Politics is the Art of Compromise
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 28, 2014
Summary: The nine in one election is drawing closer. Voter support for the KMT
remains low. The economic situation is gradually improving. The stock
market has reached record highs. Unemployment has fallen. Consumer
demand is increasing. The Legislative Yuan convened an extraordinary
session today. Can the KMT respond to public opinion and accomplish
something with a bill? That will be the key to reversing its fortunes in
the year end election.
Full Text Below:
The nine in one election is drawing closer. Voter support for the KMT remains low. The economic situation is gradually improving. The stock market has reached record highs. Unemployment has fallen. Consumer demand is increasing. The Legislative Yuan convened an extraordinary session today. Can the KMT respond to public opinion and accomplish something with a bill? That will be the key to reversing its fortunes in the year end election.
Supporters of the KMT have long felt discontent. They voted for the KMT. They gave it a supermajority in the legislature. But to what end? The DPP invariably obstructs important bills. The KMT inevitably sits on its hands and feigns helplessness. With such a party enjoying a majority means nothing. KMT legislative impotence has demoralized the blue camp. It is the reason for pervasive blue camp defeatism.
Consider the first extraordinary session in mid-June. The DPP used a technical boycott to block blue camp job appointments. They prevented KMT legislators from obtaining ballots and marking them. They left behind a execrable constitutional precedent for legislative approval of personnel appointments. The decisive factor was not "powerful" DPP legislators. It was that some blue camp legislators had their own agenda. They constantly complained to higher ups. They hoped to force the KMT Central Committee to vote to scrub several presidential nominees for the Control Yuan.
This was reminiscent of a old Minnan dialect expression, "An eel with his head in the sand has no idea where to run to." Voter support for the KMT in the year end election has plummeted. Yet some eels still have their heads in the sand. They still hope to squeak by. The KMT is running on fumes. Yet these KMT legislators are hacking away at the KMT's roots, apparently having forgotten that they are the fruit of the Kuomintang tree.
Where one falls is where one must get up. KMT capital was eroded through defeat after defeat in the legislature. Therefore any reversal of its fortunes must be effected in the Legislative Yuan. The problem is that the majority Kuomintang lacks the ability to reconcile internal differences and summon the will to do battle. Can it push through three bills during the extraordinary session: the Control Yuan Personnel Approval Bill, the Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Bill, and the FEPZ Bill?
The KMT must reverse its fortunes via a strategic victory in the extraordinary session. It must "mobilize four corners" and "defend two things." To mobilize four corners means that the presidential office, the executive yuan, the party, and legislative session participants must be mobilized. They must coordinate their fight. The president must be resolute. He must be assertive and follow through. The Executive Yuan's arguments must be sound. They must communicate its intent. Kuomintang legislators must coordinate their fight. They must respond more swiftly to the DPP. One of the keys is legislative execution. Does the KMT have the will to fight to the bitter end? The extraordinary session is its last chance to fight back.
Assuming the mobilization of four corners can be implemented, the KMT must then defend two things. It must demand that the extraordinary session yield results. The first thing it must defend is Taiwan's economic competitiveness. Control Yuan personnel appointments involve the constitutional right of legislative approval. These must be passed. Two other cases include the Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Bill and FEPZ bills. These are the lifeblood of Taiwan's future economic development. These are not about partisan electoral advantage. They affect the nation's ability to reverse its fortunes and regain its international competitiveness.
In particular, the ROC-ROK free trade agreement will be signed by year's end. Premier Jiang Yi-hua's warning that "We will be marginalized within the next 10 years" was not alarmism. If we continue our disastrous economic policies and allow the legislature to consume Taiwan's economic vitality through endless obstructionism, then "Taiwan's economic collapse" will no longer be a prediction, it will be a bitter consequence the people must endure. Therefore the second extraordinary session must show results. KMT legislators must realize that this not about partisan interests, but is part of a battle for the future of Taiwan.
The second thing they must defend, is the principles of democracy and majority rule in the legislature. Recently the KMT issued a press release strongly condemning the minority DPP for forcibly occupying the legislature 89 times over the past six years. But this number also has a negative meaning. It means that the majority Kuomintang was impotent to uphold democratic rule in the legislature 89 times.
We are not encouraging blue camp legislators to shed blood or to respond to violence with violence. Blue camp legislators must help each other. They must work together to maintain dignity and order in the legislature. As Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng indicated, blue camp legislators ought to be able to succeed. We urge President Ma and Speaker Wang to assume responsibility. The Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Bill and FEPZ Bill are are important bills. Legislators should discuss them rationally. But if time is too short, they should be turned over to the next session for priority treatment. President Ma and Speaker Wang Ma must engage in give and take. They must allow the extraordinary session to accomplish something.
The DPP blindly persists in scorched earth protests. It refuses to engage in rational discussion. It refuses to accept majority rule. It persists in physical violence, occupying the podium, and obstructing legislative business. By bringing the legislature to a standstill, it makes bills and policies impossible to pass. It hopes that the nation will eventually sink into oblivion, collapse the nation's economy, and thereby bring down the Kuomintang. How can anyone who loves Taiwan do this?
Politics is the art of compromise, Let the legislators participating in this extraordinary session practice this art.