Aspirants to High Office Must Submit to Close Scrutiny
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 21, 2011
Summary: Soong has decided to run for president. Therefore he must be subject to close scrutiny. James Soong's words and deeds must be examined. Not just during his term as governor, but also during the martial law era. His controversial role in the Chung Hsing Bills case, his shuttling back and forth across the Straits, his flip-flopping between the Blue and Green camps, . his intemperate criticisms of media ethics, and lest we forget, his own character issues, are all being scrutinized closely.
Full Text Below:
People First Party Chairman James Soong now has enough signatures on his petition to qualify as an independent presidential candidate. But his poll numbers remain stuck below 10%. Hoping to boost his numbers, James Soong has held yet another television interview. Oddly enough, he is now directing his anger at the media, which has never been optimistic about his election prospects. He apparently believes his presidential bid is in the doldrums because certain elements within the media have deliberately undermined his campaign.
Politicians, especially politicians who have wielded significant political power, are often egotistical, even arrogant. Their absolute belief in themselves enables them to step over others in their endless quest for power, to sacrifice others in their ascend to the summit of power. The media, on the other hand, is perpetually outside the circle of power, It records their words and deeds, their successes and failures, with a cold eye. Politicians may forget what they said or did yesterday, Unfortunately for them, the media does not.
James Soong cannot blame the media for not being optimistic about his prospects. Polling organizations may disagree. Their sampling may be imprecise. Nevertheless from the moment polling on the upcoming general election began, Soong has ranked third behind Ma and Tsai. A distant third, at that. The People First Party is akin to the restorationist Mu Rongfu gang in Jin Yong's wuxia novels. It is akin to ignorant children. They shout "Long live Mu Rongfu. The restoration must succeed." But the media's mission is to tell the truth. Can it ignore political reality and mislead voters, merely to please politicians?
James Soong has been a player for many decades. James Soong was once a bright light. But no matter how bright one might shine, power always comes to an end. Fail to realize this, and one will will fall into the trap of wanting everything but obtaining nothing.
In 2000, the Lien-Soong ticket failed to topple Chen Shui-bian. James Soong wanted to be both Vice President and Premier. But no one would agree to shis condition, The reason was simple. The President-Elect might be willing to appoint the Vice President-Elect Premier. But years ago the Grand Justices handed down a constitutional interpretation ruling that "inappropriate." Attempts to make Lien Chan simultaneously Vice President and Premier, threw the nation into political chaos for half a year. James Soong may have laid down these unreasonable conditions. He may have done so knowing that Lien Chan and the KMT could not possibly bow to them. In which case, how do we explain 2004?
In 2004, following the Lien-Soong ticket's defeat, the Kuomintang Party (KMT) wanted to unite the KMT and the PFP. Lien Chan even promised to make James Soong Vice Chairman and Secretary-General, He agreed to turn all authority for party affairs over to James Soong. But Lien Chan lacked final authority on one issue. Soong demanded the Party Chairmanship once Lien Chan's term expired. Lien Chan could not promise this because according to the party constitution, the chairman must be directly elected by the party members, How can the former chairman appoint his successor?
The attempt to reunite the KMT and the PFP failed. James Soong had more tricks up his sleeve. In 2005, he pulled another stunt. He took part in a "Chen/Soong secret meeting." He refused to allow Lien Chan to outshine him during his visit to the Mainland. He met with Chen and had himself annointed "special envoy." But Chen Shui-bian took advantage of him for an entire year. The "Song/Chen (Yunlin) secret meeting" controversy raged for an entire year. It was even dragged into court. Only then did Soong break with Chen and become radicalized. In 2006, he called for the president's impeachment. The attempt failed. Soong then called for a vote of non-confidence. According to WikiLeaks, he simultaneously demanded that the KMT force Hau Lung-bin to back down, and seek election as Taipei mayor instead. James Soong told AIT Director Stephen M. Young that his move meant he would not run for president in 2008, nor would he serve as premier under Chen Shui-bian. Shouldn't a politician like this, who changes his political colors from Blue to Green and back at the drop of a hat, who holds secret meetings and makes backroom deals, be subjected to public scrutiny?
Power tends to blind people. People with power invariably develop blind spots. Soong's biggest blind spot is his assumption that he can ignore what he said and did. He thinks the public must play along with him. and the media must not contradict him or challenge him. But we believe that anyone aspiring to high office must be subject to close scrutiny. A responsible media must subject power seekers to the harshest scrutiny and public criticism. This is true of the Two Yings. It is equally true of James Soong. How can the media forget what James Soong said in 2006, after losing the election for Taipei mayor? He said he was "retiring from Taiwan's political scene." How can the media forget what James Soong said when he ran for president? He said he would remain in the race only if one million people signed his petition. A politician may aspire to high office. But if he refuses even to stand by his campaign promises, never mind the judgment rendered by historians. What about the judgment rendered by the media?
Those who wield power, are blinded by power. The DPP and Chen Shui-bian were able to lead James Soong around by the nose. This year the DPP and the "San Min Chi media" (SET TV, Formosa TV, and the Liberty Times) have played him for a fool once again. Has James Soong forgotten his meeting with Henan Provincial Governor Guo Gengmao in June of this year? Soong declared that "I am from Henan Province. I was born in Hunan. I am merely working on Taiwan." In the eyes of the DPP, someone who says he is "merely working on Taiwan," is either a "traitor to Taiwan" or a "reunificationist." How can it possibly co-operate with him? When someone suggested that James Soong serve as Governor of Hainan Island or Hunan Province, and renewing experience as governor, Soong was foolish enough to be flattered.
Soong has decided to run for president. Therefore he must be subject to close scrutiny. James Soong's words and deeds must be examined. Not just during his term as governor, but also during the martial law era. His controversial role in the Chung Hsing Bills case, his shuttling back and forth across the Straits, his flip-flopping between the Blue and Green camps, . his intemperate criticisms of media ethics, and lest we forget, his own character issues, are all being scrutinized closely.