Thursday, April 02, 2015

KMTitanic 5: Struggling for the Northern Lifeboats Round Up Edition

Alley in Shiziwan, Kaohsiung.
Ruth: Will the lifeboats be seated according to class? I hope they're not too crowded.
Rose: Oh mother, shut up! Don't you understand? The water is freezing and there aren't enough boats. Not enough by half. Half the people on this ship are going to die.
Cal Hockley: Not the better half.
So much going on. Time to catch up.

First, supplies a pile of stuff. He summarizes a new poll from the staidly Establishment TISR that shows how awful the KMT's current situation is. Looking at heavyweights Wang Jin-pyng, current legislator at-large and Speaker of the Legislature, and KMT Chairman and princeling Eric Chu, he notes:
Chu beats Wang among KMT supporters while Wang beats Chu among everyone else. In one category, clean government and honesty, Chu is ahead of Wang among everyone, while in another, protecting the nation’s sovereignty, Wang beats Chu among everyone KMT included. And of course, Wu has no chance.


The KMT is now only slightly more popular than the Communist Party of China.
Three-fourths of the population believes the economy is in bad shape. That will likely unleash a multitude of hurts on the KMT presidential candidate. First, the KMT's claim to economic prowess has been eviscerated by the incompetent, unimaginative Ma Administration. Second, a bad economy tends to shrivel support for the ruling party. Third, while legislative candidates can probably safely keep their distance from Ma, at some point, probably more than once, the KMT presidential candidate will have to make public appearances with Ma Ying-jeou, who gloriously has given almost every interest group a reason to be angry at his administration.

Note that while neither is popular, Wang is slightly more popular among all voters. Chu is not all that popular outside the KMT. His administration in Taoyuan and New Taipei City was lackluster, and the advent of Ko Wen-je in Taipei has made the public reassess all previous city administrations (Ko's popularity is madly high at the moment), which has not helped Chu. Moreover, his power base is in the north. Solidarity translated a TVBS poll on city mayors here -- Chu is not among the top 3 -- and another on their specific policies here.

Two other points on the polls -- a non-partisan fantasy ticket of Ko and James Soong outperforms Tsai and Chu in a hypothetical presidential poll, and the DPP's party favorability is now about 50% in the poll. Moreover, the KMT is nearing 60% negative in the poll.

A close friend, longtime pan-Green, and Taiwan political scholar observed last night over drinks that if Soong seriously runs for President it will likely hurt the KMT this time, since Soong will -- like Ko in the recent Taipei mayor election -- permit KMT voters to vote against the KMT without voting for the DPP. There's lots of anger among KMT voters...

Speaking of presidential nominations, Solidarity has a media report saying that Wang Jin-pyng is silently gathering support for a presidential candidate nomination. To wit:
A KMT legislator revealed that Wang has already visited an old colleague in the central/southern region, who told Wang during their meeting that he would gather grassroots support for Wang’s campaign. Wang gave him the green light. More and more people from the grassroots, in fact, are pushing for Wang.

The core of Wang’s support, however—the Kaohsiung Area Farmer’s Association (KAFA)—has not yet taken any clear actions. Wang’s networks—the local factions, the KAFA, and the Farm Irrigation Association of Kaohsiung—have at present prepared their troops but have not set out for battle yet. They are merely making connections under the table.

A source close to Wang said that according to a green camp think tank’s polling, although Wang would lose a primary to Eric Chu, in the general election Wang would do better than Chu, demonstrating that Wang can win light green votes while Chu would just consolidate the blue camp. This is an indicator worthy of notice, s/he said.

These latter days of the Ma administration are indeed a time for choosing for the KMT regarding Wang’s harmonious governing style. The local factions and Wang’s image as Taiwan’s image as “Taiwan’s ojisan” [“grandpa” in Japanese and Taiwanese] are Wang’s strengths, particularly in the central and southern regions of Taiwan where the KMT is weakest. And it seems like everyone in Taiwan has been helped by Wang Jin-pyng or owes him a favor. Hence, Wang truly has multitudes at his beck and call, and even if he isn’t on the ticket, the KMT will still need to borrow his strength.
Wang is the informal leader of the KMT's Taiwanese legislators. He's Taiwanese, Chu is a mainlander. The Deep Blue core of the KMT is very unlikely to support Wang for Prez (for example), while the Taiwanese KMT will be miffed if their boy Wang is passed over. The scenario many of us see is a Chu-Wang ticket, but a friend of mine argued the other day that a Wang-Chu ticket is a possibility. Running as Veep would permit Chu to retain his mayorship of New Taipei City. Since the KMT is likely to lose, at least on its current trajectory, the stain would fall on Wang and Chu would not have to give up New Taipei City. While senior KMT officials are pushing for an early declaration of who the candidate is, Chu is resisting.

Key point in this TVBS poll: Chu does better against Tsai than Wang does. This is why in the end they will go with Chu, I think. There's another evolving KMT-DPP split here that the KMT can exploit -- increasingly at the local level voters are trusting the DPP -- everyone can see how much better Kaoshiung and Tainan and I-lan are. One could argue that voters are evolving a strategy of voting DPP at the local level to promote their own hometowns, while voting for the KMT for president to ensure that China is quiet and their businesses are not shut out by China. It's still too early to say that, though.

Wang is in a bind. As another Solidarity post noted, Chu is Chairman, but another prominent mainlander princeling, Hau Lung-bin, the former mayor of Taipei, is basically running the KMT on a day to day basis. He is also in charge of the committee for nominating KMTers for legislative positions, and the rumor -- which Hau denies -- is that he is going to put himself up for the party list for an at-large seat, meaning that he could enter the legislature without being voted in, and become the Speaker. Wang is limited by KMT rules to two terms. Wang also no district in southern Taiwan since he is an at-large legislator, meaning that unless Hau puts him on the party list (not likely), he will get no seat. If he doesn't run for President or Veep, his political career is probably over.

Current Veep Wu Den-yi (warning: for amusement purposes only) has no chance at the nomination, which is not stopping him from trying, according to media reports. His support base is basically a few factions in sparsely populated Nantou.

The struggles for President are inherently interesting, but KMT dominance of the legislature is a key to KMT power. This election is shaping up to be quite interesting as KMTers rush for the safe northern lifeboats and abandon the south. Again Solidarity with the translation:
The Kuomintang yesterday finished its survey of incumbent legislators’ willingness to run for re-election, and it appears its members are hot for the north and cold for the south: although Taipei, New Taipei, and Taoyuan cities are bursting with aspirants for KMT nominations, in Yunlin and Chiayi not even the party’s incumbents want to run. This raises the question of whether party members are rushing to grab northern seats and are afraid to fight for the south.
Eight KMTers are vying for Alex Tsai's seat in Taipei, and only Ting Shou-chung, who lost the mayoral nomination to Sean Lien, is without a primary challenger, though the US-born Robin Winkler and Green Party member is running against him in the general election (FocusTaiwan). In Hsinchu another KMT seat has six challengers, and it looks like there will be a split in Miaoli as well.

John Chiang, 4th generation descendant of CKS, is running in primary in Taipei because, he says, the young have to come out and boost the KMT.

Several KMTers have been vocal about the party's selection process. The Taipei Times reported that several prominent KMT politicians are losing their at-large seats, which means there's an opportunity for new blood. Is this one: Taiwanese-Vietnamese immigrant to take at-large seat for a party she won't name.

Another factor that could affect the election, but so far I haven't seen any polling or other data on it: drought. Come the fall, if we pass another summer without typhoons, lots of voters are going to be asking loudly why the KMT government and KMT legislature did so little (in my more paranoid moments I wonder if the KMT is hoping to leave this as problem to discredit the incoming DPP government).

KMTitanic 4
KMTitanic 3
KMTitanic 2
KMTitanic 1
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!


TaiwanJunkie said...

Chu has proven himself to be spineless and indicisive. He kept delaying announcement of his candidacy for New Taipei and now he is doing the same for the presidency. Nor is he doing that well when it comes to the latest round of satisfaction survey for the 6 municipalities.

Needless to say, the KMT system seems to favor the development of candidates that fits the Ma/Chu profile, I hope voters realize just how similar these guys are.

As for Gogoro, love the concept, Taiwan needs this thing to succeed in a really bad way. The improvement on air quality throughout the country would be huge. Big question is cost, scooter riders are extremely cost sensitive, if the price is too high, they will not switch. They also need to work out some type of exchange program so a scooter rider can get a rebate for an old scooter they are giving up. And the municipalities need to create EV scooter only zones in the most congested central locations to stimulate adoptation.

Mike Fagan said...

" And the municipalities need to create EV scooter only zones in the most congested central locations to stimulate adoptation."

Yeah but what you're basically saying there is that EV scooters will be so shit nobody will buy one unless they are forced to. How are you supposed to move several kids or dogs or a shed load of kit from A to B on a dinky little fucking electric pencil sharpener?

The enthusiasm for EV scooters also betrays the earlier environmental measures (e.g. the phasing out of two-strokes and then the phasing out of carburetors) as basically dishonest legislation; why wait for the development of electric vehicles when you can just start fucking with everyone's wheels right now?

I remember getting stopped in Kaohsiung by a bunch of young brown shirts escorted by a couple of cops just so they could test my scooter emissions and adjust my carburetor gas to air ratio. Twats wasted 5 or 10 minutes. All I did was go around the corner take out my screwdriver and reset the carburetor to what it had been before.

TaiwanJunkie said...

EV's are one of those things that once you drive one, you are a convert for lief. I should know, I have an EV myself.

That said, folks are going to be driven by cost. And scooter drivers even more so. And there will be a cost premium. How can the cost premium be justified in a population driven by cost?

Perhaps I should have been more concise when I said EV scooter only zones. I was looking at purely EV scooter vs ICE scooter, was not looking at cars.

There's no need to jump to conclusions about "EV scooters will be so shit no body will buy one" and "dinky littled fucking electric pencil sharpener." Just sounds like you totally got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Unless that's just how you roll.

Mike Fagan said...

It's not a "jumped to" conclusion. If electric vehicles are good enough (i.e. competitive with existing vehicles in both quality and cost) then people will buy them in large numbers.

It is likely however, that they won't initially be good enough on either count: quality, because their speed, power and (very important) range will not be competitive with gas powered vehicles (with the exception of the lower end scooters); and cost, because as you say they will cost more. It may be that electric vehicles will improve, but that remains to be seen.

I think air pollution is just one of those things which can be ameliorated to some extent, but that extent must be limited by both cost and moral considerations. If you can be forced into buying certain types of product, then it follows that you can be forced into living a lifestyle not of your own choosing.

Which is why I'm against things like EV only zones.

Michael Turton said...

EV's are one of those things that once you drive one, you are a convert for lief. I should know, I have an EV myself.

Yes, I drove the latest version on Green Island last year and wanted one immediately. Quiet, clean, fast, and good range. But as you note, economics: it was 80K even with the subsidy.

Michael Turton said...

EV's are one of those things that once you drive one, you are a convert for lief. I should know, I have an EV myself.

Yes, I drove the latest version on Green Island last year and wanted one immediately. Quiet, clean, fast, and good range. But as you note, economics: it was 80K even with the subsidy.

Michael Turton said...

If you can be forced into buying certain types of product, then it follows that you can be forced into living a lifestyle not of your own choosing.

Yes, it does suck that you share the world with other people. If only that pesky society filled with others present and future didn't exist.

Seamus said...

Re electric vehicles I used to own a Prius and found it great to drive. I'd jump at an electric scooter, and would even happily pay a bit extra. Guess I'd consider twice the price would be a bit steep, but an extra 25% or so seems nothing.

Taiwanese streets would be so much more relaxing without noisy smelly scooters roaring around. Only issue I see with electrics in Taiwan is maniacs zipping around near-silently with their eyes shut.

Cassie said...

Isn't it John Chiang's son (Wan-An Chiang) who is running for in the primary, not John Chiang himself?

The article mentions that Chiang is a lawyer in the US - I googled it and it looks like Chiang is the managing partner at Chiang Law Office which states that Wayne Chiang is admitted to practice law in California. But a quick search on the CA State Bar site turned up nothing... ?

Michael Turton said...

I thought they had the same English name.


Anonymous said...

I wonder whatever happened to the fuel cell scooters. Last I heard, they were being tested in Kenting and Hawaii, and were ready for mass production in 2012.

TaiwanJunkie said...

The price of gogoro came out. "NT$50,000-60,000 (US$1,600-$1,920) after government subsidies"

How competitive is the price compared to traditional scooters in Taiwan?