Sunday, July 10, 2011

Election Round-up =UPDATED=

The President and Veep candidate Premier Wu have been flogging the KMT brand in the south. With the North locked down and the center evenly split, the south may turn out to be crucial to KMT hopes.
King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of Ma’s campaign office, said that support in the south would be crucial for the KMT in the presidential election because political support bases in northern and central Taiwan were more consolidated.

The campaign office will arrange frequent trips to southern Taiwan for Ma and Wu, he said.
People often describe the South as "green" but it is more like a checkerboard, with different levels of greenness for different elections. Even though Ma is unlikely to do well in an area of the nation the KMT has ruthlessly exploited for 60 years, by campaigning he increases the chances of KMT legislators to get elected down south (remember, the legislature and President will be elected the same day this time).

Ma's campaign in Nantou emphasized the benefits of tourism from the PRC (which fell 30% last month); Sun Moon Lake in that county being a PRC tourist favorite. Ma's campaign could hardly emphasize anything else; Nantou remains relatively impoverished and undeveloped after many years of KMT rule. This has not stopped the locals from voting like automatons for the KMT. *sigh* It should also be a warning to the locals about what happens when a region relies heavily on tourism.....

Ma also requested that fewer Chinese officials show up during election season (apparently). They are a reminder of what Ma is really working toward....

Premier Wu appears to be the designated attack dog in the campaign to leverage the corruption indictment of former President Lee Teng-hui against DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen -- the classic mode in which the Great Man (Ma) utters paternalistic benevolences and regretful sighs while the vicious attacks that are actual policy are carried out by underlings. Wu said this week:
“Black gold politics ran wild during Lee Teng-hui's 13-year presidential stint. Who was encouraging all that?” Wu claimed during a TV interview, apparently blaming the former president for Taiwan's widespread corruption.
This campaign against Lee, who possesses the towering rep that Chen Shui-bian never had, stands a good chance of backfiring. It also absorbs time and energy that the KMT could put to better effect attacking Tsai directly. Raising the issue of black gold politics will not reflect well on the KMT.

The KMT has been bickering with its pan-Blue partner, the People's First Party (PFP), headed by James Soong. Soong has been making noises about running as a third candidate in the election, while several recent news stories have pointed to problems between the two pro-China parties. For example:
According to PFP sources, while the KMT said it wanted to cooperate with the PFP in the elections, it was telling potential PFP legislator hopefuls to “look at the big picture” and to back out from the elections.

For example, the sources said, Taipei City Councilor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) of the PFP, who was planning to run in the legislative elections in the Nangang (南港) Neihu (內湖) constituency, has been pressured by the KMT to back out of the campaign.

Sources from the PFP said the party would announce its list of nominees for legislators as early as next week, adding that as well as about 10 nominees for Taiwan proper, the PFP would also nominate candidates for Taiwan’s -outlying islands.

The move by the PFP, which split from the KMT in 2000 under the leadership of Soong — a former KMT secretary-general — was largely interpreted as a sign of disunity in the KMT-dominated pan-blue camp, signaling that Soong and his tiny party would go their own way in the elections.
In the last legislative election the KMT was able to recoup most of the votes it had lost to the PFP and to bring back many PFP legislators to the KMT. The PFP was badly wounded and remains a small party. Even worse, Soong himself ran for Taipei mayor and was a non-factor in the race. He is old and unlikely to draw votes, and the reservoir of goodwill he built up as "provincial governor" during the 1990s, where he acquired a rep for being a trains-run-on-time kind of politician, has pretty much dried up. It is more likely that the hints and noises by Soong are simply to acquire leverage for some other deal.

In 2008 former President Lee Teng-hui was a non-factor, withholding his endorsement of the pro-Taiwan candidate until the waning days of the election. This time around Lee is out front and center, saying that the nation has made no progress and the President needs to be changed....
Lee accused the Administration of relying on China to solve every problem, and called on voters to "Dump Ma, Save Taiwan". This is a bit of political wordplay ju-jitsu. Recall in the 1998 Taipei mayor election and a couple of other elections when the KMT was split, the slogan was "Dump [the candidate that can't win], Save [the candidate that has the best chance]." Now Lee is using that against the KMT.

Also, I've totally deleted a section of this post to rewrite it like this. Tsai's position -- and that of the DPP -- is that anyone who lives in Taiwan and identifies with Taiwan is a qualified Taiwanese. Her position on citizenship is one of civic nationality, not ethnic nationality. The KMT is going to distort this as "ethnic nationalism" in order to attack the DPP. Tsai needs to make this message really clear, and those of us who support her need to fight back against the smear that Tsai supports ethnic nationalism.
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! Delenda est, baby.


Anonymous said...

Tsai's emphasis on Taiwan and being proud of being Taiwanese is based on country and not exclusive of mainlanders. Tsai is Hakka and speaks terrible Taiwanese and she's a woman. These facts--Hakka, mainly Mandarin speaker, and female are all antithetical to the caricature of "Taiwanese" identity created by pan-Blues when Chen Shui-bian's star was rising. There is no confusion this time around that the Taiwanese Tsai is talking about is those that are citizens of the country of Taiwan and not some chauvinist reactionary mirror image of the Chinese identity shoved down the throats of Taiwanese in the latter half of the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

Haha, the KMT is always indirect about what it's trying to say. It's always asking you "how often do you beat your wife?"

The KMT claiming the battle will be in the South is an attempt to distract from how weak it is versus four years ago. The KMT is going to be near extinction south of the Choushui River and the real battle will be in the North and Central Taiwan. Though the majority of the North usually votes Blue, I think that's where Tsai has the ability to make the biggest swing in percentages even if she still doesn't win a majority in the North. The South is already completely locked up for her and the Central votes KMT because they are corrupt--not sure how Ma doing a bad job and Tsai would be any kind of positive for them. But the young people and the middle aged women in the North that voted for Ma last time around--I think Tsai has great potential to win their votes.

Michael Turton said...

The South is already completely locked up for her and the Central votes KMT because they are corrupt--not sure how Ma doing a bad job and Tsai would be any kind of positive for them.

I think central might swing for Tsai this time. People are pretty unhappy with Jason Hu.

I don't know if Tsai will get the women's vote -- Ma does better in that category according to polls.


Anonymous said...

Hu is desperate.

Me thinks the whole Lady Gaga thing was cooked up between KMT party officials and their close friends in the entertainment industry, which has been predominantly Blue, in an effort to appeal to the "crucial youth vote".

Dixteel said...

"I don't know if Tsai will get the women's vote -- Ma does better in that category according to polls."

So...basically Ma is the oldest hot stud alive, I wonder what would Hugh Hefner say about that...LOL

Anonymous said...

This whole Chinese tourist thing is putting money into selected hands and is overblown as far as actually helping the overall economy goes. The trickle down effect just increases the divide between the haves and have-nots. I don't know of any locals who actually want to go to Sun Moon Lake these days and wade through the several kilometer long lines of tour buses and throngs of tourists. Also, I know of locals avoiding other popular tourist destinations as well.

Anonymous said...

"remains relatively impoverished and undeveloped after many years of KMT rule. This has not stopped the locals from voting like automatons for the KMT. "

First of all, please fact check. Nantou was ranned by a DPP governor from 01 to 04, AND it was ran by a independent (who was a Ex-DPP member) from 97 to 01, so in the last 15 years it's actually been ran by DPP or DPP leaning governor more often than by the KMT.

Secondly We could say the same about many Southern Counties as well, (population continues to shift north, with Taoyuan and XinChu being the biggest grower at the expensese of places like Tainan) does the same logic hold that why they keep voting for DPP governors though? Kaoshuang's port have seen it's traffic go down since 2004 (last year it's total traffic was down 20% compare to 04) and it's MRT is losing money badly with no real sign of it turning around. By that logic shouldn't they try to switch sides on governors?

As you pointed out yourself, Taiwan is mostly a patchwork, with wealthier Urban areas being more blue, poorer Urban area slightly green, while agricultural areas depends more on ethnic ties then anything else (more heavily Minan area will be very green, while more heavily Hakka / Aborigine area will not be) There are plenty of historical reasons for such setups. and many of them aren't pretty for either side.

In the late 80s early 90s it was actually often the other way around, the Urban educated people from almost any background were usually the strongest supporter of the non KMT candidates, while the KMT bought up votes in the rural areas, that made a complete 180 in the late 90s early 2000s, what does that really implicate?

The point that many foreigner perhaps do not see is that in the early days of the Lee Teng Hui era, the Opposition was actually quite strongly supported by the 2nd /3rd generation of WeiShenren. but today many of those same people are it's strongest critics. There are plenty of things we don't like with Ma and the KMT, we just don't like the DPP even more.

Michael Turton said...

On my planet, Nantou has been in KMT control for most of the last 60 years, including at the central government level. Taiwan operates as a colonial state run by the KMT. Hence the crucial difference between Nantou and Southern DPP voters: in Nantou the colonized continue to vote to be colonized by supporting the KMT, whereas in the South, the pan-Green voters vote against the colonial political economy by voting for the DPP. The South remains impoverished because of the colonial policies run from the North, not because of the way the DPP runs things. Compare I-lan and Kaohsiung to longtime KMT run towns like Miaoli and Taichung, and the huge changes in Taipei in just four years of Chen Shui-bian, compared to the stagnation under Ma and the corruption and incompetence prior to Chen.


Anonymous said...

So in your planet 林宗男/彭百顯 's 8 year in Nantou did not exist?

It should be noted of course, that both Lin and Peng are not decsively hard core DPP candidates, they both ran as Independents against the DPP in other occasions, but the same logic sould hold true for a ton of other DPP / KMT local candidates as well. Local politics in Taiwan is not a decisively Green or Blue thing (for example Yang of Kaotsung county received a ton of blue votes this time against Chen Ju), a lot of them simply follow certain people that may switch alligeance over time.

"Compare I-lan and Kaohsiung to longtime KMT run towns like Miaoli and Taichung, and the huge changes in Taipei in just four years of Chen Shui-bian, compared to the stagnation under Ma and the corruption and incompetence prior to Chen. "

Yes, exactly, but that's the point isn't it. The 8 years under Chen did not turn the North South / Axis around either, and it is highly unlikely that even if Tsai wins a 8 year turn that it will, but it is also the same reason that no matter who runs Nantou, a land locked mountainous county, it will never be that wealthy. Unlike what your suggesting, Geography usually factors heavily into economic conditions. Taipei was not chosen as the capital on a whim (by the Japanese no less). Nor will all the resource / effort in the world make Eastern Taiwan comparably wealth as Western Taiwan.

If you wonder why the government don't relocate to Tainan, it's the same reason why the Southern Technology complexes have been doing horrifically. and it has almost nothing to do with the government, but everything to do with natural restrictions.

Not to meantion, both Yilang and Kaoshung (city) , like Nantou, are not decisively green or blue, they're all swing regions that could go either way if you actually looked at the election results over the last decade or so (if you don't believe me, just check out the 08 Presidential election result by region).

Much like in recent weeks the DPP blasted Ma (rightfully) for taking credit of tackling the many fraud cases based in Taiwan or ran by Taiwanese abroad as his own government's achievement when in fact it much was started by the DPP, the Chen era of Taipei's most decsive change was the operation of the MRT, but the construction happened almost entirely in his predecssor's period, who also lost after just one term for not surprisngly... the complaints that traffic was horrible (because the MRT construction was really messing up the already bad traffic)

The Chen era saw massive changes to Taipei that can rightly claim to surpass any changes in the Ma era, but if you consider carefully, how much of it was Chen's doing and how much of it was national projects's construction / completion cycle? certainly a good part of it was the later as well. the MRT completely changed the way Taipei worked.

The DPP have ran almost every county / district and also central government for at least one term since the democrazation . it is becoming harder and harder to sell the "50 year colonial rule" thing and the DPP's attempt to do so generally backfires in national elections and more urban districts. Commenting from a neutral POV.

At the end of the day, if Taiwan is really completely rigged by the KMT, then the time for revolution have long passed it's due. But I highly doubt any DPP candidate will even flirt with THAT idea.

Michael Le Houllier said...

Many here in Taichung are definately displeased with Hu. People outside Taichung were surprised by how close our mayoral election was, but most inside Taichung were NOT surprised. In fact, I feel if the election were held now, Su would beat Hu here. Hu's local star is declining - what, with seemingly never-ending delays on the MRT construction and obvious corruption (leading to illegal nightclubs and tragedies like the Ala Club fire), people are getting fed up. I am hearing even more disatisfaction from places in the former county like Fengyuan, Dali, and Taiping districts where lack of commitment to education is roundly criticized by many people I know. Taichung could very well go Tsai in the election (with her Hakka heritage possibly helping her out in Xinshe and Dongshi districts) and she may even grab some inroads in Miaoli county as well. I don't see any hope for Nantou county (except perhaps aboriginal areas as the Yuanzhumin are increasingly disastisfied with Ma and his team -- should also affect Heping District in Taichung City, which is largely Atayal).

Anonymous said...

I run a busniess over northern and central Taiwan, and I have lived in Taichung for half a year or so before, and I'd generally agree that Taichung's not well run, it's public schools are much harder to work with than schools elsewhere (we do busniess with elementary schools mostly) . and a lot of other areas you can really complain about etc.. so I'd agree that Hu hasn't really done a good job, he seems more of a advertiser than anything else.

Then again, looking back at Taichung's history it's almost always been pretty rough place, one of the most horrific fire happened there some 20 years ago (a small restaurant fire managed to kill a wooping 50+ people!!) and it's well known that for many decades it's the mecca of Taiwan's underworld.

D said...

Interesting discussion!