Can “Think a Bit” be the Basis of Governance?
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 6, 2015
Executive Summary: Election day is a long way off. If Tsai Ing-wen seeks greater support, or even retain her lead, she and the DPP must “show us the beef”. Only then can they avoid writing rubber checks and leaving broken promises. Otherwise, even if they successfully negotiate the final mile towards the presidential palace, the result will only be more conflict and stagnation.
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The KMT anticipates an internal power struggle. Tsai Ing-wen meanwhile, is sitting pretty, eagerly looking forward to winning the presidency in 2016. She is the uncontested candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party. She is also a veteran from four years ago. As such, Tsai Ing-wen should be offering voters more policy “beef” to convince them she would do a better job. But so far Tsai Ing-wen has been a major disappointment. She still merits the “kong xin cai” or "content free Tsai" epithet.
Political observers refer to Tsai Ing-wen as “content free Tsai”. Recently, they coined a term for her public policy. They facetiously refer to it as "xiang xiang liu", or “Think a bit”. Tsai Ing-wen's Thinking Taiwan Foundation has a webpage called "Thinking Taiwan", where both insiders and outsiders “think a bit” about political and social issues. Many articles comment on the status of Taiwan. But none offer comprehensive analyses, concrete programs. or effective solutions. They are mocked as "think a bit" because these discussions are full of empty rhetoric and pipe dreams with no connection to reality. They raise objections, but offer no solutions. They are of no help whatsoever to Tsai Ing-wen in the event she comes to power.
Tsai Ing-wen's political views are often the product of such "think a bit” musings. The most obvious example is the "50 Billion Kilowatt Hours Increase in Green Energy in Ten Years”, proposed in conjunction with green camp leaders. The policy sounds good, but it lacks direction and path. The DPP has long advocated environmental protection. It is a vocal advocate of a non-nuclear homeland. Singing the praises of the green ideal is easy. But people are reacting negatively to windmills. Solar power and biomass fuels are still under development. How can she possibly fulfill her promise of 50 billion kilowatt hours of green energy? Meanwhile the DPP is anti-nuclear, anti-coal, and opposed to electricity rate hikes. As everyone knows, the power shortage on Taiwan is critical. Imports of natural gas are prohibitively costly. Yet the DPP boasts of "30 billion kilowatt hours of energy-savings”? How does the DPP intend to provide 50 billion kilowatt hours of green energy? How does it intend to save 30 billion kilowatt hours of energy?
The "cross-Strait agreement oversight regulations" bill is a vivid example. The DPP obstructed the bill for nearly a year. Now that she may become president however, Tsai Ing-wen appears ready to call a truce. Now she says she will "fully support" the oversight regulations bill. The catch is that Tsai Ing-wen wants the DPP version of oversight regulations, the DPP "two states theory” version that simply will not fly. The outcome is obvious. The Legislative Yuan controversy persists in stops and starts. The bill will be shelved.
Even more classic is Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait policy. She refuses to recognize the 1992 consensus, yet claims she is "trying to maintain the status quo". But what is the status quo? She cannot or will not explain. How then can anyone believe she will "try to maintain the status quo?" What “status quo”? Consider the "Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank". Is Tsai Ing-wen firmly opposed to Taiwan's membership? Or is she merely worried that the nation will be demeaned? The answer remains murky. In fact, she is deliberately singing a different tune than the ruling party. If the Ma government gains entry into the AIIB, and Tsai Ing-wen becomes president, she will sit back and enjoy the results.
Consider the voluntary military. This was promoted by the Chen government. Now that the Ma government is experiencing problems, DPP legislators are demanding military conscription. They are blasting the voluntary military as “unplanned". Tsai Ing-wen now boasts that "If the DPP returns to power, it will reexamine the issue within ten months", and find a balance between a the voluntary military and military conscription. The implication is “Just wait until I'm in office." The same is true of the six directly administered municipalities. Tsai Ing-wen blasted the creation of the six directly administered municipalities as "politically motivated" and unplanned. As to what would constitute “planned”, she bobs and weaves, saying only that "If the DPP returns to power, it will reexamine the matter.” Everything must wait until they are in power.
During the last election, Tsai Ing-wen was lampooned as "content free Tsai", because she was all talk and no substance. Who knew that four years later, her policy prescriptions would remain at the "think a bit" level? They remain content free – a dangerous thing. As matters stand, Tsai Ing-wen is on her final mile to the presidency. But what are her qualifications? Subjectively speaking, she has ambition. But objectively speaking, she is no better qualified than she was four years ago. If anything, she flip-flops even more. Therefore in the event she attains the highest office in the land, public disillusionment could turn out to be even greater. That is indeed worrisome.
Election day is a long way off. If Tsai Ing-wen seeks greater support, or to even retain her lead, she and the DPP must “show us the beef”. Only then can they avoid writing rubber checks and leaving broken promises. Otherwise, even if they successfully negotiate the final mile towards the presidential palace, the result will only be more conflict and stagnation.
一六總統大位。做為民進黨唯一的候選者， 又是四年前曾參選的老手， 蔡英文理應拿出更多的政策牛肉說服民眾， 說自己如果執政將如何做得更好；遺憾的是， 到目前為止蔡英文的表現令人失望，她仍無法擺脫「空心蔡」之譏。
最近多了一個新的形容詞，叫做「想想流」。起因是，蔡英文的「 小英教育基金會」底下有個網站叫《想想論壇》， 由黨內外人士投稿，對不同的政治及社會現象都來「想想」一下。 然而，許多文章雖對台灣現狀有所針砭， 卻缺乏完整或宏大的分析與論述，更未提出具體有效的解答方案。 之所以被譏為「想想流」，就是認為這些論述多屬於清談或空想， 卻缺乏現實上的解決對策；只有問題，沒有答案， 無助蔡英文日後可能的執政。
最明顯的例子是，最近蔡英文聯合各綠營執政首長提出了「 十年增加五百億度綠能」的主張，政策看似洋洋灑灑，卻徒有目標， 而沒有路徑。民進黨一向支持環保，又大力主張廢核， 高唱綠能的理想當然不難明瞭；問題是， 正當各地民眾對風車的反彈很強， 太陽能發電和生質燃料幾乎還在起步， 五百億度綠能的大話要如何完成？再說，民進黨一面反核， 一面反煤，同時又反對電力調漲；殊不知， 眼看著台灣的電力供應已到了可能短缺的臨界點， 而進口天然氣極為昂貴，民進黨卻還誇口要「節電三百億度」； 請問，民進黨要如何提供五百億度綠能？又要在哪裡省下三百億度？
民進黨抵制《監督條例》已近一年，如今眼看執政有望， 蔡英文似擬放下屠刀，宣稱要「全力推動」監督條例的立法。 但玄機在於，蔡英文心中想要的監督條例，其實是民進黨「 兩國論版」的「兩岸談不成協議條例」；其結局可想而知， 立法院吵來吵去，一再卡關，最後只能束諸高閣。
盡力維持現狀」；但究竟「現狀」為何，她都無法解說清楚， 或拒絕回答，人民要如何相信她想「盡力維持」的是什麼狀態？ 再談「亞投行」問題，蔡英文究竟是堅決反對台灣加入， 或者只是憂心我國的名稱與待遇遭到矮化，至今混沌不明； 她的態度，其實只是從四面八方唱執政黨的反調罷了。不難想像， 馬政府推動台灣加入亞投行後，若適逢政黨輪替， 蔡英文也會臉不紅、氣不喘地坐享其成吧！
而今馬政府推動上遇到波折，民進黨立委馬上又跳回要「徵兵制」 的主張，批評募兵制「沒有完整規劃」。蔡英文則稱，「 假如民進黨執政，十個月內再重新檢討」， 希望找到募兵制和徵兵制的平衡點。言下之意，就是「 等我上台再說」。對六都的看法也是如此，蔡英文批評六都是「 政治考量」，缺乏完整思考；至於何謂完整思考，她亦支吾其詞， 只說「如果民進黨執政，會重新檢討」。一切都是等執政再說。
卻缺乏具體內容。不料四年過後，她的許多政策仍停留在「想想流」 ，沒有解決「空心」的問題，這是一件危險的事。原因是， 以目前的政治情勢，蔡英文距離總統大位已經不足一哩之遙； 但她的一切條件，除了主觀上渴望執政的企圖更強， 客觀上當一名稱職元首的準備，卻沒有比四年前更充分而圓熟， 甚至反覆擺盪的成分更大。也正因如此，她個人攻頂的滿足， 會不會帶來民眾期待的更大落空，確實讓人憂慮。
甚至穩住自己的領先優勢， 蔡英文和民進黨都必須在政策上有更多的著墨， 才能避免不斷開出空頭支票，留下一堆難以實現的承諾。否則， 就算成功走完「執政的最後一哩路」， 帶來的恐怕也只是更多爭議與空轉。