A Little President with a Great Mission?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 10, 2008
In the upcoming presidential election, the nation will be confronted with an unprecedented political crisis. Changes made to the Republic of China's Constitution have been disastrous, and failed to anticipate many negative consequences. As a result the presidential election will be a choice between a divisive Frank Hsieh presidency, cabinet, and legislature on the one hand; or a unifying Ma Ying-jeou presidency, cabinet, and legislature on the other. Yesterday Ma and Hsieh held a debate. They left the following record of their positions.
Frank Hsieh gives two reasons why he should be president: First, if he is elected president, he will be "Taiwan's guardian." Second, if he is elected president, he will provide "checks and balances" on the KMT's "one-party monopoly." Neither reason stands up to scrutiny.
First, in order to establish the myth that "Only I can defend Taiwan," Frank Hsieh has painted the KMT as an "alien regime." The Green Camp is conducting a word of mouth campaign against Ma Ying-jeou, accusing him of being a member of an "organization that is selling out Taiwan." But during the January 12 Legislative Elections, the voters gave the KMT over two-thirds of the seats in legislature, and the Pan Blue camp over three-quarters of the seats. The voters affirmed that the KMT is not an "alien regime" and that Ma Ying-jeou is not a member of an "organization that is selling out Taiwan." The voters rejected the DPP's self-proclaimed "Taiwanese values/Native values" rhetoric. Frank Hsieh needs to explain to us why only he can "defend Taiwan," and why Ma Ying-jeou can't. Because the Green Camp says so? Because Frank Hsieh says so?
Secondly, Hsieh said that only if he is elected president will he be able to "check and balance" a single party monopoly on power. A single party monopoly does indeed need to be checked and balanced. Opposition parties, the ruling party's disciplinary mechanisms, the structure of government, the judiciary, and the media, are all mechanisms that provide checks and balances. Frank Hsieh is attempting to square the circle. How can Hsieh, as a self-proclaimed "passive president," be a president who "checks and balances" the opposition-ruled legislature? How can he, as a "Little President," fufill this "Great Mission?" What Hsieh offers is not "checks and balances," but divided government and divisive policies. Suppose Frank Hsieh, as a "Little President," attempts to fulfill his "Great Mission," as promised in yesterday's debate? Suppose he pursues the "Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution?" Suppose, as "Passive President," he attempts to aggressively "check and balance" the opposition-ruled legislature. Suppose he maintains a Closed Door Policy, and continues the DPP's "ethnic struggles." Would he really be "checking and balancing?" Or would he be creating chaos? As one Taiwan independence elder put it: "If you, Frank Hsieh, are elected president, and fail not seek Taiwan independence, we will force you to seek Taiwan independence!" Will Hsieh "defend Taiwan" or tear Taiwan apart?
Frank Hsieh's proposed "Little President with a Great Mission" and "Passive President who Aggressively Checks and Balances [the KMT]" reveals the constitutional crisis confronting the nation. As mentioned earlier, the presidential election presents voters with a choice between a divisive Frank Hsieh presidency, cabinet, and legislature, or a unifying Ma Ying-jeou presidency, cabinet, and legislature. Frank Hsieh and the Green Camp allege that President Ma Ying-jeou, together with a KMT cabinet and a legislature that is over two-thirds KMT, would amount to an "administration/legislature leviathan." It would be an "alien regime" that would "sell out Taiwan" and not "defend Taiwan." But why should we assume that only a President Frank Hsieh, together with a KMT Cabinet and a legislature that is over two-thirds KMT, in which the government is divided, would amount to a "native regime" that would "love Taiwan" and "defend Taiwan?" Is Frank Hsieh saying that Ma Ying-jeou as president could not "defend Taiwan?" Or is he trying to hide the fact that Frank Hsieh as president may well divide Taiwan, catastrophically?
Frank Hsieh's "Little President with a Great Mission" and "Passive President who Aggressively Checks and Balances [the KMT]" trial balloon is a warning sign that the nation faces divided government and divisive policies. What do Frank Hsieh's "checks and balances" amount to, really? To a "Passive President," or an "Aggressive, Troublemaking President?" What is Frank Hsieh's "Great Mission," really? Is it to be the "Defender of Taiwan," or the "Divider of Taiwan?"
Frank Hsieh seems unable to give ROC citizens a clear answer. That answer will have to wait until March 22, election day, for the voters.
2008.03.10 02:54 am