Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today and Tomorrow: New Beginnings for the KMT and DPP

Today and Tomorrow: New Beginnings for the KMT and DPP
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 10, 2009

Today President Ma Ying-jeou's administration underwent its first general resignation and cabinet reshuffling since taking office. Tomorrow, the court will hand down its verdict in the first instance in the Chen Shui-bian corruption case. For the KMT, today is a new beginning. For the DPP, tomorrow is a new beginning.

One year and four months ago, amidst an atmosphere of "ma shang jiu hao" or "things will get better once Ma is elected," the KMT won the presidential election. But the Ma administration is now in tatters, barely able to stand. It is probably ashamed and fearful, full of mixed feelings. Water can support a boat. But water can also overturn a boat. This lesson is now deeply etched in the hearts of the Ma administration.

The public is accustomed to cabinet reshufflings. It knows cabinet reshufflings do not necessarily lead to a national rebirth. Premier Liu was eventually forced to resign not just because of the 8/8 Flood. The 8/8 Flood was the result of extreme weather conditions. Soil and water conditions were already extremely unfavorable. Floods were already occurring almost every year. The earth often subsided several meters. A frustrated public demanded a general accounting. The Ma Liu administration was in office, therefore all the blame fell on it. To be fair, for years local governments did nothing. Their responsibility for the disaster was just as great as the central government's. Therefore, when the Ma administration seeks to understand why the Liu cabinet was forced to resign, it must look beyond the 8/8 Flood. Only then can it find its way.

First, President Ma must rebuild his image. In 2008, the KMT successfully generated political momentum for a "second change in ruling parties." That support for the KMT rested primarily on Ma Ying-jeou's personal image. Now support for Ma has been shaken. The administration as a whole can no longer hold. Second, Ma must offer a vision for the nation. The Ma administration remains mired in the political quagmire created by Chen Shui-bian, as well as the social and economic catastrophe caused by the financial tsunami and 8/8 Flood. The Ma administration's efforts at healing have left the community with the impression that the administration is merely engaged in patchwork repairs, and sweeping the mess under the rug. The public has yet to hear anything inspirational, such as sweeping calls for an "Asian-Pacific platform." Third, he must create a capable administrative team. The Kuomintang government has been an underachiever, derelict in its duty. Fighting alone, President Ma can do little. Some cabinet members can't even express themselves coherently. Chiu Yi alone has more firepower than the entire KMT legislative caucus. The party and the cabinet communications systems are also inept and derelict in their duties. They are unable to cope with crises. These deficiencies have landed the Ma administration in its current pickle. If the Ma Wu team hopes to experience a rebirth, all this must change.

When the verdict is handed down in the Chen Shui-bian corruption case tomorrow, the DPP will have an opportunity to remake itself. If the DPP wants to save itself, it must do two things. First, it must cut its ties to Chen Shui-bian. Second, it must rethink its cross-Strait posture. Chen Shui-bian and the Taiwan independence movement have become a single organism. Therefore these two things are actually two sides of the same coin.

The DPP has long invoked "procedural justice" when defending Chen Shui-bian. Tomorrow however, it will find itself face to face with "substantive justice," as rendered by the criminal court. Even Chen Shui-bian himself anticipates a harsh sentence. The DPP should not be so foolish as to challenge the court's verdict. That will merely make it even more difficult for the DPP to disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian. If the DPP wishes to demonstrate its respect for justice, it must redefine its relationship with Chen Shui-bian. In the event he is found guilty in the first instance, the DPP Committee for Clean Government must revoke Chen Shui-bian's party membership. If it does so, it can claim that Chen Shui-bian and the DPP are no longer linked. Will the party leadership take advantage of this opportunity to cut its ties to Chen Shui-bian? Whether it does will determine the fate of the Democratic Progressive Party.

When the court hands down its sentence in the first instance, Chen Shui-bian might not be released. If the DPP Central Executive Committee decides to take to the streets, the DPP will find it impossible to disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian. Chen may not be released. The DPP may protest on behalf of Chen. If Chen is released, he will run amok and hijack the DPP. The DPP will find itself the permanent hostage of Chen Shui-bian and the Taiwan independence movement.

A new cross-Strait policy is the key to the Democratic Progressive Party's survival. Chen Chu put on a phony show of goodwill toward Beijing for the sake of the World Games. Then in a deliberate act of provocation, she invited the Dalai Lama to Taiwan. She even showed a Rebiya Kadeer documentary film. Such moves may make her popular with fundamentalist supporters. But they have already inflicted major damage on the DPP's cross-Strait policy. Chen Shui-bian's cross-Strait policy games led to his collapse. Chen Chu's cross-Strait policy games are compounding Chen's blunder. Does this have something to do with the DPP's genetic makeup? Is the DPP doomed to repeat these blunders?

Today and tomorrow are rare opportunities for the public to reflect on the state of the nation. When President Ma visited disaster areas, housewives denounced him and demanded that he step down. Chen Shui-bian's corruption has already resulted in three years of social turmoil. But many still scream, "Support Chen, Save Taiwan." What has become of fairness? What has become of justice? On today's Taiwan, right and wrong are determined by TV pundits, or by news editors who decide which sound bites to broadcast. In what direction should a ruling administration leader lead such a society? How about the political opposition?

Today and tomorrow, please grant Taiwan a new beginning. God Bless the Republic of China. God Bless the public on Taiwan!

2009.09.10 04:26 am









今天與明天,也是國人對國家全局進行省思的難得時會。這個社會已經變成馬總統走過災區,被苦於清淤的主婦大聲斥責「This man下台」的社會;這個社會也已經變成扁案喧騰三年,但迄今仍有不少人大聲主張「挺扁救台」的社會。何謂公平?何謂正義?今天台灣的是非黑白已完全操縱在電視名嘴的手中,或決定在電視新聞任意剪接的幾句sound bite之上。這樣的社會能否為執政者找到正確的方向?能否為反對黨找到正確的方向?


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