Ruling and Opposition Party Selfishness and Blindness
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 26, 2014
Executive Summary: The blue and green camps use different techniques to recruit personnel. Both parties have fallen into their own ruts. Therein lies the potential for disaster. The longer the Kuomintang ruled, the shallower its talent pool became. And no matter where the Democratic Progressive Party rules, it invariably practices "rule by ideology”. This is the main reason the political climate has changed, why people have changed, and changed so rapidly. If the two parties' recruitment policies remain unchanged, what will become of Taiwan?
Full Text Below:
The recent elections have changed the political landscape. Central and local governments are reshuffling their personnel. The reshuffling in the Executive Yuan has been ridiculed as "old wine in new bottles." The premier has been replaced, but the heads of other agencies remain the same. Nothing has changed. Meanwhile, at the local level, county chiefs and city mayors took office yesterday, accompanied by their inner cabinets. Strictly speaking, these personnel appointments were based more on political coloration than on job fitness. Both the grooming and appointment of blue and green camp political appointees have been major disappointments.
First take the KMT. President Ma Ying-jeou has been in office six and a half years. He has long been criticized for recruiting exclusively from his inner circle. The officials who come and go are all drawn from the same coterie of academics or technocrats. They are rarely exceptional. By contrast, in the wake of elections, party representatives or local leaders seldom receive much attention from the party's highest levels. Even highly qualified and experienced officials such as Hau Lung-ping and Jason Hu are given the cold shoulder. Was this a consequence of the Lin Yi-shi and Lai Shu-ru scandals? If so, that is throwing the baby out with the bath water. The party suffered a major setback. The Mao cabinet can be likened to a "great wind." The same group of people was kicked upstairs, but kept in office. People wanted change. The government should have thrown open the door and created an new political climate. Yet President Ma once again fell back on his "second tier" troop replacement policy in a move to ensure stability. He apparently has yet to grok the reason for his defeat.
Such overly conservative cabinet appointments will of course make innovative government and party personnel appointments difficult. An ideal government personnel appointment plan would balance political elites with administrative elites. It would include professional elites from academia, and even working people from private companies or social groups. Such a diversified cabinet would create synergy between theory and practice. Decision-making and operations would complement each other. For one, it would prevent an administration's thinking from becoming too divorced from reality. For another, it would ensure communications with the legislature, the public, and even the political opposition. It would prevent policy proposals from being blocked on every front. Unfortunately, the Ma government's repeated cabinet reshuffles, have always fallen into the same monotonous trap, again and again.
Recent ruling and opposition party discussions about constitutional issues have revealed support for the cabinet system. This is the result of a negative reaction to a "cabinet manned by academics." Do we really want to adopt the cabinet system? If so, current ruling and opposition lawmakers have questionable ability. They are unlikely to inspire public trust. They are likely to be either derelict in their duty or busy themselves making sweetheart deals. The current cabinet consists of academics and technocrats. They are often guilty of ivory tower policy-making. They lack political sensitivity. They cannot communicate with the legislature and the public. This leads to policy proposals that are politically impracticable. With every cabinet reshuffle, political appointees from academia return to academia to teach. With every election or policy debate, cabinet members shirk and refuse to do battle. They are no help to the ruling administration whatsoever.
Take Jason Hu, for example. He was a former foreign minister and ROC representative to the US. Despite his qualifications, he was willing "go down to the countryside," and run for local office. Who knew that once he went down the countryside, he could no longer return to the ranks of central government? His talents were wasted at the local level, until he was finally forced to step down. Another example is officials sent to hostile territories to "break new ground." Most have no desire to remain and lay down roots. They are afraid that if they fail they will be abandoned. Those in power are unwilling to nurture local talent and open up channels of communication between political appointees and administrative officials. They are unwilling to it dispatch troops where they are needed. This means improvements to government efficiency will reamain impossible, and the sustainable nurturing of talent will remain empty rhetoric.
The KMT has adopted a "big wind" model. The green camp has adopted a "prizes for all" model, which has little to小 recommend it. The "prizes for all" model is nothing more than "If they have the right political colors, then prizes for all!” Take the recent green camp county and city level reshuffling for example. Logically speaking, the main consideration for local governments should be administrative ability rather than political affiliation. That would ensure a functional and capable administration. But the county and city reshufflings betray a preponderance of official appointments that merely reward political cronies. Lin Chia-lung has replaced every member of the Taichung City Government. He has "Chopped heads and started over." Therefore any talk of continuity in municipal government is utterly pointless.
Consider the officials recruited by the green camp. There is no shortage of controversial figures. For example, former Transportion Minister Lin Ling-san was implicated in the ETC scandal. He is now Deputy Mayor of Taichung City. Chou Li-liang was implicated in the foreign workers scandal. He is now Kaohsiung MRT Bureau Chief. Former Water Conservancy Director Lee Hsien-yi was forced to step down over the gas explosion disaster. He is now Taichung Deputy Secretary-General. In addition, the DPP "party worker gang" and the "Kaohsiung gang" have made major inroads in the cities and counties. Even Cheng Wen-chan is again provoking controversy by using the "Kainan gang". The only explanation is recruitment based on political coloration instead of ability and integrity. As long as one is loyal to the green camp, then it's "Prizes for all!"
The blue and green camps use different techniques to recruit personnel. Both parties have fallen into their own ruts. Therein lies the potential for disaster. The longer the Kuomintang ruled, the shallower its talent pool became. And no matter where the Democratic Progressive Party rules, it invariably practices "rule by ideology”. This is the main reason the political climate has changed, why people have changed, and changed so rapidly. If the two parties' recruitment policies remain unchanged, what will become of Taiwan?
2014.12.26 02:21 am