China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 7, 2015
Executive Summary: The 2016 presidential election may be the most depressing presidential election in Republic of China history. The election campaign has been a landslide in waiting from the very outset. Support for Tsai Ing-wen hovers at around 45%. Observers note nevertheless that she persists in “campaigning lying down". Tsai Ing-wen lacks any brilliant election strategies or inspiring policy proposals. But voters are fed up with the KMT. They have apparently made their minds up to let the KMT lose this one.
Full Text Below:
The 2016 presidential election may be the most depressing presidential election in Republic of China history. The election campaign has been a landslide in waiting from the very outset. Support for Tsai Ing-wen hovers at around 45%. Observers note nevertheless that she persists in “campaigning lying down". Tsai Ing-wen lacks any brilliant election strategies or inspiring policy proposals. But voters are fed up with the KMT. They have apparently made their minds up to let the KMT lose this one.
Over the past four years, Taiwan has been battered continually by political storms. Most voters are unhappy with the KMT. But if you ask them “Suppose Tsai Ing-wen comes to power? Will the DPP do better? Will it maintain the status quo? Cross-Strait peace? Will slamming the door shut to the outside world extricate Taiwan from its economic predicament? Will abolishing nuclear power and imposing carbon reduction leave us with sufficient electricity and prevent rate increases? Most people have grave doubts. In fact, many fear what Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP will do once they come to power. Public discontent with the KMT is overt. Public anxiety with the DPP is covert. Over discontent with the KMT has overshadowed covert anxiety about the DPP. This has resulted in a one-sided election campaign.
If this imbalance between overt discontent and covert anxiety does not change, the 2016 presidential election will result in a “one storm following another". The KMT stepping down will signal the end of one storm. But the DPP stepping up will not be the proverbial rainbow that follows the storm. It will be a second storm that brings a deluge even worse than the first.
Some are issuing urgent warnings about this coming storm. Among them are two individuals whom voters really should heed. They are veteran DPP leaders Shih Ming-teh and Shen Fu-hsiung. Shih Ming-teh has been particularly harsh in his criticism. He has warned against an imminent "Green Terror". Shen Fu-hsiung has bluntly predicted that Tsai Ing-wen will not be able to rescue Taiwan from its current plight. These men were not hurling unfounded accusations. These men are DPP elders who devoted half their lives to the party. Their dire warnings are the result of their in depth assessment of the cross-Strait Big Picture, the character of the DPP as a party, and Tsai Ing-wen's personal psychology.
Warning Sign One is something we are relatively familiar with. Tsai Ing-wen's personal psychology engenders concerns about her leadership. Shen Fu-hsiung wrote about this at length in his article, "A Prediliction for National Policy Conferences”. When Tsai Ing-wen is faced with major issues, she falls back on two “magic tricks”. The first is "Taiwan consensus". The other is "National Policy Conferences". These two magic tricks are more than adequate when one is the leader of the opposition. But when one is governing the nation, they are woefully inadequate.
Shen Fu-hsiung has often joked about the "Taiwan consensus", saying it means that "premiums cannot be raised, benefits cannot be cut, quality of service cannot be reduced, and if doctors are overworked, I don't care". He calls it a consensus rife with internal contradictions, impossible to implement. Meanwhile, “National Policy Conferences" are consensus achievement venues, good only "for informational purposes". In other words, if Tsai Ing-wen has yet to reach a decision amidst the contradictions, and remains in a fog, the national policy conferences will merely leave Taiwan in a state of wavering indecision. The Taiwan consensus amounts to being trapped in a state of directionless wheel-spinning.
Warning Sign Two. The DPP now permits only one voice. Tsai Ing-wen is apparently a shoo-in. Therefore, as Shih Ming-teh notes, "opportunistic politicians grovel at her feet, opportunistic businessmen flock to her with offers of financial support. No one with any backbone can be found anywhere near Tsai Ing-wen. No one is willing to utter a single word of dissent." This is an astute observation. The DPP was once a party in which “a hundred schools of thought contend”. The Tsai Ing-wen whirlwind has put an end to that. Its recent Party Congress adjourned after only 14 minutes. The impression it left was not one of party unity, but an entire political party intimidated into silence.
This bring us to Warning Sign Three. A tyrannical attitude and the corruption of power. Tsai Ing-wen has yet to be elected, but the symptoms have already begun to appear. As Shih Ming-teh noted, even when Chen Shui-bian was at the peak of his power, he dared not claim, "We are all Chen Camp people now." Tsai Ing-wen has not even been elected. Yet she has already begun her self-deification, calling her camp the "Ying Camp." This is something difficult to imagine in a democracy. Examples of such behavior are numerous. Consider only recent ones. Four newspapers, one news agency, and one broadcasting network scheduled three presidential debates, just as they have done since 2004. Yet Tsai Ing-wen thumbed her nose at this democratic precedent. Given these examples, can anyone say Shih's concerns about a "Green Terror" are misplaced or unfounded? This advance deification of concentrated power raises genuine concerns that the DPP will be “absolutely corrupted by absolute power". The above Warning Signs, do not even include doubts about Tsai Ing-wen's ability to deal with cross-Strait relations, to maintain prosperity in Taiwan Strait exchanges, or maintain the peaceful status quo.
In the past, whenever KMT leaders or the media doubted Tsai's ability to govern, Tsai Ing-wen would counter with the "intimidation card". Tsai Ing-wen may turn a deaf ear to to challenges from non-DPP people. But she cannot ignore the concerns of these two DPP elders.
選戰開打以來呈現一面倒情勢，雖然蔡英文支持度只在4成5左右盤 旋，仍被外界形容成「躺著選」， 不是因為蔡英文有什麼高明的選策、動人的政策， 而是多數選民對國民黨的表現不滿意， 似乎打定主意要讓國民黨徹底輸一次。
但是如果問大家，蔡英文上台、民進黨執政就會做出好成績？「 維持現狀」就可以維持兩岸和平？「把門關起來」 台灣能走出經濟困局？廢核減碳下可以不缺電又不漲電價？ 多數民眾似乎也沒有把握。事實上， 許多人對蔡英文與民進黨上台後的表現深以為憂， 對民進黨並不放心。可以說，這場沉悶的選舉民眾對國民黨不滿是「 顯性共識」，對民進黨不安則是「隱性共識」， 顯性作用遠大於隱性，於是形成了一面倒的選情情勢。
總統大選的揭曉就是「風雨後的風暴」降臨。 國民黨下台是一場風雨的結束， 民進黨上台未必是風雨後的初晴彩虹，卻很可能是另一場風雨， 甚至是暴雨的開始。
是出身民進黨的2位元老級人士施明德與沈富雄的諄諄示警。其中， 施明德的話說得最重，他憂心忡忡地警告「綠色恐怖」時代的來臨， 沈富雄則直率地預言蔡英文不能帶大家走出困境。 他們不是只做出片面斷言， 而是以其半生為民進黨縱橫拚搏的深厚經驗，從兩岸的大局、 民進黨的黨性、蔡英文的個性，如庖丁解牛般深入地剖析， 歸納出若干警訊：
讓人對其領導能力的憂心。這一點，在沈富雄所寫的〈 愛開國是會議〉中，有深入的分析， 蔡英文面對重大議題只有兩樣法寶：一是「台灣共識」，另一為「 國是會議」。但這二個法寶當反對黨領袖是綽綽有餘， 但要拿來治國卻是遠遠不足。
「保費不可升、給付項目不可減、服務品質不能降、 醫生過勞我不在乎」，也就是相矛盾、難執行的共識；而「 國是會議」是一個共識決場域，最後也只能「僅供參考」。換言之， 如果蔡英文沒有在矛盾中決斷、在迷霧中指向的領導魄力， 國是會議只會讓台灣陷入議而不決，而所謂的台灣共識， 也將變成沒有方向的原地踏步。
由於選舉形勢一面倒地對蔡英文有利，因此，正如施明德說的，「 投機政客拜倒石榴裙下，投資政治的商人蜂擁而至。 蔡英文身邊已找不到一根脊椎骨，也看不到一粒白血球。」 這點施明德的觀察極有見地，蔡英文旋風所到之處， 民進黨過去那種百家爭鳴的景況不再，14分鐘就結束的全代會， 給人看到的不是上下團結的振奮，而是全黨噤聲的戰慄。
而這一點，讓人遺憾的是，蔡英文還沒當選，症狀就開始出現。 其反映在心態上，就是施明德批評的， 連陳水扁在全盛時期都不敢說「我們都是扁派」，蔡英文還沒當選， 卻已開始以一種神格化自我圖騰自稱「英派」，這在民主國家， 是很難想像的事。而反映在行為上，更是多不勝數，遠的不說， 最近的例子，就是悍然推翻由四報一社一台從2004年開始舉辦三 屆的總統大選辯論， 蔡英文竟已不在乎擔負打破民主傳統的歷史罵名。凡此種種， 能把施明德的「綠色恐怖」說是鰓鰓過慮？是杞人憂天嗎？ 類此提前神格化的權力集中，實讓人不能不憂心民進黨執政， 將進入「絕對權力、絕對腐化」的惡性循環。以上警訊， 還不包括許多人對蔡英文究竟有沒有處理兩岸關係的能力， 能否維持台海繁榮交流、和平現狀的能力存疑。
蔡英文就會以「恐嚇牌」反擊。 蔡英文可以不聽非民進黨人士對她的質疑， 但她不能不聽聽這兩位民進黨前輩的戚戚憂心。