Punish Chen Shui-bian, Boycott the Plebiscite!
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 4, 2008
While promoting the "Join the UN Plebiscite," Chen Shui-bian said: "You may not like the Democratic Progressive Party. You may hate Chen Shui-bian. You can refuse to vote for Frank Hsieh. But you must vote for Taiwan. You must allow us to join the United Nations, as we wish!"
This is one part truth and three parts lie. Even assuming the "Join the UN Plebiscite" passes, we cannot "join the United Nations, as we wish." Many voters object to being manipulated with the "Join the UN Plebiscite." That is why they detest the Democratic Progressive Party. That is why they refuse to support Frank Hsieh. That is why they hate Chen Shui-bian.
The "Join the UN Plebiscite" is classic DPP populist demagoguery. The DPP's "package dealing" of plebiscites with elections violates both the letter and spirit of the constitution. Forcibly linking plebiscites to general elections threatens to alter voting behavior, violating the public's right to free and fair elections. It drains the public treasury and squanders the time and energy of public servants mobilized to promote such plebiscites. It violates explicit provisions within the Referendum Law. It undermines mutual trust between Taipei and Washington. It divides the nation and society, inflicting irreparable damage to both. Most people do not object to joining the UN. But in order to punish Chen Shui-bian and the DPP for their lawlessness and unconstitutional conduct, they are rejecting the "Join the UN Plebiscite."
Rejecting the "Join the UN Plebiscite" is the public's way of casting a vote of non-confidence in Chen Shui-bian and the DPP. Chen Shui-bian said "Even if you hate Chen Shui-bian, you must support the plebiscite." A majority of voters disagree. Their reasoning is: "I intend to reject the Join the UN Plebiscite because I hate Chen Shui-bian!"
The "Join the UN Plebiscite" drive is a farce. Here are the latest developments in this farce:
1. Chen Shui-bian has floated a "Neutral Third Way" and a "Defensive Plebiscite" to replace the "Join the UN Plebiscite." Even Chen Shui-bian's own confidence in his "Join the UN Plebiscite" has been shaken. How can Chen Shui-bian look people in the eye and continue asking them to support his "Join the UN Plebiscite?"
2. Chen Shui-bian denounced the KMT's "Rejoin the UN Plebiscite" as a "Surrender Plebiscite," as a "Suicide Plebiscite." He said the "Join the UN/Rejoin the UN" divide would tear society apart. But today he said that "If either the Join the UN or Rejoin the UN Plebiscites pass, Taiwan's safety will be assured." This irresponsible flip-flopping has utterly discredited the "Join the UN Plebiscite."
3. Chen Shui-bian even told Wang Jin-pyng that if the KMT could accept a "Neutral Third Way," Chen Shui-bian "might find a way to make the Join the UN/Rejoin the UN proposals go away, delinking the plebiscites from the presidential election." Chen's words merely confirm that the Central Election Commission is nothing more than Chen Shui-bian's puppet. Under these circumstances, how can the people possibly support the "Join the UN Plebiscite?"
Particularly chilling is Chen Shui-bian's public declaration: "You can refuse to vote for Frank Hsieh, but you must support the Join the UN Plebiscite." Translation: "I don't care if Frank Hsieh loses the presidential election. I just want to come out the winner after the Join the UN Plebiscite vote." As everyone knows, the "Join the UN Plebiscite" was originally the lever by which Chen Shui-bian intended to hijack the presidential election and control political developments in the aftermath. On the surface the linkage of the plebiscite with the presidential election would increase support for Hsieh. But that was mere appearance. Hsieh's election prospects are dim. Chen Shui-bian now plans to delink the plebiscite from the presidential election. He wants the plebiscite to "go away," ostensibly to save Hsieh's campaign. In fact he is merely looking after himself. He could actually blurt out something as selfish as "Hsieh may lose the election, but I must not lose the plebiscite." Such callousness deserves punishment. Voters must boycott Chen's "Join the UN Plebiscite." Chen Shui-bian exploited the differences between the "Join the UN" and "Rejoin the UN" plebiscites to stir up trouble and divide society. Yet today he says that either the "Join the UN" or "Rejoin the UN" plebiscite will protect Taiwan "for years to come." Chen Shui-bian once linked his plebiscites to the presidential election, asserting that such a linkage would consolidate support for Hsieh. Yet today he is "sacrificing Hsieh to save the plebiscite." He is saying that it's okay to lose the battle over the presidency, but not the battle over the plebiscite. Chen Shui-bian once declared that no compromise was possible on the "Join the UN Plebiscite." Yet today he is promoting a "Third Way." Suddenly he wants to promote a "Defensive Plebiscite." Then, equally suddenly, he says the "Join the UN/Rejoin the UN" plebiscite can "go away."
In short, Chen's "Join the UN Plebiscite" was a margin buy. It was yet another fraudulent Chen Shui-bian transaction. That is why a majority of voters are determined to punish Chen Shui-bian. That is why they refuse to support the "Join the UN Plebiscite." That is why they will refuse to accept plebiscite ballots.
Chen Shui-bian finds himself caught in a dilemma. On the one hand, his own faith in his "Join the UN Plebiscite" has been shaken. That is why he spoke of "making it go away." On the other hand he wants to trade an endorsement of the KMT's "Rejoin the UN Plebiscite" for pubic support. By doing so he hopes to increase the rate at which voters obtain "Join the UN Plebiscite" ballots. Chen Shui-bian's back is up against the wall.
Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party needn't bother pressuring the KMT to take a stand on the impending boycott of the plebiscites. The results of the January Legislative Elections are crystal clear. They tell us that the majority of voters already intend to boycott the plebiscites on March 22. For most people the "Join the UN Plebiscite" is a long-awaited opportunity to cast a vote of no-confidence in both Chen Shui-bian and the DPP.
2008.03.04 02:55 am