A Little President, A Great Divide
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 12, 2008
Frank Hsieh has declared that he has a "Great Mission" to fulfill. He has also promised that if elected he will be a "Little President" or a "Passive President." Will he really?
The KMT has won over two-thirds of the seats in the Legislative Yuan. The Blue camp has won over three-quarters of the seats. This presents Frank Hsieh's presidential campaign with a dilemma. On the one hand, he must maintain a low profile, insisting that he would "relinquish executive power" and be a "Passive President." Otherwise, voters will be afraid that he will make trouble and not vote for him. On the other hand, he must maintain a high profile, stressing the "checks and balances" he would provide as a "Defender of Taiwan," as a man with a "Great Mission." He must underscore his irreconcilable differences with Ma Ying-jeou on major political issues. He must rattle the cages to win voter support.
A "Passive President" and "Aggressive Checks and Balances" are mutually contradictory, as are a "Little President" and a "Grand Mission." No matter how you look at it, if Frank Hsieh is elected he will not be either a "Little President" or a "Passive President." He will not allow the KMT to form a cabinet. He, like Chen Shui-bian before him, will insist on forming a DPP-led "minority government."
First. If Hsieh is elected, and the voter turnout is over 50%, the result will be spun as a "New Mandate." The DPP will argue that "checks and balances" are the supreme value. The DPP will argue that the public wants President Hsieh to "check and balance" the KMT's "Old Mandate" and destroy the KMT's "One Party Monopoly." Second. If Hsieh is elected, the DPP will assert that the public expects the DPP to "Defend Taiwan" and to "Rectify Names and Author a New Constitution." If President Hsieh does not wield executive power, how will he fulfill his "Grand Mission?" Third. If President Hsieh permits the KMT to form a Cabinet, that amounts to turning over the nation's political resources, including official positions and control of the state coffers, over to the KMT. How can the DPP, which demands its share of the booty, possibly tolerate or consent to this? Fourth. The Constitution stipulates that the president has the power to appoint the premier, without the consent of the legislature. If a President Hsieh were to insist that the Green Camp form a minority government, he would merely be complying with the constition. Fifth. Most important of all, Frank Hsieh is adept at political intrigue. He is highly combative. He is simply not the passive type. If over 50 per cent of the "New Mandate" makes him president, he simply will not allow the KMT to control the executive branch of government.
Frank Hsieh may promise to "relinquish executive power" and be a "Passive President" now. But once elected, he simply would not allow the KMT to form a cabinet. He simply would not be content to remain a "Little President." What Hsieh has in mind is a: Hsieh presidency + Pan Green cabinet + minority government + Kuomintang majority in the legislature + Pan Green supporters exerting political pressure by demonstrating in the streets.
The most likely political scenario at the moment is: Frank Hsieh's minority government will form a tag team with Pan Green demonstrators in the streets. Together they will conduct coordinated pincers attacks against the KMT and the Pan Blue majority legislature. They will attempt to coerce or induce a KMT/Pan Blue camp collapse. If President Hsieh permits the KMT to form a cabinet, how can he possibly "deconstruct" it?
After Frank Hsieh declared that he would be a "Passive President," he escalated his confrontation with the Blue camp. He adopted positions diametrically opposed to the Blue camp on virtually every issue. He floated a new slogan: "A Little President cannot shoulder Great Responsibilities." The prospect of Hsieh allowing the KMT to form a cabinet immediately took a major hit. After all, if Hsieh hands executive power over to the KMT, how can President Hsieh obstruct the KMT's "Twelve Pro-Taiwan Construction Projects?" How can he promote his "Prompt Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution?"
If Frank Hsieh is elected president, it won't matter whether he allows the KMT to form a cabinet. His election will inevitably lead to a "Great Schism" within the nation and society. If the KMT is allowed to form a cabinet, the result would be divided government with a Frank Hsieh presidency, a KMT Cabinet, and a KMT legislature. If the KMT is not allowed to form a cabinet, the result would be divided government with a Frank Hsieh presidency, minority government, and a KMT legislature. Hsieh's personal character and the DPP's party character mean there is no chance the Kuomintang will be allowed to form a cabinet. When the time comes, the DPP will do everything possible to destroy the three-fourths majority that the Blue camp enjoys within the legislature. It will stop at nothing to rip society apart. Taiwan will be relegated to political hell.
Frank Hsieh will not be content to remain a "Passive President." The DPP will not allow him to remain a "Little President." If Hsieh is elected, Taiwan will suffer the inevitable consequences.
A Little President? No chance. A Great Divide? Count on it.
2008.03.12 03:32 am