very possibly backfire hugely.

Wow. I have never thought of him as a goddess. That would make for a good political cartoon, methinks.