Sunday, December 18, 2011

Forgery or Fark-up: TaiMed backfire on KMT continues

My Powershot S95 finally came back after three weeks in the shop. Happiness again. Yesterday was a lovely day here in central Taiwan....

The prediction market is shedding some the irrational exuberance that overwhelmed it last week as DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen's predicted share of the vote, while above 50%, is falling gently back. The value of her stock to win peaked at 69 a few days ago and is currently at 67 and change, while a Ma victory is selling for 28. Bottom line: if the election were held tomorrow, Ma would probably lose. But there is still plenty of time for Ma to pull this one out.... Taiwan's bookies have the election as a dead heat.

The reason for the spike in the value of Tsai stock is the ongoing farcical TaiMed case, in which the KMT is still attempting to accuse DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen of excessive profits and conflict of interest. Unfortunately KMT elites and local legislators don't see eye to eye on the exploitation of the "scandal".... the pro-Tsai Taipei Times reports:
Several polls conducted by different media outlets showed support for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) slipped after the KMT attacked Tsai over the case.[MT: They did? Can't think of a single one.]

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the KMT’s vice presidential candidate, said yesterday that “it is not necessary to focus too strenuously on this case.”

“We have learned from media polls that support for Ma has increased by two percentage points. Although he did not lose points, he did not score much,” Wu said.

He said the party suffered a setback “because of [Liu’s] small mistake.”

“The [Yu Chang] case should stop here. Now that the documents [related to investments made by state funds in Yu Chang] have been declassified ... people can judge for themselves,” he said. “It’s not necessary to use it as a campaign issue.”

“[In the Yu Chang case,] people will believe what they want to believe. The KMT should focus on its political achievements rather than on a single issue,” he said.

Wu indicated that there was a consensus within the party to drop the Yu Chang case.

However, KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday said: “I do not think it’s right to bury at sea what is right and what is wrong in the Yu Chang case just because of a mistake about the date.”
Wu appears to be attempting to back off -- "it is not necessary to focus too strenuously on this case." Note the bind here -- if they really believed Tsai was corrupt and could prove it, they'd be continuing to peddle this line of garbage instead of developing a consensus to drop the case. But now all they can do is search for a way to move the discussion past this issue. It even came up in the debate. Silly.

The special prosecutors investigation actually offers a way out -- it could quickly give Tsai a clean bill of health, which would enable the KMT to drop the case and save some face. Except that will never happen. But now, like every other DPP heavyweight, there is an investigation hanging over Tsai's head -- anyone remember the 36,000 missing documents? In that case, just like this one, charges relating to events that had taken place years ago were invented. But there's no formula here, just move along, folks....

Speaking of those special prosecutors, each time they get trundled out for a case, they make Chen Shui-bian's claims that his prosecution was political more credible. Way to go, guys.

Tsai did well in the debate -- no fumbling, was overwhelming winner in (not credible) online poll. The important point was that she didn't sink herself. The DPP's ball control campaign is doing quite well. It's boring, but successful.
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richard said...

do you Michael know anything more specific about Ian Brzezinki's involvement in Booz Allen Hamilton?
does he personally deal with China or only the company?
i am curious why you mentioned him

Michael Turton said...

I have no idea whether he deals with China, but his company does.

It is a potential example of two things I hate -- the revolving door and the way businessmen pretending to be analysts write our foreign policy.


D said...

I'm so conditioned to coming on your blog and encountering abject pessimism that I find myself a little disoriented with your last week or so of election-related posts. You actually think Tsai can win? I wouldn't go any farther than "it might be possible"...

KMT stabbed themselves in the eye with TaiMed, but Watergate it is not. That's just the way the KMT rolls, and part of Ma's thing is that he is up there cleaning up the dirty stuff anyway, isn't it. Otherwise, Ma isn't inspiring anyone -- but hey, he never has! Soong will take away some old-guard KMT votes, but his ideology of pragmaticism might win some of the swing voters, no?

I have no understanding of polls whatsoever, but I have my suspicions anyway: the ones that have Tsai in contention or even in the lead reflect a feeling of goodwill people have towards her. She's obviously competent and even detractors probably feel sorry for her as a pitiable lesbian.... Better show her a little respect before voting her down.

The position she's in just seems impossible to me. Maybe you're right that it's good for the DPP to run steady, so you'll have a chance of pulling it off in a close election, as opposed to going theatrical and risking blowing it all. So I guess I've talked myself into your limited optimism. Still, even her solid points in the debate sounded politically worthless to me. Argue that the KMT has stolen DPP programs and ideas? That's just what swing voters want the KMT to do. Complain about references to CSB? She's right about it, the DPP is being saddled with perceptions/events (let's not debate that one) of 2006-08, but just saying it doesn't make it go away. CSB (or perception thereof) has sunk the DPP in two presidential elections including this one. The only hope is that he will seem sufficiently historical by 2015. In that sense maybe Tsai's campaign really is having a positive effect.

I haven't even gotten to China policy. For all the anxieties (and I'm not at all sure the middle part of the electorate is as worked up about it as some have suggested) about Ma's plans, his Three No's is absolute political gold, positioning CCP (unification) and CSB (independence) as two extremes between which he will guide Taiwan _during his tenure_ (meaning, to more moderate people leaning toward either side, that anything could happen later -- nothing sells like hope). Tsai and the DPP have nothing to hold up against it. ROC=Taiwan=ROC is a valid try but is too obviously flimsy casuistry. Calling out the "1992 consensus" as bullshit does win some moxy points, but it's not enough.

Ok, you likely disagree with quite a few of my assumptions, but there's my view for what it's worth. I won't be complaining if events prove me wrong. Although if I'm right I'd still rather have 8 years of Ma Yingjiu than 8 of George Bush, so I count the Taiwanese people lucky regardless.

And maybe I'm missing the big picture anyway -- I've noticed you and others arguing that the lower-level elections are actually just as if not more important than the presidential contest.

Michael Turton said...

No, I don't think Tsai can win, I still think Ma will pull this one off. But I'm pretty sure that if the vote were held today, Tsai would win.


D said...

"But I'm pretty sure that if the vote were held today, Tsai would win."

That's exactly what I don't get! Really? For the reasons above, I just can't see Tsai winning yesterday, today or next month. Unless Soong really sucks the wind out of the KMT sails.