James Soong Cannot Escape the Clutches of Lee Teng-hui
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 8, 2011
Summary: Thirteen years ago, during the "Lee/Soong showdown," James Soong's battle cry was opposition to Taiwan independence and opposition to black gold. He forced Lee to suffer a major defeat. Thirteen years later, James Soong has returned. This time he is helping Lee Teng-hui "Topple Ma and protect Taiwan" in the name of Taiwan independence, Lee Teng-hui meanwhile, is making sure that James Soong will find himself without a place in either side of the Blue/Green divide, without a role on either side of the Taiwan Strait. He is making sure that James Soong will be remembered as a "Blue Camp Wang Ching-wei, a Green Camp Wu Shan-kui." Thirteen years ago, Lee Teng-hui said "James Soong cannot escape from the clutches of Lee Teng-hui." Today his boast has been fulfilled.
Full Text Below:
In 1998, James Soong and Lee Teng-hui split over the freezing of the Taiwan Provinicial Government. Lee said, "Soong cannot escape form the clutches of Lee Teng-hui." Predictably, when James Soong split from the KMT in 2000 and ran for the presidency as an independent, Lee Teng-hui used his influence to topple the ruling KMT.
That election, in 2000, is known as the "Lee Teng-hui vs. James Soong showdown." The Soong/Chang ticket did not win. But nevertheless it received more votes than the Lee Teng-hui backed Lien/Siew ticket. Actually the loss was not a loss for the Lien/Siew ticket. It was a loss for Lee Teng-hui The Lien/Siew ticket's eventual come back within the Blue Camp proves that. Meanwhile, Lee Teng-hui was summarily ejected from the KMT.
During the 2000 general election, James Soong became part of the Pan Blue Camp. At the time the term "Pan Blue" had yet to be coined. The Soong/Chang ticket scored a major victory over the Lien/Siew ticket. It received 36.84% of the votes, versus 23.1% for the Lien/Siew ticket. This was followed by the rise of the People First Party in the Legislative Yuan, the formation of the Lien/Soong ticket, the secret Bian/Soong meeting, and Soong's visit to the Mainland as Ah-Bian's "special envoy." These show that although Soong lost in 2000, he retained considerable influence. But this was all based on a precondition. During the process Soong was part of the Blue Camp. This was certainly true for the Lien/Soong ticket. Even the "Bian/Soong meeting" was presumed to be something arranged for the sake of cross-Strait relations.
Now take Lee Teng-hui. During the 2000 general election, he did not care whether Lien Chan or Chen Shui-bian won. A Lien Chan win was Lee's first choice, But he was also eager to increase Chen Shui-bian's influence. As long as James Soong lost, either result was acceptable. Lee Teng-hui was unable to ensure a victory by Lien Chan. But he was able to use the Chung Hsing Bills' scandal to ensure a defeat for James Soong. He was able to ensure a victory for Chen Shui-bian, Superficially Lee lost. He was expelled from the KMT. But upon closer scrutiny, he transformed himself into the leader and standard bearer for the Green Camp, His gains far outweighed his losses.
James Soong appears to be duplicating Lee Teng-hui's actions. But Soong's actions are yielding very different results. Lee used the Deep Green Taiwan Solidarity Union to hijack Chen Shui-bian and Tsai Ing-wen. James Soong has tried to use Deep Blues to hijack the KMT. But Lee was always part of the Green Camp. He supported DPP candidates Chen Shui-bian, Frank Hsieh, Tsai Ing-wen during three presidential elections. Functionally and symbolically, his mission was always to unite the Green Camp, It was always to help the DPP, either openly, in the legislature, or covertly, behind the scenes, That is why Lee has been able to remain a Green Camp leader and a Taiwan Independence standard-bearer. On the other hand, ever since James Soong ran for Taipei mayor in 2006 and entered the 2012 presidential race, he has departed from Lee Teng-hui's precedent. Lee Teng-hui remained an integral part of the Green Camp, He remained a major contributor to unity within the Green Camp. He neatly undermined Ma Ying-jeou by dividing the Blue Camp. Lee's path and Soong's path may appear similar. But they are in fact quite different. They are in fact poles apart.
That is why Soong's fate will be very different from Lee's fate. Lee was expelled from the KMT. But he found a place within the Green Camp and the Taiwan Independence movement. James Soong's gambit during this election, on the other hand, has no chance of success. He has no chance of being elected. No matter how many votes he receives, he will never receive enough to be elected president. He can only receive enough to ensure that Ma Ying-jeou is defeated. The problem for Soong is that if Ma Ying-jeou is elected, Soong's plans will be frustrated. On the other hand, if Tsai Ing-wen is elected, Soong's plans will not necessarily be fulfilled.
If Tsai is elected, Taiwan will be buffeted from within and without by the global economic crisis, an onslaught from Beijing, and internal social divisions. The nation will find itself in a state of crisis. If Tsai Ing-wen joins forces with James Soong, how will Beijing react? How will the Blue Camp react? How will the public react? As AIT Chairman Stephen M. Young noted, given how low James Soong has sunk in his pursuit of personal advantage, there is probably no room for him within the Green Camp either. Would Tsai Ing-wen dare use Soong to unite the political parties, mollify the general public, and mediate between Taipei and Bejing?
That is why James Soong's fate will be very different from Lee Teng-hui's. Lee found a home within the Green Camp, But when the current election is over, James Soong will be persona non grata within the Blue Camp. He will be unable to become a leader within the Green Camp. He has written his own death sentence. He has no chance of survival.
Thirteen years ago, Lee Teng-hui froze the Taiwan Provincial Government. He forced James Soong's hand. Soong lashed back. Lee lost power within the KMT. Thirteen years later, Lee Teng-hui praised James Soong, calling him "the finest political administrator ever." He said that "forcing him to run for the legislature was too demeaning." He fired the opening shot in Soong's presidential campaign. .
Thirteen years ago, during the "Lee/Soong showdown," James Soong's battle cry was opposition to Taiwan independence and opposition to black gold. He forced Lee to suffer a major defeat. Thirteen years later, James Soong has returned. This time he is helping Lee Teng-hui "Topple Ma and protect Taiwan" in the name of Taiwan independence, Lee Teng-hui meanwhile, is making sure that James Soong will find himself without a place in either side of the Blue/Green divide, without a role on either side of the Taiwan Strait. He is making sure that James Soong will be remembered as a "Blue Camp Wang Ching-wei, a Green Camp Wu Shan-kui."
Thirteen years ago, Lee Teng-hui said "James Soong cannot escape from the clutches of Lee Teng-hui." Today his boast has been fulfilled.
2011.12.08 01:49 am