Saturday, August 20, 2011

Soong Round Up =UPDATED=

The burning local political question the last couple of weeks has been "What will Soong Do?"

Jerome Keating argued the other day he should campaign as a legislator at large rather than President. Keating reasons that Soong must realize he can't win, thus....
No, strange as it may seem, Soong’s best chance is to run as the No. 1 candidate on his party’s legislator-at-large roster. Running at-large would give him the ability to campaign freely across the whole country. His message could be simple and direct while attracting votes for both his party and its candidates in the legislative districts. He could contend: “The country needs my voice. If I am in the Legislative Yuan, I and hopefully other PFP legislators could contribute by working with and fashioning policy with whatever party needs a majority. Help my party and its candidates get past the 5 percent hurdle so that I will have an active platform for the next four years. If clowns like [KMT Legislator] Chiu Yi (邱毅) can be elected as legislators-at-large, a man of my caliber should all the more be in the legislature.”
Soong has already declared that he is determined to win enough seats so his party can pass the 5% threshold and form a legislative caucus. He is also positioning himself as a middle of the road politician who is the answer to the bipartisan legislative culture. There is an oft-heard yearning for a middle way out of the political deadlock, but no middle way can exist. Soong is certainly not it; he's a pro-Unification mainlander and as Deep Blue as any of the KMT heavyweights. Moreover, the PFP won't be competitive in pan-green areas; it can only survive in pro-KMT districts. Savvy Blue voters are unlikely to vote for a PFP politician and split the Blue vote to help the DPP, as KMT legislators pointed out the other day.

Hard to say what Soong's best move is if he wants to keep his party alive (assuming that is his goal).

Another issue being bandied about is the effect of Soong running for President. Everyone seems to think that he'll harm the KMT more than the DPP, but if he vacuums up votes from that crucial 10% of independent voters Tsai must get if she is to win, Soong could do serious damage to the DPP cause.

UPDATED: It's going to be the Presidency. A common trope among Taiwan politicians is to claim that they were reluctant to run, but underlings or family begged them -- remember when Ma was never going to go back to politics, but Dad begged him to enter? Soong is also using this approach:
Former People First Party (PFP) legislators and supporters yesterday presented a signature drive to show their support for PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), urging him to join the presidential election.

Led by former PFP legislators Kao Chi-ming (高資敏) and Yang Fu-mei (楊富美), the group said a signature drive to support Soong’s presidential bid has collected 1185,760 signatures, and Soong should respond to the passion of his supporters by running against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
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Tim Maddog said...

James Soong is pulling a "Sarah Palin." All he needs now is a big orange bus. ;-)

Tim Maddog

Michael Turton said...


D said...

Re: Taiwan's birth rate

There's an interesting Economist article just out on this, if you haven't seen it:

Essentially, the article attributes the low birth rate to low marriage rates (and cultural reluctance to have children out of wedlock). Most articles I've seen just talk about the low birth rate and direct ways to address it. But if this Economist piece is right, then whatever "policies" Taiwan and other countries come up with to address birth rates won't be very effective. The article is also good for putting Taiwan in the context of other Asian countries, eg foreign brides in South Korea.

So population decrease (or "easing" if you think population decrease is not necessarily bad), productivity increases and seismic cultural change seem to be on the menu for the next 30 years.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah I saw that article, and it was quite good. I wanted to blog on it tomorrow. Off to Changhua to explore a local historical site....

Thoth Harris said...

Soong would make an extremely ugly woman. Don't put that image in my head, Tim Maddog.

Anonymous said...

Soong should just wait until the KMT sells out Taiwan, then become the Taiwan Garrison Commander again. He knows all the interrogation techniques plus knows where to set up secret prisons.

Dont forget..."Think Positive"

Anonymous said...

I hope the imperial allusions are not lost on Soong. It was expected that the emperor of a new dynasty would refuse three times before accepting the mandate of heaven.

M said...

Are you sure he's going to go for president? If he does, he will only end up suffering another humiliation. Before the Taipei City mayoral election, he was polling around 10%, but ended up with only 4% of the vote. People who were toying with voting for him ended up voting KMT or DPP in the end because they knew he had no chance of winning. Another showing like that this time and he really is finished!

I think he is still aiming for the Legislative Yuan, with a view to a possible presidential run in 4 years time. To be a viable candidate for president, he needs to build up his power base in the legislature first.

Michael Turton said...

Hmmm..... M, that's a better interpretation than mine.