The Wrath of Tsai Ing-wen
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 18, 2014
Summary: Tsai Ing-wen is angry. The DPP has made no effort to divest itself of
its anti-business image. She hopes to reverse the
DPP's "anti-business" image in order to prepare for a return to power in
2016. But whether the subject is cross-Strait mutual trust or fiscal policy,
Tsai Ing-wen is far from a "quasi-ruling party leader." How can voters
possibly trust a changeable "quasi-ruling party" only capable of
building castles in the air? They would just as soon not.
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen is angry. The DPP has made no effort to divest itself of its anti-business image. The DPP recently convened the first meeting of the new Legislative Yuan session. It issued a "Report on the Coordination of Major Issues." Tsai Ing-wen issued a sternly worded military directive. She ordered the DPP legislative caucus to establish a "10 person team to consider fiscally oriented legislative issues." She wanted to accelerate the introduction of fiscal legislation that would "enrich the nation and benefit the people." She hopes to reverse the DPP's "anti-business" image in order to prepare for a return to power in 2016.
The "Report on the Coordination of Major Issues" is an important meeting that the DPP holds once every week. Think tank staff, caucus cadres, and concerned Central Committee heads attend. The list of participants is expanded when necessary. County and municipal party leaders are invited to participate. During the conference Tsai Ing-wen declared that since we have taken the time to meet, "This should not be merely a pro forma ritual."
The "Wrath of Tsai Ing-wen" underscored DPP neglect of fiscal issues. It shocked people out of their complacency. The conference report was supposed to address high priority legislation and offensive and defensive arrangements in the new session of the Legislative Yuan. But Tsai Ing-wen arrived on scene, only to find that DPP high priority legislation did not include any major fiscal legislation, This was of course no oversight. It merely confirmed that DPP party caucus struggles habitually ignore fiscal legislation that would "enrich the nation and benefit the people."
The "Wrath of Tsai Ing-wen" sent an important message. The DPP still intends to subject the FEPZ proposal to "rigorous review." It still intends to "propose an amended version" and give it conditional support. It merely stressed the need to develop economic strategies or strategic industries. As everyone knows, many other citizens' groups before and after the Sunflower Student Movement are preparing to obstruct passage of the FEPZ. Tsai Ing-wen is leading the DPP. In order to reverse its anti-business image, she will not be waging a scorched earth campaign against the FEPZ. How will the DPP relate to these civic groups? How will the relationship affect these new political groups? Will it lead to the emergence of a new political party? These questions merit close attention.
According to media reports, Tsai Ing-wen said the DPP must present a different image to the outside world. It must not be seen merely as a civic group concerned about the underprivileged. It must be seen as a "quasi-ruling party." But given its performance, the DPP does not qualify as a "quasi-ruling party." It does not even qualify as a competent "opposition party." Take the FEPZ for example. The KMT announced the details of the bill early this year. Yet the DPP dragged its feet until August before proposing an alternative. Its alternative is "Oppose everything having anything to do with [Mainland] China." As the product of a conservative and protectionist mentality, how can it possibly win public support?
Actually, Tsai Ying-wen herself is one of the sources of the DPP's problems. Late last month, the DPP held its first "Citizen's Economic Conference." Tsai Ing-wen blasted the government. She said "Taiwan's economic vitality and industrial competitiveness are increasingly on the wane." She said "government policies are out of touch with economic reality." She said "Taiwan's economic growth model and economic decision-making model cannot keep up with the times." That is why the DPP must address several major issues, including its "choice of core values and economic development goals," its "choice of economic growth mode," and the "balanced development of globalization and cross-strait relations." Alas, after holding forth all day, Tsai Ing-wen failed to say just how the DPP would implement a new economic growth model, one that was "innovation-oriented, export and domestic demand-oriented, that links employment, wages, wage equity, and the public welfare." Even the pro-green media criticized Tsai Ing-wen, saying that she was merely building castles in the air, and lacked any real policy prescriptions. Today, after the "Wrath of Tsai Ing-wen," the responsibility to consider policy appears to have fallen onto the DPP's collective shoulders. We truly doubt that a "water spinach" party chairman and a gaggle of legislators contemptuous of fiscal issues, can ever offer up a "new model of economic development."
Tsai Ing-wen also revealed shocking ignorance about issues other than economics. Recently the right-wing, pro-Japanese World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI) convened a seminar entitled "U.S. Return to Asia and Asia-Pacific Regional Security." Tsai Ing-wen was invited to speak. The media focused her proposal that Taiwan establish a new mode of interaction with the Chinese mainland. In fact, Tsai Ing-wen did not say anything she hadn't said many times before. She presented nothing new. The Mainland publicly criticized her assertion that "Once the DPP returns to power, the Mainland will automatically adjust its policies." She failed to offer any concrete suggestions as to how Taiwan could interact with the Chinese mainland in a new way. She still could not shake off the "water spinach" (hollow stalks with nothing at the center) label.
Another issue was even more controversial. In order to underscore the DPP's advocacy of "democracy, freedom, justice, and connecting with the world," and highlight Taiwan's geo-strategic position, Tsai Ing-wen quoted Douglas MacArthur's Cold War era remark about "unsinkable aircraft carriers." As we all know, the "unsinkable aircraft carrier" remark was a product of the Cold War. The United States and Japan see Taiwan as the first island chain by which they can "contain" Mainland China. The so-called "first island chain" is part of a US-Japan effort to prevent the Mainland from accessing blue water and adopting a blue water naval strategy.
Tsai Ing-wen lauded the Japanese government's collective self-defense as "positive." She sang an old Cold War tune, and attempted to bind Taiwan to the US-Japan security system. Politically speaking, this was bothwrong and dangerous. If this is how Tsai Ing-wen thinks, how can she possibly establish mutual trust with the Mainland? How can she possibly "seek to establish a new mode of interaction and communication with the other side, in order to ensure a peaceful and stable cross-Strait relationship?"
Whether the subject is cross-Strait mutual trust or fiscal policy, Tsai Ing-wen is far from a "quasi-ruling party leader." How can voters possibly trust a changeable "quasi-ruling party" only capable of building castles in the air? They would just as soon not.