Blasting the Party Leadership:
Blue and Green Camp Political Maneuvering
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
February 14, 2014
Summary: Su Tseng-chang has been sniped at by his peers. Ma Ying-jeou has been challenged by younger party leaders. It is hard to say who is less fortunate. In any case, President Ma has abundant government and party resources. He is overly biased regarding personnel and policy matters. He has failed to use the available resources to benefit the people and to ensure the passing of the baton within the party. This is highly regrettable. Leaders within the Blue and Green camps are restlessness. If this is reduced to the level of invidual power struggles, that will be a negative development. But if this is seen as a response to the Big Picture, then those shrill voices are reminding us of hard realities that must be dealt with.
Full text below:
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin recently said, "If we lose the seven in elections, the party chairman should step down." KMT comrades roundly criticized him. They said his remark inflicted pain upon friends and gave comfort to the enemy. They called it a violation of party ethics. Chairman Ma Ying-jeou reminded local government officials to watch what they say. About remarks unconducive to unity, he said "Enough is enough." The implied threat was clear.
KMT party leaders have the "unity" and "ethics" card. This implies that Hau's remark embarrassed the party and the president, and hurt his comrades's feelings. The Ma administration's performance has been poor. The seven in one elections loom. Discouraging words from within the party are of course embarrassing. But two issues must be addressed. One. Is the Ma administration giving Blue Camp county chiefs and city mayors enough opportunities to be heard and seen? Have personnel appointments alienated them? If not, why are they sounding off to outsiders? Two. Can the KMT party leadership rein in and discourage such acts? Can it offer nothing more in response than feeble moralizing?
Of the two issues, the former pertains to causes. The latter pertains to effects. The KMT elites and local princes are blasting the party leadership. This began last year, and has since recurred. It shows that comrades are dissatisfied with the party leadership's policy. It shows that certain people are uneasy about the mechanism for power transfer. Divisions have arisen over local and central level personnel appointments. Members are anxious about power tradeoffs. They are angry about being dragged down by the poor performance of the cabinet. Ma Ying-jeou apparently does not understand these feelings and refuses to respond. He is both president and chairman. But his carrots have not mollified them, and his sticks have not silenced them. His cavalier attitude has contributed to the spread of these sentiments.
Take Hau Lung-bin for example. Hau is ruling party mayor of the capital city. He has spoken out on several major policy matters. He has often sung a different tune than the Ma administration. He has even flatly contradicted it. For example, on the issue of Chen Shui-bian's health, Hau favors granting Chen "medical parole." On the issue of the nuclear plant referendum, Hau maintains an anti-nuclear stance. On the issue of influence peddling, Hau advocates doing away with the Special Investigation Unit, in order to mollify the public. On the issue of personnel reshuffling, Hau wants President Ma to let Chiang Yi-hua form his own cabinet. Hau is determined to demonstrate his independence and personal style. That is his prerogative. Ma has never tried to communicate with him. Therefore Hau's increasingly harsh words and his call for Ma to resign are hardly surprising.
Hau Lung-bin is not alone. New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu intends to run for president in 2016. His recent comments about the party leadership have been equally blunt. For example, when he criticized the "Green Regime" era "Two Trillion, Twin Stars" policy, he underscored the economic downturn. He called for more vacations to reduce public discontent. He implied that "five municipalities" were too many and that "three municipalities" were just right and should be restored. His remarks carried an edge. Lien Sheng-wen intends to run for Taipei Mayor. During last September's political struggle he sided witih Wang Jin-pyng. He went so far as to refer to the "Ming Dynasty." Perhaps one should not read too much into his remarks. But they reflect the extent of Blue Camp discontent with the party leadership. They also show that their views are being ignored within the party.
The Blue Camp is not alone. DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang has been blasted by DPP leaders, perhaps even more harshly than Ma Ying-jeou. Should he continue to serve as party chairman? The Hsieh and Tsai camps have given him plenty of grief. Su has procrastinated about running for Taipei mayor. He finds himself caught between Wen-Je Ko, Wellington Ku, and Annette Lu. He has been accused of "defeatism." On cross-strait policy he has been too conservative. He has been accused of wavering and self- contradiction. Consider the matter of leadership ability. Lin Yi-hsiung is reportedly organizing a new political group. Younger leaders are ridiculing him, saying he is not the man he once was.
As one can see, after two changes in ruling parties, both the Blue and Green camps have undergone subtle changes in their make up and culture. A chairman with feet of clay can no longer wield supreme authority. The party machinery can no longer carry out his will. More importantly, the current leaders lack the ability to lead reform or make political breakthroughs. They have left the public disillusioned. They have allowed the party to become disorganized. This has inspired the rebellious and the angry to direct their fire at the center whenever possible. Will those who have opened fire be injured themselves? That is another matter altogether.
Su Tseng-chang has been sniped at by his peers. Ma Ying-jeou has been challenged by younger party leaders. It is hard to say who is less fortunate. In any case, President Ma has abundant government and party resources. He is overly biased regarding personnel and policy matters. He has failed to use the available resources to benefit the people and to ensure the passing of the baton within the party. This is highly regrettable. Leaders within the Blue and Green camps are restlessness. If this is reduced to the level of invidual power struggles, that will be a negative development. But if this is seen as a response to the Big Picture, then those shrill voices are reminding us of hard realities that must be dealt with.
2014.02.14 03:47 am