Green Camp Celebrates Victory with Confrontation
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 10, 2014
Executive Summary: The DPP is apparently on the verge of returning to power. But if the party princes blindly celebrate their victory by engaging in confrontation instead of winning people over through wise governance, they are being foolish indeed. In Tsai Ing-wen’s victory speech she said, "The people have given us their support. But it can be withdrawn at any time." She knows the final mile is the hardest. But are these county chiefs and city mayors too drunk with hubris to care?
Full Text Below:
The Democratic Progressive Party took 13 counties and municipalities during the recent elections. Wen-Je Ko won by a landslide in the capital city of Taipei. The green camp significantly expanded its territory. It won because the ruling KMT lost the peoples’ hearts and minds. DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen however has not been carried away by the victory. She said the DPP “must remain vigilant, as if walking on thin ice." She said the DPP must see the KMT’s loss as a warning. Yet lo and behold, little more than a week after the elections, victorious DPP county chiefs and city mayors were talking and acting in just the opposite manner.
It is not wrong to say that the KMT lost this election. But is it right for the DPP to boast that it won this election? No, it is not. The reason is simple. The Kuomintang suffered a crushing defeat. The main reason was that the public was disappointed with the central government’s performance. Many people simply could not bring themselves to cast their ballots for the KMT. Under these circumstances, for the DPP to boast that they did something miraculous to win peoples’ hearts and minds, can only provoke ridicule.
This was why Tsai Ing-wen pledged to remain prudent and low-key about the DPP’s victory. Hers was the right attitude. She knew it was merely a one-time expression of dissatisfaction with the ruling KMT. It was not a heartfelt affirmation of the Democratic Progressive Party. Lest we forget, one of the main reasons Ma government policies could not be implemented was DPP obstructionism. Voters did not take the DPP to task on this during the recent election. But that does not mean they will not take them to task during the next election.
Pundits are scrutinizing the shortcomings of the Ma government. Many in the DPP cannot suppress their Schadenfreude. They constantly reveal their arrogance, even an overweening haughtiness. The most obvious examples are the DPP’s newly-elected county chiefs and city mayors. Upon emerging victorious, they did not inform voters how they intend to restart the economy. Instead, the very first thing they did was launch an attack on the central government. They threatened to push for a "fiscal revenue allocation law" and an "administrative regions law" demanding money and usurping authority from the central government.
From a political perspective, this is entirely consistent with the DPP strategy of "using local governments to besiege the central government." But from an economic perspective, this is merely more evidence of local DPP government "ineptitude at wealth creation and aptitude at wealth redistribution.” Some DPP ruled counties have become accustomed to the long term abuse of welfare to buy voter support. But repeatedly rejecting necessary construction and development has led to financial embarrassments, accumulated debts, and increased unemployment. Under these circumstances, cities and counties must explore economic alternatives. If they habitually extort money from the central government when it is in trouble, can Taiwan's economy withstand such plundering of a weak central government by strong local governments?
Another result of the DPP victory has been calls to "Free Chen Shui-bian!" Is Chen's physical condition reason for medical parole? That is a question that ought to be decided by medical experts. But DPP county chiefs and city mayors have deliberately politicized the Chen corruption case. They explicitly or implicitly claim that the Chen corruption case was the result of "unjust verdicts" and a "miscarriage of justice." They are attempting to use political means to override the criminal justice system, and mislead the public about the facts of the case.
The green camp has begun a siege of the central government. The pan green “bai li hou” has adopted a confrontational posture. It is attempting to overthrow existing construction plans. The clearest example is Ilan County Chief Lin Tsung-hsien. He and Wen-Je Ko are demanding that the “Taipei-Ilan Direct Railway Line” plan be discarded, and the "shortest route" be adopted. In order to save eight to nine minutes of time, they are willing to jeopardize the safety and natural beauty of the Jade Reservoir. Wen-Je Ko considers himself smarter than other people. Whenever he challenges existing policies, he adopts an air of unassailable righteousness. But these routes were subjected to careful planning. Environmentalists, geologists, and ecologists have debated the options repeatedly. Why does a surgeon think he knows more than these experts?
Ko’s "Ilan direct railway route" is hardly an isolated case. The same drama is playing out in Taoyuan and Keelung. Taoyuan City Mayor Elect Cheng Wen-chan is demanding the overthrow of the already finalized "Nan Tao elevated railway plan" and demanding that it be built underground. He is even blackmailing Taoyuan by threatening to stop payment of 10 billion NTD. In Keelung, Lin You-chang is demanding that the Taipei MRT Bannan Line be extended to Keelung. He wants to overturn the Executive Yuan’s original decision to extend the Xizhi Minsheng Line. How these two construction projects should proceed may be a matter of opinion. But the plans are subject to real world constraints, and most of all, by limited funds. If every project on Taiwan must be built to the highest standards and biggest budgets, where will the money come from? Won’t these plans sacrifice the interests of other communities?
Even more incredibly, Tu Hsing-che insists on changing the name of "Chueiyang Road" in Chiayi City to “Chen Cheng-po Avenue." Why? Because he considers the name “chuei yang” to be "prejudicial to masculine honor." Chuei Yang means “hanging poplar.” But Tu Hsing-che thinks it can be read as “non-erect phallus.” When Tu Hsing-che raised this issue before the election, his poll numbers plummeted. After the election everyone assumed the matter would be laid to rest. But Tu insists that the issue be the subject of a public referendum. Is changing the name of old streets really the highest priority?
The DPP is apparently on the verge of returning to power. But if the party princes blindly celebrate their victory by engaging in confrontation instead of winning people over through wise governance, they are being foolish indeed. In Tsai Ing-wen’s victory speech she said, "The people have given us their support. But it can be withdrawn at any time." She knows the final mile is the hardest. But are these county chiefs and city mayors too drunk with hubris to care?
2014.12.10 01:54 am