KMT Fear of Fighting Merely Encourages Vicious DPP Political Struggles
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 15, 2014
Summary: The KMT is retreating, from one city after another, from one region
after another. The DPP has the Kuomintang's number. It knows the KMT is
terrified of striking back. But KMT cowardice merely encourages the DPP
to escalate the conflict. This is the very reason the KMT faces a
debacle in the upcoming year end elections. This chain of events can
still be reversed. But the KMT must stand up and fight. Such a fight
would not be "vicious political struggle." Such a fight would be a
righteous fight for the welfare of the people of Taiwan. It would be
show of responsibility to the public. Fighting for one's
convictions is not "vicious political struggle." Refusal to fight merely
encourages vicious political struggle.
Full Text Below:
The Kaohsiung gas explosion was a major disaster. It yet again revealed the DPP's bellicose nature. It provided the public a closer look at this combative political party. When it encounters someone strong, it becomes stronger. When it encounters someone weak, it becomes stronger still. Whether it is right or wrong on any particular issue, the DPP invariably yells "Charge!" It never makes concessions. It never fears confrontations. Even if it knows that both sides will suffer, it still charges ahead. If one should choose to yield, it will be insatiable. Give it an inch, and it will take a mile. Even when one is backed into a corner, or out on a limb, it will continue to advance.
Is cruelty the DPP's defining trait? Unfortunately it is. Three hours before the Kaohsiung gas explosion, the Chen Chu administration was still dithering, and felt no sense of urgency. The moment the crisis erupted, it panicked, clueless about what to do next. Once the crisis was over, and site reconstruction was the order of the day, it revealed its utter incompetence. A box culvert and pipeline caused the explosion. The DPP repeatedly lied about who was in possession of information about the box culvert and pipeline, and who had management responsibility. Its only thought was how to shirk responsibility. Its behavior was criminal. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu has cultivated an image of herself as a "five star political leader." But the moment she was put to the test, she turned out to be a sheet of toilet paper. Pull on it and it tears.
Helpless, incompetent, and criminal. If this incident had happened in Taipei, Hau Lung-pin could step down a hundred times and it would still not be enough. Ma Ying-jeou might not even be able to serve out his full term as president.
Yet all these outrages, all happening simultaneously, have had no apparent effect on the DPP, which has turned its guns on outsiders. Party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen refused to engage in the slightest self-introspection. She covered for DPP county and municipal officials. Green camp legislators in the Legislative Yuan concentrated their fire on the central government. They assumed an air of righteous indignation. They sprayed saliva at all points of the compass. They expressed no remorse whatsoever towards Kaohsiung citizens for Chen Chu's dereliction of duty. Yet lo and behold, its political spin-control succeeded in eliminating a minister of economic affairs.
This of course is all very shocking. Here is our first question. We have in the DPP a political party that only knows how to blame others, that lacks all ability to engage in self-introspection. How can one expect such a party to govern Taiwan responsibly? How can such a party promote social harmony?
The Ma administration has endured years of scathing criticism. But at least it knows enough to engage in self-reflection, and apologize for its mistakes. It is a government that at least does not have the gall to lash out at others when it knows it is in the wrong.
Here is our second question. Is the KMT's behavior gentlemanly? Or is it merely weak? The KMT is a political party that always backs down. Does such a party make it more difficult for Taiwan to overcome adversity? Is it an unwitting accomplice? President Ma recently spoke on the gas explosion in Kaohsiung and Taiwan's economic outlook. Every point he made was right on the money. But add them all up, sign the President's name to them, and suddenly everything right becomes wrong. For example, he called for a "cessation of political struggle." The public on Taiwan abhors political struggles that threaten to bring Taiwan down. But political struggles are not going to stop merely because President Ma or the KMT say they should. Unless the DPP changes its bellicose nature, KMT concessions will merely allow the DPP to hijack bills in the legislature, leave the nation spinning its wheels, and undermine the KMT's hard won political achievements.
The KMT must open its eyes. The public has different expecations of the two political parties. What the public cannot tolerate about the DPP is its arrogance. What the public cannot tolerate about the KMT is its weakness, and how it makes promises it cannot fulfill. The public does not want to hear the KMT admonishing everyone to "cease political struggles." The public wants the the KMT to ringingly declare "No more Mister Nice Guy!" To show genuine determination and a genuine ability to defend the ruling party's ideas and policies. This is the least that can be expected of a ruling party.
This is not a call for the KMT to imitate the DPP's outrageously quarrelsome and criminal conduct. It is a call for the KMT to defend what it should defend. KMT party interests should not undermine the KMT's duties to the nation. The nation has interests. Major policy bill affect the nation's future. The KMT must consolidate its power as a party. It must devote its resources to the defense of the nation's future. On this point, the KMT should emulate the DPP. It should yell "Retreat? Hell!" and never give an inch.
Take the Kaohsiung City Government's dereliction in the gas explosion disaster. The KMT maintained a low profile. In the beginning, disaster relief had priority. The facts needed to be clarified. Caution was appropriate. But as the truth emerged, the KMT equated "ascertaining responsibility for the Kaohsiung gas explosion" with "partisan political struggle." It was afraid to assign responsibility. This is where the KMT leaves people dumbfounded. If the principal responsibilty did not belong to Kaohsiung, then unprovoked or disproportionate attacks by the KMT would rightly be condemned. But the assignment of criminal responsibility belongs to the justice system. The KMT has never fully understood its political and administrative responsibility, either as the central government or as a political party in competition with other parties. The KMT's refusal to assign responsibility does not mean that the ruling KMT is accommodating and generous. It does not mean that the KMT is setting a positive example by "ceasing political struggle." It means that the KMT has been derelict in its duty to assign responsibility where responsibility is due.
The KMT is retreating, from one city after another, from one region after another. The DPP has the Kuomintang's number. It knows the KMT is terrified of striking back. But KMT cowardice merely encourages the DPP to escalate the conflict. This is the very reason the KMT faces a debacle in the upcoming year end elections. This chain of events can still be reversed. But the KMT must stand up and fight. Such a fight would not be "vicious political struggle." Such a fight would be a righteous fight for the welfare of the people of Taiwan. It would be show of responsibility to the public.
Fighting for one's convictions is not "vicious political struggle." Refusal to fight merely encourages vicious political struggle.