United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 14, 2015
Executive Summary: After some haggling, Hung Hsiu-chu has agreed to stop using the expression "One China, Same Interpretation" and to revert to using the party's "One China, Different Interpretations" and "1992 consensus". She will then become the official KMT presidential nominee at the National Party Congress, on July 19. The storm has temporarily subsided. Hung Hsiu-chu must now rally supporters inside and outside the party. The KMT must provide firm organizational backing. It must do so as soon as possible. It must not continue to "wait and see" .
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After some haggling, Hung Hsiu-chu has agreed to stop using the expression "One China, Same Interpretation" and to revert to using the party's "One China, Different Interpretations" and "1992 consensus". She will then become the official KMT presidential nominee at the National Party Congress, on July 19. The storm has temporarily subsided. Hung Hsiu-chu must now rally supporters inside and outside the party. The KMT must provide firm organizational backing. It must do so as soon as possible. It must not continue to "wait and see" .
At the moment, the KMT is doing little to prepare. Its policy seems to be "Let's wait until Hung Hsiu-chu is officially nominated, then we'll see". Nor has the Hung Hsiu-chu campaign taken advantage of its momentum to win over rural blue camp and centrist voters. It has wasted a great deal of time. The election campaign is actually being waged on two levels. Dissent within the party is rampant. Under the circumstances, Hung can take advantage of outside support to force party dissidents to toe the line. If Hung lacks outside support, she will be forced to concede defeat. For now KMT leaders have adopted a "wait and see" posture. Hung Hsiu-chu's campaign strategy is unclear. But some naysayers are acting like buffoons, and stabbing Hung Hsiu-chi in the back. They are the main reason Hung Hsiu-chu has lost momentum.
Does the KMT want to build momentum? Does Hung Hsiu-chu want her campaign to get on track and make a breakthrough? If so, the KMT and the Hung campaign must do at least three things before the National Party Congress.
One. Hung Hsiu-chu and the KMT must establish a clearer and more effective division of labor to avoid a repeat of the One China, Same Interpretation dispute. Cross-Strait policy has long been a key issue in blue vs. green national elections. Ma Ying-jeou won twice because voters approved of his cross-Strait policy. Hung Hsiu-chu's One China, Same Interpretation policy is not wrong. But it is untested and hard to explain. This presents problems. Hung Hsiu-chu will cease using the term One China, Same Interpretation. That is a pragmatic compromise. But once Hung has taken a firm stand, she must go on the offensive. She must not permit herself to be caught defending a position. That is no way to win points.
On other public issues, the KMT can adopt a multifront attack strategy. Breakthroughs should be spearheaded by Hung Hsiu-chu. But during policy debates the party headquarters and think tanks can play the role of flankers and guards, providing her with ammunition and support. Hung Hsiu-chu's style is incisive, straightforward, and heartfelt. It is highly effective against "Content Free Tsai's" mealy mouthed equivocations and evasions. But when green camp spokespersons lash out at Hung, the party headquarters and think tanks must stand behind her. This division of labor must be quickly established and put into action.
Two. The Hung Hsiu-chu campaign must establish its own "command and control center" as soon as possible. Before her official nomination, her campaign was led by ad hoc campaign manager Lee Sichuan. But Lee is also KMT Secretary-General. He cannot devote all of his time to her campaign. Also, he may be adept at administration but he is not an experienced campaign manager. His time is limited. One cannot expect him to juggle party and campaign responsibilities.
The Hung Hsiu-chu campaign was in chaos following her breakthrough in the polls, mainly because it lacked a command and control center. As a result, it could not set the agenda. Hung Hsiu-chu must regroup as soon as possible. She must establish a command and control center that can locate resources and plan strategies. She must recruit someone with extensive campaign experience, as well as communication and coordination skills. That someone must communicate not just with KMT leaders, but also with the Ma administration, with KMT legislators, and even local KMT officials. Only then can the Hung campaign get back on track in the shortest possible time and resume battle stations.
Three. The Hung Hsiu-chu campaign must broaden participation. In particular, it must allow those with different voices to join the team. So far the Hung campaign has added only two spokespersons. The rest are all old faces from the primaries. Elected representatives inside and outside the party who support Hung Hsiu-chu can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The Hung campaign is too incestuous. It is unable to recruit outside talent. Hung Hsiu-chu has been criticized for drawing support solely from northern Taiwan. Hung's expertise is limited to educational issues. She even lacks the ability to communicate policy. This is the reason why.
Hung Hsiu-chu is Deputy Legislative Speaker. She is running for president, a much higher office. Past talent pools and social circles are insufficient to meet her needs. She desperately needs a swift infusion of new blood. Decision-making requires diversity. The Hung campaign must not be a one-man show. It must be tolerant and attentive to different points of view. This will minimize poor decisions attributable to blind spots. As a leader, Hung must enable people from different realms and different ideologies to take part in her campaign. Only this will convince voters that she has the character to be president.
Accomplishing these three things in short order will not be easy. Lest we forget, Tsai Ing-wen is playing a waiting game. She has the DPP at her beck and call, and can use it in service of her presidential campaign. If the KMT and the Hung Hsiu-chu campaign cannot cooperate, the election will be lost without a fight. This is why Hung Hsiu-chu and Kuomintang leaders must cooperate. Blue camp cooperation may not ensure victory. But if the blue camp falls apart, will it even survive?