Policy Change: The Soft Underbelly of the Democratic Progressive Party
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 15 2012
Summary: Su Tseng-chang has manipulated the "Raging Citizens Protest March." He
has turned it into a showdown between himself and Tsai Ing-wen. The DPP hopes to fan the flames of change. It hopes to "change the
cabinet, change legislators, and change the president." But it must
first tell the public what changes it intends to make in the event it
returns to power. Su Tseng-chang wants to impeach the
president. He has pitted himself against Tsai Ing-wen. He is serving
notice. Blue vs. Green struggle will continue. There will be no peace.
The time table for 2016 has apparently been moved up, dramatically.
Full Text below:
Su Tseng-chang has manipulated the "Raging Citizens Protest March." He has turned it into a showdown between himself and Tsai Ing-wen.
One. For starters, Su Tseng-chang refused to allow Frank Hsieh to head up the China Affairs Committee. This was Su's declaration that he favored the path taken by the Taiwan independence movement. He is serving notice. He intends to take a very different path than reform advocates Tsai Ing-wen and Frank Hsieh. Two. Su has resorted to heavy-handed measures. He is demanding the impeachment of Blue camp legislators and President Ma. He intends to take extreme and hawkish measures. He intends to take a very different path than the moderate and dovish Tsai Ing-wen. Three. He has escalated the conflict. He is calling for the impeachment of the president. This clashes head on with Tsai Ing-wen's call for a National Policy Conference. After all, Su Tseng-chang cannot simultaneously impeach President Ma Ying-jeou and demand that he convene a National Policy Conference. Su Tseng-chang has also committed himself to the DPP's "alternative" pension program in the Legislative Yuan.
Su Tseng-chang is siding with Taiwan independence hawks to consolidate his leadership within the Pan Green camp and the DPP. He is attempting to marginalize Tsai Ing-wen. That is why Su Tseng-chang's slogan is "change policies, change legislators, change the president." It is not a policy declaration. It is a call to arms. His primary goal is to heighten Blue vs. Green conflict in order to undermine Tsai Ing-wen. Will this enable Su to lead the DPP out of the political winderness? For the moment Su Tseng-chang cannot be bothered with that.
What does "change policies, change legislators, change the president" mean? It means to incite clashes over policy, initiate a cabinet reshuffle, impeach legislators, and impeach the president. It means a multi-front political struggle aimed at effecting ruling party change and to return to power.
But this path is strewn with pitfalls. The main driving force behind presidential change or ruling party change should derive from policy change. But Su Tseng-chang has put policy change on hold. His focus is clearly on the political struggle. His "policy," if it can be called that, is fragmented and unclear. In fact, this is Su Tseng-chang's weak point. This is also the soft underbelly of the Democratic Progressive Party.
We all know why the DPP is mired where it is today. The main reason is its desire to "change policies." The DPP demands change. But it demands the wrong kind of change. The DPP demands Taiwan independence, the "rectification of names" and "one country on each side." It wants more than just policy change. It wants to change the constitution and even the name of the country.
In 2008, he KMT regained political power. The voters demanded change -- from DPP policy. In 2012, Tsai Ing-wen went down in defeat. The voters refused to allow the DPP to change the KMT's 1992 consensus and ECFA. The DPP was forced to promise that "If we return to power, we will continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy." This being the case, precisely what policies does Su Tseng-chang intend to change?
The DPP must establish a credible long term policy regarding national allegiance, constitutional allegiance, and cross-Strait relations. All other policy debates, are mere pretexts for fodder for political struggles. They will not restore public confidence in the DPP and allow it to return to office. So the question is, just what sort of "change" is the DPP calling for with regards national allegiance, constitutional allegiance, and cross-Strait relations?
Consider other DPP policies. From the perspective of political struggles, it may pay to be paranoid. But if the DPP expects to rule once again, it cannot afford to miss the forest for the trees. Take the matter of nuclear power generation. Antinuclear sentiments are currently on the rise. Naturally this sentiment can be exploited. But the abolition of nuclear power generation is a serious matter. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared three times that he opposed a nuclear free Japan. The DPP has characterized gasoline price and electricity rate increases as tyranny. The DPP advocates the elimination of nuclear power generation. So how does it stand on gasoline and electricity subsidies? What about the capital gains tax, health insurance rate hikes, pension reform, and the so-called "media monopoly?" It cannot just vent its rage. It must offer policy proposals. Ideology is not "policy." Political struggle is not "reform." Inciting social divisions is not "love for Taiwan." Su Tseng-chang's "policy changes" were merely political struggles, not policy reform.
Su Tseng-chang knows full well that he must change policy to justify presidential change and ruling party change. But policies cannot be changed without reason. U.S. beef imports is one example. Some policies were unsuccessful due to execution rather than principle. These include gasoline prices and electricity rates. Some policies in particular must not be enacted rashly. These include the "rectification of names" and "one country on each side." These amount to changing the constitution and the name of the country. The DPP must offer sober policy proposals for peacefully governing the nation. Otherwise it is merely fanning the flames of discontent in the guise of "policy." The public may have to put up with such an opposition party. But it is under no obligation to make it the ruling party.
The DPP hopes to fan the flames of change. It hopes to "change the cabinet, change legislators, and change the president." But it must first tell the public what changes it intends to make in the event it returns to power.
Finally, Su Tseng-chang wants to impeach the president. He has pitted himself against Tsai Ing-wen. He is serving notice. Blue vs. Green struggle will continue. There will be no peace. The time table for 2016 has apparently been moved up, dramatically.
2013.01.15 03:37 am