An Unexpectedly Hopeful Nominees List
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 17, 2011
Summary: Yesterday the KMT made public its list of nominees for legislators without portfolio, four and a half months later than the DPP. Even Tsai Ing-wen gave the list of nominees her tentative seal of approval. The nominees were young, uncorrupt champions of underprivileged social groups. These outspoken intellectuals were moved to the head of the line. This list of nominees for legislators without portfolio had nothing to do with political patronage. In one fell swoop, it rehabilitated the KMT's old image. It demonstrated the KMT's resolved to reinvent itself.
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Yesterday the KMT made public its list of nominees for legislators without portfolio, four and a half months later than the DPP. Even Tsai Ing-wen gave the list of nominees her tentative seal of approval. The nominees were young, uncorrupt champions of underprivileged social groups. These outspoken intellectuals were moved to the head of the line. This list of nominees for legislators without portfolio had nothing to do with political patronage. In one fell swoop, it rehabilitated the KMT's old image. It demonstrated the KMT's resolved to reinvent itself.
The upcoming legislative elections are receiving less attention than normal because they are taking place at the same time as the presidential election. But the race is a close one. Therefore the KMT came up with this list of nominess. It should increase voter excitement during the election campaign. Blue Camp elected representatives have a long habit of "looking out for their own." To convince them to yield seats to professionals without ties to the party required considerable arm-twisting by the KMT central leadership. No matter. The DPP nominee list for legislators without portfolio is of dubious quality. It smacks of party factions divvying up the spoils, By contrast, the KMT nominee list for legislators without portfolio is a moral declaration. It outshines the DPP nominee list in many ways, not limited to future-looking policies.
Yaung Chih-liang fired the opening shot by revealing the list of nominees. The public now has very different expectations from the list of KMT nominees for legislator without portfolio. Yuang Chih-liang had no intention of becoming a legislator. But he was unhappy seeing "the lesser of two evils" nominated. Therefore he decided to stay at the head of the line, and keep his hat in the ring. Yaung Chih-liang's outspoken style endeared the KMT to the public. It attracted badly needed attention. Chao Li-yun tearfully withdrew her candidacy in response to the "farmhouse" controversy. Her willingness to sacrifice herself for the larger cause deeply impressed the public. Contrast this with Su Jia-chyuan's weasely stonewalling and Ker Chien-ming's pretense that nothing was amiss.
Even more importantly, the KMT's list of nominees for legislator without portfolio includes new faces from many backgrounds. This wide spectrum of nominees offers new hope. It is not just a bunch of fresh faces intended for politcial show. The first ten nominees include newcomers with professional qualifications. They include leaders of social movements, champions of the underprivileged, financial leaders, labor leaders, and others, This is unprecedented for either the Blue or Green camp. Nominees include Chief Executive Officer of the Child Welfare League Wang Yumin, financial expert Tseng Cheng-wei, and Chief Executive Officer of the Association for the Rights of Disadvantaged Patients Yang Yu-hsin. None of these nominees lead organizations with large memberships. None of them command powerful voting blocs. Yet they have been moved to the front of the line, to second, third, and fourth place. This arrangement is likely to impress the general public, especially voters, precisely because electoral considerations have been set aside.
On the other hand, consider the DPP. Not only did it not recruit from outside the party, its list of nominees all came from pressure groups in bed with DPP party factions. So-called "labor representative" Tseng Shu-hua is suspected of paying bribe money to Luo Wen-jia. That is why a controversy erupted and Tseng withdrew her candidacy despite being nominated. These people are nominally professionals. But they cannot be regarded as independent, objective, or impartial. The DPP nominees for legislator without portfolio have invited ridicule. They are examples of party factions divvying up the spoils. Wang Hsing-nan mocked the number two nominee on the list, Ker Chien-ming, as "an abscess." Even their own comrades consider these candidates "abscesses." How can they win over outsiders? By contrast, John Chiang was defeated in the KMT primaries. Chu Feng-chih and others knew enough to withdraw on their own, They were willing to do the right thing.
Compare the Blue and Green camp nominee lists, They show the difference between Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen. The DPP nominee list was drawn up single-handedly by Tsai Ing-wen, Superficially it represents the passing of the torch to a younger generation of leaders. Substantively, the cynical compromises and quid pro quo deals was clear to see. The nomination of "Tsai Ing-wen minions" was clear to see. Tsai Ing-wen's appealing image is largely the result of voter ignorance and wishful thinking. One glance at her nominee list for legislators without portfolio proves that she is merely another cynical practitioner of realpolitik without any trace of idealism. Compare Tsai Ing-wen's ostensible "best list" against the Blue camp nominee list. How can the DPP not feel ashamed? Ma Ying-jeou is often ridiculed as an unimaginative stuffed shirt. Yet he used his leverage to respond to society's expectations. His nominees list took everyone by surprise.
The KMT nominees list is imperfect. In fact, newcomers familiar with legislative affairs are few and far betweeen. Their lack of experience may soon be evident. Unrealistic expectations could lead to disappointments. But compare it to past nominee lists, even the DPP's lists. The KMT nominees list is refreshing and innovative. It is the least cynical, most idealistic list of nominees ever drawn up, Blue or Green, since legislators without portfolio were instituted. It is a major inspiration, one that offers hope for the future of the country.
It has elevated the election to a higher level. Such a nominees list is beneficial not merely to the image of the Blue Camp. It will enhance the quality of future legislation and increase the efficiency of the legislative process. It may help eliminate Blue vs. Green stalemates, At the very least, the public has raised expectations of the next legislature.
2011.11.17 01:56 am