Looking at Chiang Kai-Shek and Chen Shui-bian's Approval Ratings
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 12, 2007
This newspaper recently conducted an opinion poll. The poll's first question was: Of all the presidents of the Republic of China, who contributed the most to Taiwan? The answers were: One, Chiang Ching-kuo (50%), Two, Lee Teng-hui (11%), Three, Chiang Kai-Shek (6%), Fourth, Chen Shui-bian (5%).
These answers are consistent with the results of opinion polls conducted but not made public by various political parties. Chen Shui-bian, who bills himself as the "Son of Taiwan" received an approval rating lower than Chiang Kai-shek, the man he accuses of being the "Chief culprit in the 228 Incident."
The poll also asked: Of all the presidents, whose merits outweighed their demerits? The answers were: Chiang Ching-kuo, 65% say his merits outweighed his demerits, 12% say his merits equaled his demerits, 3% say his demerits outweighed his merits; Chiang Kai-Shek, 29% say his merits outweighed his demerits, 30% say his merits equaled his demerits, 9% say his demerits outweighed his merits; Chen Shui-bian, 54% say his demerits outweighed his merits, 19% say his merits equaled his demerits, 5% say his merits outweighed his demerits;
As for the Democratic Progressive Party's "Anti-Chiang Campaign," the same poll found that 60% opposed it, 17% supported it.
The Democratic Progressive Party's anti-Chiang witch hunt reached its climax with the demolition of the name plaque on the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. But the DPP did not bother to seek either social consensus or legal authority before it acted. First, with regards legal authority, the Legislative Yuan did not consent to the name change and demolition. Legally speaking, the state institution located at No. 21 Zhongshan South Road is the "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall." The state violence committed by the ruling DPP regime when it installed crowd control barriers and mobilized riot police in order to demolish the name plaque, was the behavior of a Third World warlord, a flagrant violation of the Rule of Law. Second, with regards social consensus, the Democratic Progressive Party accused Chiang Kai-shek of being the "Chief culprit in the 228 Incident" to justify its anti-Chiang witch hunt. The Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Education expanded the scope of their campaign by dragging in "That f**king Chiang Ching-kuo," and by taunting Ma Ying-jeou, referring to him as "faggoty" and a "little wimp." Their intent was to link "Chief culprit in the 228 Incident" Chiang Kai-shek and "That f**king Chiang Ching-kuo" to "That faggoty little wimp Ma Ying-jeou," as part of the DPP's election strategy. Unfortunately for the DPP, the poll results show that its perceptions are miles apart from society's perceptions.
In truth Chiang Kai-Shek's approval rating was rather low. Those who think he contributed the most to Taiwan numbered only 6%. But let's not forget that 29% thought his merits outweighed his demerits, 30% thought his merits equalled his demerits, and a mere 9% thought his demerits outweighed his merits. Obviously, the DPP's attempt to sum up Chiang Kai-shek's political legacy with the label, "Chief culprit in the 228 Incident" isn't working. Some people feel that replacing the four characters "The Golden Mean, the Way of Righteousness" with "Enemy of Communism, Defender of Taiwan" would more accurately sum up Chiangs's legacy and do him greater justice. Had Chiang Kai-Shek chosen foreign exile, like Lee Chung-jen, three to four generations on Taiwan and tens of millions of people would have fallen under Communist rule. Chiang Kai-Shek's merits and demerits are difficult to reconcile. But the Democratic Progressive Party chooses to see only the 228 Incident. It totally blanks out his role as "Enemy of Communism, Defender of Taiwan." Their story is not the complete story. Their history is not genuine history. The poll reveals that the public doesn't go along with the DPP's demonization of Chiang and its anti-Chiang witch hunt.
Besides,the poll compared "all past presidents." Chiang Kai-Shek was compared with Chiang Ching-kuo. As a result, the kudos naturally went to Chiang Ching-kuo. But affirmations of Chiang Ching-kuo also amount to an affirmation of Chiang Kai-Shek. Without Chiang Kai-Shek, after all, one would not have had Chiang Ching-kuo. In fact, if one were to remove Chiang Ching-kuo from the poll, and compare only Chiang Kai-Shek against Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, one might really get one's eyes opened.
The Democratic Progressive Party knows that flogging only Chiang Kai-Shek's corpse is not enough. They must also go on to demonize "That f**king Chiang Ching-kuo," and "That faggoty little wimp Ma Ying-jeou." Only then can they totally repudiate the Kuomintang and the Republic of China. Only then can they legitimize their demands for Taiwan independence and a Nation of Taiwan. But as the poll shows, even though Chiang Ching-kuo may be controversial, his stature among the people will not be easy to undermine. Few people believe Chiang Ching-kuo "didn't love Taiwan," or was a "Chi-Com fellow traveller," or was "selling out Taiwan." The Democratic Progressive Party wants to tar the younger Chiang with the same brush as they are tarring the elder Chiang. They want to spin the younger Chiang as "That f**king Chiang Ching-kuo." Instead they are merely undercutting the persuasiveness of their anti-Chiang campaign.
The least surprising aspect of this poll was Chen Shui-bian's last place showing among the four presidents. Note that 54% of the public felt Chen's demerits outweighed his merits, and only 5% felt his merits outweighed his demerits. By contrast self-styled "Son of Taiwan" Chen Shui-bian didn't begin to compare with the man Chen accused of being the "Chief culprit in the 228 Incident" (a mere 9% said Chiang's demerits outweighed his merits). Obviously history cannot be distorted, reality cannot be falsified, and public opinion cannot be hijacked as easily as the DPP would like. This most sobering aspect of this poll is: Chiang Kai-shek, who has already been objectified as an authoritarian strongman still had a 29% "merits outweighed his demerits" rating. Currently serving populist autocrat Chen Shui-bian, meanwhile, despite the immense resources of the State at his disposal, was only able to achieve a 5% "merits outweighed his demerits" rating.
The public has a common historical memory: Taiwan's transition from martial law authoritarianism to liberalism constituted a Golden Age of sorts. Once the Democratic Progressive Party assumed power however, the public's realistic perception is that Taiwan underwent a relentless decline in many imporant respects. The perversions of the lawless Chen Shui-bian regime have turned Taiwan into a spiritual and moral Hell on Earth.
Today, the public has a higher opinion of "authoritarian strongman" Chiang Kai-Shek than it does of self-proclaimed "Son of Taiwan" Chen Shui-bian. The public does this not in order to defend authoritarianism. It does this in order to reprimand Chen Shui-bian and Democratic Progressive Party for trampling over democracy and human decency.
2007.12.12 03:11 am
民 調再問：歷屆總統的功過比例如何？答案是：蔣經國，六十五％功大於過，十二％功過相當，三％過大於功；蔣介石，二十九 ％功大於過，三十％功過相當，九％過大於功；陳水扁，五十四％過大於功，十九 ％功過相當，五％功大於過。至於國人支不支持民進黨的「去蔣化」，同一民調發現，六成反對，一成七支持。
民進黨的「去蔣化」，至中正紀念 堂拆匾改名推向高潮，但在社會共識及法律程序上皆無依據。一、就法律程序言，因立法院不同意撤廢，中正紀念堂迄今在法制及名稱上仍是坐落於中山南路二十一 號的唯一合法國家機構；民進黨用拒馬及鎮暴部隊的政治暴力進行拆匾改名，不啻是流氓盜匪的行徑，有違「依法行政」。二、就社會共識言，民進黨以「二二八元 凶」的罪名對蔣介石鞭屍，現場主事者更延伸戰線斥「蔣經國他媽的」，再罵馬英九「小孬孬」，欲藉「鞭屍老蔣↓小蔣他媽的↓馬英九小孬孬」以建立首尾貫通的 選戰論述。然而，若與前述民意調查對照，即知民進黨的認知與社會共識相去甚遠。
在民調中，蔣介石的評價偏低固是事實（認為其貢獻最大者僅 六％），但亦有二十九 ％認為其功大於過，三十％認為功過相當，而僅九％認為過大於功。可見，現今「二二八元凶」的政治鬥爭標籤，難為蔣介石的畢生功過定論；有人認為，若將「大 中至正」四字卸下，換上「反共保台」四字的匾額，對蔣介石或許才是實至名歸。倘若蔣介石當年如李宗仁逃亡異邦，台灣三四代幾千萬人口已淪赤禍。蔣介石確實 功過難論，但民進黨眼中只有「二二八」，而完全抹殺了「反共保台」，這不是真歷史，更不是全歷史。民調顯示，民間對蔣介石的評價應當不至於到政治鞭屍的地 步。
何況，民調是將「歷屆總統」一起比較， 蔣介石因與蔣經國比， 正面評價自然流向蔣經國； 然而，肯定蔣經國， 從某種角度看亦是肯定蔣介石， 畢竟無蔣介石即無蔣經國。 其實，若在民調中拿掉蔣經國， 而以蔣介石與李登輝或陳水扁比， 也許會有更啟人省思的發現。
當 然，民進黨只鞭屍蔣介石是不夠的，必須再把蔣經國定位為「他媽的」，再將馬英九汙名化為「小孬孬」，這才能全盤否定國民黨及中華民國，也才能建立起台獨或 台灣國的正當性。不過，民調顯示，蔣經國儘管亦頗具爭議性，但他在民間的地位已經不易撼動；極少人會認為蔣經國不愛台灣，是中共同路人，是賣台集團；這次 民進黨欲從打老蔣順手打小蔣，把蔣經國說成「他媽的」，反而使其「去蔣」行動的正當性及說服力大打折扣。
此一民調最令人不感意外的是，陳 水扁在四人中排名最後；且五十四％認為其過大於功，僅五％認為其功大於過。若以陳水扁的功過比例與蔣介石對比，「台灣之子」陳水扁（五十四％過大於功）， 竟然尚遠遜於他口中的「二二八元凶」蔣介石（九％過大於功）；可見歷史不能扭曲，現實亦不能矯飾，民意更不能挾持。此一民調所顯示的最令人感慨的意義是： 已經物化的威權強人蔣介石尚有二十九％功大於過的評價，如今活著掌握一切政治資源優勢的民粹獨夫陳水扁，卻只有五％認為其功大於過。