DPP and Ko Wen-je: Backdoor Listing Game
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
February 20, 2014
Summary: Ko Wen-je's fast-talking routine has set a trend. It has made politics entertaining. The DPP has long prided itself as a pool of sharks. Yet the whole lot of them are no match for a dark horse such as Ko Wen-je. They have conceded him anything and everything. Is this perverse spectacle a reflection of DPP weakness, or Ko Wen-je's boundless ambition? Is it a reflection of Taipei voters' "Town without Pity" predilections? Will the DPP and Ko Wen-je's backdoor listing tactics work their magic? That will depend on the wisdom of Taipei City voters.
Full text below:
Today, the DPP begins its nomination process. Ko Wen-je says he has been "biting his tongue." He is unwilling to relent and join the DPP. Put bluntly, this is a game of mutual "backdoor listing." It is merely that the two parties have yet to add up their own profit and loss columns.
What do we mean by "backdoor listing?" The DPP is placing its bets on Ko Wen-je's popularity. It hopes to bring the long-besieged capital city under Green Camp control. Ko Wen-je hopes to exploit the DPP's organizational structure, financial resources, and grassroots support. He hopes to turn this near term advantage into votes, and himself into the head of the municipal government .
In other words, the DPP is betting that Ko Wen-je is electable. Ko Wen-je meanwhile, needs DPP money and manpower to carry him into City Hall. This should have been a done deal. Each side should have gotten what it wanted. Yet it has run into a major obstacle. Ko Wen-je needs DPP support, but is unwilling to carry the DPP colors. He wants to carry his own personal banner into battle. As a result, aspiring DPP candidates feel as if they are being trampled underfoot. DPP leadership feel they are being humiliated. This is why the two sides' "backdoor listing" agreement has yet to be concluded.
The DPP is eager for victory. Ko Wen-je is reluctant to forsake this opportunity. Ko Wen-je knows of course what the DPP is thinking. He has held out for over two months, refusing to give an inch. He as even boasted on many occasions that "joining the party would make me unelectable." He insisted he must retain his non-partisan status, only then will he be able to seek the critical five percent that could swing the election. His implication is that joining the DPP would not be a benefit, but rather a burden. Ko overestimates himself. He also insults the DPP. Ko Wen-je has gotten carried away. This will make cooperation between the two parties even more difficult.
Let us take a closer look. Ko Wen-je has a chance to become Mayor of Taipei. He insists that joining the DPP could limit his chances. In fact, the limitations may be his own. Ko Wen-je currently enjoys considerable popularity. A major factor is his "ordinary Joe" political discourse, his atypical manner of speech, with its "enfant terrible" flavor. These make him appear fresher than the usual Blue or Green candidates. But this sort of freshness will inevitably grow stale as the campaign wears on. Voters will begin to plumb the depths of this candidate's character. When election day rolls around, will this political freshman still be fresh? That is the 64,000 dollar question.
For example, yesterday he joked about Shao Hsiao-ling's illness. He revealed a highly questionable sense of "humor." Ko is a surgeon whose self-proclaimed mission is to save lives. Yet here he was casually making jokes about a patient's condition. In fact, he violated medical ethics. Ko Wen-je actually used the words "brains were scrambled" to describe a dying patient. Where was the good doctor's compassion? Ko said "Jason Hu laughed loudly." Perhaps he cannot understand the joy a husband felt when his wife was snatched from the jaws of death. But did he really need to use such language to mock a political opponent? Ko Wen-je revealed what went on an operating room. His only motive, apparently, what to give the audience a good laugh. Does such a person really have the wisdom, the ethics, and the compassion to be the mayor of a nation's capital? Such gaffes go way beyond the matter of good manners. What's worse, they are likely to happen again.
Ko Wen-je is essentially Deep Green in his political outlook. In recent months he has been canvassing the farm markets seeking Green camp support. This is true of this behind the scenes campaign advisers as well. Most of them are younger generation DPP and TSU leaders. Ko Wen-je is attempting to maintain an "ordinary Joe, political outsider" image. He refuses to join the DPP. He refuses to display the party colors. In fact, what he has done is don a political disguise. On the surface, he is an "ordinary Joe" without party or factional affiliation. But underneath this purported "tabula rasa," he remains a Deep Green DPP candidate. Alas, many people eat this up. They listen to his political spiel, and follow him around as they would a celebrity. But voters have yet to hear him seriously address a single public policy or municipal policy issue .
Blue vs. Green political divisions disgust the public. Ko Wen-je's fast-talking routine has set a trend. It has made politics entertaining. But one point is particularly fascinating. The DPP has long prided itself as a pool of sharks. Yet the whole lot of them are no match for a dark horse such as Ko Wen-je . They have conceded him anything and everything. They are even willing to sacrifce their party at his urging. Is this perverse spectacle a reflection of DPP weakness, or Ko Wen-je's boundless ambition? Is it a reflection of Taipei voters' "Town without Pity" predilections? Will the DPP and Ko Wen-je's backdoor listing tactics work their magic? That will depend on the wisdom of Taipei City voters.
2014.02.20 03:48 am