Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Frank Hsieh: "Am I a Chen Shui-bian Clone?"

Frank Hsieh: "Am I a Chen Shui-bian Clone?"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 16, 2008

Is Chen Shui-bian up to his old tricks again? During his state visit he said that his "Five Noes" were merely his personal commitment, that they were not binding upon the new president.

Chen Shui-bian's implication was clear. If Frank Hsieh wants to hitch a ride on the Five Noes bandwagon, he must make his own preference known. He cannot evade the issue. Chen Shui-bian added that the legislative elections were largely concerned with domestic affairs. The presidential election is about cross-strait policy and national identity. In other words, he thinks Hsieh has to come clean.

Chen Shiu-bian will probably withdraw from the front lines of the presidential campaign. He will adopt the position that "national policy must be decided by the President." He will issue an endless stream of opinions on cross-straits policy and "national identity" issues. He will offer his own presidential campaign platform, forcing Frank Hsieh to lay his cards on the table.

Frank Hsieh is surrounded by enemies front and rear. To win over centrist voters, he must reaffirm the Five Noes, even if he calls them by some other name. He must champion cross-straits reconciliation and cross-straits exchanges. To mollify Deep Green Taiwan independence hardliners meanwhile, he must consider the feelings of Chen Shui-bian. Chen Shui-bian has been gravely wounded. But he still has the ability to spin Frank Hsieh's campaign platform as "treasonous" to Deep Green Taiwan independence hardliners. Chen Shui-bian no longer has the power to do whatever he wants. But he still has the power to prevent Hsieh from doing what Hsieh wants.

Chen Shui-bian is one of the people who least wants Frank Hsieh to be elected. Chen Shui-bian was humiliated by his defeat in the legislative elections. If Frank Hsieh emerges victorious in the presidential election, how will that make Chen Shui-bian feel? If Hsieh's constitutional amendment path emerges victorious, It will demonstrate that Chen Shui-bian's path was a mistake. How is Chen Shui-bian going to deal with that?

Chen Shui-bian finds himself in the situation of a cornered animal. The Legislative Yuan elections have handed him the Deep Green Taiwan independence vote. The election defeat has forced him to resign as party chairman. But it has also given him a convenient pretext to withdraw from the front lines of the presidential election campaign. He can now devote his time to acquiring a golden parachute upon retirement from political life. Chen Shui-bian's strategy is obvious. Wait for the Democratic Progressive Party's presidential bid to fail. Make a come-back on the ruins of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Frank Hsieh's dilemma is that if he fails to draw a bright line between himself and Chen Shui-bian, centrist voters will ensure that he is unelectable. On the other hand, if he draws too bright a line between himself and Chen, Chen Shui-bian will ensure that he is unelectable. On the night of the legislative election, Frank Hsieh wanted Chen Shui-bian to retain chairmanship of the party, wanted Chen to take a "leave of absence" but not resign. Hsieh knew enough to "keep his friends close, but his enemies closer."

If Frank Hsieh fails to draw a bright line of distinction between himself and Chen Shui-bian, he will not be able to create a pendulum effect. If Frank Hsieh draws too bright a line of distinction between himself and Chen Shui-bian, he is likely to lose even his core support. For the DPP at least, the ROC Presidential Election has turned into a DPP Civil War. It is unlikely Frank Hsieh can win the election. Chen Shui-bian does not want to Hsieh to win. Therefore as we have been reminding everyone, the DPP might as well treat the ROC Presidential Election as a Struggle over the Party's Future. The DPP's presidential prospects are slim. But through the presidential election it may find a new political direction, it may find a new political leader. Even if the election is a debacle, it may find a way to rise from the ashes.

Chen Shui-bian hopes to keep the DPP hostage even after the presidential election. But reformist elements within the party are unlikely to tolerate Chen's return. The word is Chen Shui-bian will turn the ROC Presidential Election into a DPP Civil War during the next 60 days. Hsieh may not be able to win the ROC Presidential Election. But he cannot afford to lose the DPP Civil War.

Hsieh said that if he loses the election he will retire from the political arena. But that was nothing more than an election promise. The political rivalry between Frank Hsieh and Chen Shui-bian has degenerated to where Chen Shui-bian is deliberately undermining Frank Hsieh's campaign. If Frank Hsieh loses due to no fault of his own, this ought not end Hsieh's political life. He cannot sit idly by as the DPP falls into Chen Shui-bian's hands. If Chen Shui-bian destroys the Democratic Progressive Party the way Lee Teng-hui destroyed the KMT, doesn't Frank Hsieh want to be there to rebuild the DPP, the way Lien Chan rebuilt the KMT?

The Chen Shui-bian Path has been utterly discredited. Now as Frank Hsieh stands alone at night in the silence of his lavish campaign headquarters in Kaohsiung, he has to be asking himself a number of questions. Why did I sign on to the "Join the UN Plebiscite" knowing it was a transparent fraud? Why did I turn my election headquarters in Kaohsiung into a "spiritual bastion" for the "Join the UN Plebiscite?" Why did I allow this "Luxury Headquarters for the Join the UN Plebiscite" to become a Disneyland attraction, a political joke?

Frank Hsieh should ask himself "Am I a Chen Shui-bian clone?" He must answer himself honestly. Only then will Frank Hsieh know how to deal with the Chen/Hsieh rivalry. Only then will he know how to fight his intraparty civil war. Only then will he know how to wage his presidential campaign. Only then will he know how to face the Democratic Progressive Party. Only then will he know how to face the nation. Only then will he know how to face history. Only then will he know how to face himself.

2008.01.16 03:50 am




謝 長廷已陷腹背受敵之境。面對中間選民,他必須返回「四不」(即使不用「四不」一詞),主張兩岸和解,開放兩岸交流;但面對深綠極獨,他卻不能不顧慮陳水扁 的感受。現在的陳水扁雖已重傷,但他仍有能力將謝長廷的「競選策略」定位為深綠極獨的「叛徒」;也就是說,陳水扁仍然穩穩盤踞在「敗事有餘」的堡壘中。


現 在的陳水扁,真正處於困獸猶鬥之境;經此次立委選舉,他已將深綠極獨掌握在手;而選舉既敗,他被迫辭去黨主席,也就名正言順地退出了總統大選的「輔選第一 線」,如今正可用全副心力,為自己布置總統大選後及卸任後的政治生命情境。陳水扁的最佳策略不問可知:等待民進黨總統大選失敗,他再設法從民進黨的政治廢 墟中捲土重來。


若 不與扁大力切割,不可能營造「鐘擺效應」;但若與扁大力切割,謝長廷恐連「基本盤」都顧不住。事到如今,這場「總統大選」真正變成了一場「民進黨的內 戰」;謝長廷很難贏得大選,陳水扁又不希望謝贏。於是,正如我們一直提醒的:民進黨不妨就乾脆將這場「總統大選」,當作一場「黨內的路線內戰」來打;總統 大選的勝率渺茫,但至少應透過總統大選,重建黨的路線及黨的旗手。即使大選失敗,民進黨卻可再造重生。


謝 長廷說敗選即退出政壇,畢竟只是競選語言。謝長廷一生與陳水扁的瑜亮爭鋒,竟至總統大選也被陳水扁拆台的地步;若是非戰之罪,則這不應是謝長廷政治生命的 句點,更不能坐視民進黨在選後又落入陳水扁的魔掌。也就是說,陳水扁之毀民進黨若是像李登輝之毀國民黨;則謝長廷亦當有再使民進黨中興,學做連戰使國民黨 再生的豪情壯志。



No comments: