DPP Unable to See Itself in the Mirror
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 17, 2012
Summary: The DPP has long boasted that it is a political party able to reflect on its own shortcomings. But this is a virtue it has moved farther and farther away from. Consider the DPP review of the reasons for its defeat in the recent election. On the surface, it brims over with eloquence, But on the inside, it is shot through with evasions, It acknowledged committing venial sins, but denied committing any mortal sins. It pointed fingers left and right at others for its plight. It avoided zeroing in its worst defects, the ones that desperately demand self-reflection.
Full Text below:
The DPP has long boasted that it is a political party able to reflect on its own shortcomings. But this is a virtue it has moved farther and farther away from. Consider the DPP review of the reasons for its defeat in the recent election. On the surface, it brims over with eloquence, But on the inside, it is shot through with evasions, It acknowledged committing venial sins, but denied committing any mortal sins. It pointed fingers left and right at others for its plight. It avoided zeroing in its worst defects, the ones that desperately demand self-reflection.
Outsiders said the draft of the DPP post-election review read like a technical paper. A Green Camp Central Standing Committee Member criticized Tsai's "Platform for the Coming Decade" as "too hard to understand." The same was true of the DPP's post-election review. It was written in typical "Tsai Ing-wen style." Tsai Ing-wen is the outgoing party chairman. Perhaps she did not want to paint too grim a picture of the DPP's plight, Perhaps she did not want to make it too difficult for the DPP to face its problems. Perhaps she wanted to retain her "guest host" status. Perhaps she was polite to a fault, because she wanted to let her comrades feel better about themselves. Unfortunately what ails the DPP can be cured only by shock therapy.
Tsai Ing-wen's review bobbed and weaved. It failed to come right out and name the problem. Swing voters lost confidence in the DPP's ability to govern, the report claimed, during the final two weeks of the campaign. The DPP refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus. Its cross-Strait policy left voters unsettled. A number of Green Camp legislators were in complete accord. They said the DPP lost the general election on cross-Strait issues. Alas, the review blamed the KMT. It accused the KMT of misusing administrative resources. It blamed difficulties encountered by voters returning home to vote. It blamed the Song/Yu Effect, saying it failed to kick in. It blamed numerous other technical issues. It blamed everything but the real reason.
Voters lost confidence in the DPP's governing ability. The Green Camp opposed the 1992 Consensus. But several other factors played a part too. One. The DPP's vision was too narrow. It remained a captive of its own "Nativist" mentality. In an era of globalization, such a mentality will not do. It cannot help Taiwan cope with international competition. Two. The DPP was too ideologically oriented. It was too stubborn. It sometimes stonewalled. It refused to make pragmatic adjustments in response to changes in the environment. Three. It could talk the talk, but it couldn't walk the walk. Its reach was beyond its grasp. It engaged in obstructionism out of sheer spite, even though it was unable to offer any solutions. Four. It was intolerant of other groups within the community. It incited hatred of other groups, or turned a blind eye to others who did. Five. It was adept at political mobilization, but inept at economic development. Its record while in office failed to meet with the approval of the economic pillars of the community.
These are character traits and ingrained habits the DPP accumulated over time. Some in the Green Camp actually consider these character traits and ingrained habits "extraordinary strengths." As you can imagine, these problems were not included in the report. They were not cited as reasons for the DPP's defeat. Take the most obvious example, DPP rhetoric on cross-Strait relations. The global political and economic situation has changed. As a result, the DPP is seriously out of touch with reality. This prevents the DPP from broadening its democratic appeas. Within the party, leaders still kowtow before the party's holy icons. Therefore, its election defeat can be chalked up as a failure to deal with the 1992 Consensus. Closing one's eyes to a problem may be easy. But does it work?
The fact is, Chen Shui-bian's eight years of misrule brought disaster upon Taiwan. Yet the DPP has never seriously reflected upon it. The DPP longs to return to power at the central government level. But as long as this specter is not exorcised, it will remain a psychological barrier for voters. The DPP review said voters lost confidence in the DPP's ability to govern. This was correct. But the review then said this loss of confidence occurred only in the last two weeks. This is self-delusion. The DPP taught supporters how to mislead pollsters by giving them phony answers, The DPP invented this trick. Does the DPP actually believe Tsai Ing-wen led Ma Ying-jeou in the polls until the last two weeks? Assume that she does. Perhaps bleak memories of eight years of Green Government reawakened voters and brought them back to reality?
During its early years as a rising opposition party, the DPP boasted a relatively clean image. It had a sharp eye, and used it to check the ruling KMT. It gained the voters' trust. But following the second change in ruling parties, the Blue Camp outshone the DPP with its ability to govern and its dependable nature. The DPP's old image as an uncorrupt political party with a concern for justice, no longer exists. The review made absolutely no mention of the TaiMed corruption scandal or the luxury "farmhouse" scandal. These scandals clearly contributed to the public's loss of confidence in the Tsai/Su ticket. The DPP refuses to adopt a comprehensive and balanced approach to governance. This is especially true with national issues that require the long view, The DPP habitually adopts an obstructionist attitude, merely to frustrate the ruling administration's efforts to get things done, Given its attitude, how can it win voter confidence?
Every failure is an opportunity for self-reflection, a chance to better one's self. But not if one approaches the matter convinced that one is already perfect. Then when one looks in the mirror, all one sees are other peoples faults, never one's own. If one is determined not to see one's own faults, then it matters not how thick the review is. It will remain pointless. The DPP longs to cross the 50% threshold. To do so, it must engage in more than technical analysis. It must not pander to its core supporters. It must not count on Blue Camp supporters being divided. They will not always enable the DPP to win by default. Based on what we have seen, it would appear that , over half the draft should be deleted.
2012.02.17 02:13 am