Chen Chu Should Beware of the Tail Wagging the Dog
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 22, 2012
Summary: DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng questioned Premier Sean Chen in the Legislature. He set a record by asking the same question 88 times. "Should Ah-bian be pardoned?" Gao Jyh-peng was pleased with his own performance, His colleagues in the Legislature however, considered his behavior pointless grandstanding. But let us take a closer look. Behavior such as this reflects the DPP's loss of direction in its ongoing effort to save Ah-Bian. It is a perfect case of "the tail wagging the dog."
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DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng questioned Premier Sean Chen in the Legislature. He set a record by asking the same question 88 times. "Should Ah-bian be pardoned?" Gao Jyh-peng was pleased with his own performance, His colleagues in the Legislature however, considered his behavior pointless grandstanding. But let us take a closer look. Behavior such as this reflects the DPP's loss of direction in its ongoing effort to save Ah-Bian. It is a perfect case of "the tail wagging the dog."
The "Save Ah-Bian!" movement was initiated by the Hakka Society, the Northern Society, and other "Nativist" oriented social groups. Claiming that Chen Shui-bian was suffering from coronary artery disease, joined hands with Chen faction members and circulated a petition. They demanded that the Ministry of Justice grant Ah-Bian medical leave. This demand was followed by pressure from party factions. Within the Democratic Progressive Party, demands for medical parole soon escalated, and became demands for a pardon. The very next day, Lin Chia-lung and other younger generation legislators proposed a "Save Ah-Bian!" bill according the former head of state special medical privileges. Gao Jyh-peng simultaneously staged his 88 questions stunt, demanding that Ah-Bian be pardoned.
A few days later. the DPP abandoned its battle against US beef imports. It turned all its attention to a crusade to "Save Ah-Bian!" This was an unexpected turn of events. Viewed positively, the DPP displayed party unity. They DPP has long been a party able to fight shoulder to shoulder. Viewed negatively, the DPP has lost its sense of direction. It has even lost its sense of proportion. Its army of believers may be combative, but it is also foolhardy. Otherwise, why would it channel the party's energy into saving Ah-Bian, protecting Ah-Bian?
Question: Is Chen Shui-bian really being subjected to inhumane treatment in prison? Is the Ministry of Justice really indifferent to his health? The answer is no. On what basis is the DPP claiming inhumane treatment? Question: Has Chen Shui-bian acknowledged the error of his ways? Has he engaged in genuine soul-searching? Has he coughed up the money he embezzled and squirreled away overseas? Does the majority on Taiwan feel that Ah-Bian and Ah-Chen's crimes deserve sympathy? The answer is no. Are the DPP's demands that Ah-Bian be pardoned and granted special privileges valid?
Lest we forget, the DPP was an accomplice to the Chen family's corruption. The DPP has never apologized to the people of Taiwan over the past four years. Now they assume that with the passage of time, they can use Chen Shui-bian to tighten the screws on the Ma administration. Aren't they being a little naive? Consider an even more interesting fact. Tsai Ing-wen kept Chen Shui-bian at arm's length for four years. Her actio0n was highly calculated. But at least it was not unseemly. Chen Chu has been acting chairman for under a month. Yet the entire party has suddenly swarmed toward Chen Shui-bian. Why?
The DPP's effort to "Save Ah-bian!" has been characterized as a case of the tail wagging the dog. There are three reasons for this. One. Chen Shui-bian's plight is of course a matter for DPP concern. But it is hardly the party's highest priority. Social organizations that back Ah-Bian started the movement. All the DPP had to do was cheer them from the sidelines. There was no need for the entire party to join in a feeding frenzy. Now the entire party is being led around by the nose by sundry support groups. If this is not the tail wagging the dog, what is it? If this is not the loss of a sense of proportion, what is it?
Two. The DPP's way of saving Ah-Bian was excessive. The Democratic Progressive Party is the largest opposition party on Taiwan. The ruling party would never disdain any reasonable questioning by opposition party legislators, or any reasonable demands by members of the press. But Green Camp legislators are abusing the power of the legislature to pass a law custom-tailored to Ah-Bian alone. They have even sunk to using inappropriate questioning methods to attack the ruling party. This approach, in the public's eyes, is a typical case of private abuse of public resources. It is a waste of the nation's resources and of legislative responsibilities, merely to shield a greedy kleptocrat. It is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.
Three. The movement to "Save Ah-Bian!" is now in full swing, Rumor has it the Ah-Bian faction is applying pressure behind the scenes. It is forcing other legislators to back Ah-Bian out of guilt. This shows that the DPP leadership has lost both its sense of direction and its sense of proportion. Chen Chu is merely acting chairman. Perhaps she has no intention of aggressively asserting her leadership at this point. But the result has been a lack of policy direction. The result has been chaos created by factional maneuvering. What is this, but the tail wagging the dog?
The DPP lost the general election. The DPP is lost. Therefore its legislators snipe at the Ma administration in a vain effort to rally voters. The DPP has a number of freshmen legislators able to put up a good fight. But they cannot rid themselves of combative attitudes and contrarian habits. They have been unable to offer a positive example of a loyal opposition party concerned for the larger interests of the nation. The current "Save Ah-Bian!" movement is a perfect example. The flames may burn bright. But the banner being waved is not the banner of exalted justice or the banner of the greater good, It cannot move peoples' hearts. It merely reveals the DPP's lack of impulse control. The deficits outweigh the benefits.
The DPP has put the cart before the horse, again and again. The outside world now has a clearer picture. Tsai Ing-wen's leadership style had its strengths. Chen Chu may consider herself merely an interim leader. She may relinquish the chairmanship in May. But until then she still has a responsibility to be a good leader. She must not allow the DPP to squander its energy.
2012.03.22 01:49 am