What am I Fighting for?
Ma Ying-jeou loses his Political Compass
March 15, 2005
Executive Summary: On Monday March 15, mainland Chinese authorities announced their long awaited, and for some, long dreaded Anti-Secession Law. Not surprisingly, the Taiwan independence Quislings who head up the DPP and TSU are having fits of apoplexy. More surprisingly, a number of Pan Blue political leaders, most prominently Ma Ying-jeou, are obediently singing and dancing to the Pan Green tune. Before they do any more damage than they already have, these ostensible defenders of the Republic of China should stop, take a breath, and ask themselves “What am I fighting for?”
Taipei Mayor to call News Conference on ‘Anti-Secession’ Law
Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou is scheduled to call an international news conference March 14 to express his opposition to China’s “anti-secession” law aimed at Taiwan… Yu Tzu-hsiang of the Taipei City Information Department said that… county magistrates and mayors from the ruling and opposition parties will be invited to attend the planned news conference, during which Ma will strongly protest Beijing’s “anti-secession” law targeting Taiwan…. local government chiefs present at the news conference will sign a joint protest letter that will be sent to international media organizations… this will help Taiwan obtain support from more foreign countries for the island’s opposition to this “anti-secession” law… China still considers the island part of its territory despite their split in 1949 after a civil war. Beijing has repeatedly threatened to use force against Taiwan if the island declares independence.
What’s Wrong with this Picture?
So what’s wrong with this picture?
Leave aside for a moment the Central News Agency’s tiresome and predictable word games, such as referring to the mainland region of China as “China” instead of “mainland China.”
What’s wrong with this picture is that Pan Blue camp political superstar Ma Ying-jeou, whose eyes are focused on the Republic of China presidency in 2008, can apparently no longer see the forest for the trees.
If Ma finds a law aimed at preventing Taiwan independence so objectionable that he would call a press conference to express his vehement opposition four days before he has even had a chance to read it, what kind of law would inspire Ma to express his enthusiastic approval? A “Pro-Secession Law?”
Ma is not alone in his befuddlement. Several other Pan Blue leaders have also lost their bearings, most notably PFP Chairman James Soong, whose recent betrayal of Pan Blue voters is even more serious than Ma’s.
So why pick on Ma?
Because Ma is likely to be the Pan Blue camp’s standard bearer in the ROC presidential race three years from today. That makes any blunders he makes, strategic or tactical, a serious matter indeed.
Ma, One of the Good Guys
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou is basically a good man, a decent man, a proverbial “Boy Scout.” And not just any Boy Scout. Judging by his worldly accomplishments, his “merit badges,” he’s an Eagle Scout.
Ma Ying-jeou is generally seen as a non-corrupt and charismatic politician, although some see him as overly-privileged and somewhat aloof. Ma earned a law degree from National Taiwan University in 1972, then proceeded to earn a doctorate in law from Harvard University in the United States. He returned to Taiwan in 1981 to teach law. He was deputy secretary-general of the KMT from 1981 to 1988, for some time also serving as head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), a cabinet-level body in charge of cross-straits relations. President Lee Teng-hui appointed him Justice Minister in 1993. He was relieved of his post in 1996, reputedly because he proved too effective at fighting black gold political corruption within his own party. Ma then returned to academia, and most people at the time believed his political career to be finished.
The 54 year old Ma can be justly proud of what he has achieved in his life so far. Comparing him to his counterparts in the Pan Green camp is not possible. The gentlemanly Ma has no counterparts in the thuggish DPP and TSU. Lee Ying-yuan, a would be Ma Ying-jeou clone sent forth by the DPP to unseat Ma in 2002, would confirm this fact the hard way. Taipei’s politically sophisticated voters had no trouble distinguishing the genuine article from the phony knockoff. Ma won reelection by a 64% to 36% landslide.
Speaking Truth to Power
As Ma’s biography noted, Lee Teng-hui appointed him Justice Minister in 1993. Three years later, in 1996, “Mr. Democracy” gave his appointee the ax, not because Ma did his job poorly, but because he did his job too well. Ma refused to look the other way when he uncovered massive, widespread corruption among Lee Teng-hui’s close cronies, even though he knew it probably meant the end of his political future.
This was when Ma uttered the remark for which he is rightly famous:
“Bu zhi wei shui er zhan, wei he er zhan” or “I didn’t know whom I was fighting for, what I was fighting for.”
Ma’s conduct was principled and courageous. Under a Lee Teng-hui dominated KMT, in which obsequious ass-kissing was the accepted norm, Ma dared to “speak truth to power.” By refusing to surrender his integrity, Ma earned the profound respect of millions of ordinary people living on Taiwan, including myself.
Ma loses his Political Compass
That’s why Ma’s pusillanimous response to the Anti-Secession Law brouhaha is all the more dismaying. Nor is this blunder his first. It’s merely the latest in a year long succession of similar blunders.
In response to Chen Shui-bian’s amateurish Wag the Dog “assassination attempt” and transparent ballot fraud, outraged Pan Blue and non-partisan voters staged an around the clock sit-in in front of the Presidential Palace. The Chen regime demanded that the protestors be driven from the Plaza, citing “traffic jams” and “noise pollution.”
What did Ma do?
With unseemly timidity and haste, Ma surrendered to Pan Green intimidation and ordered riot police to drive pro-democracy demonstrators from the plaza using brute force. Chen had just victimized them once. Ma victimized them a second time.
The Lien/Soong campaign filed two separate lawsuits to have Chen Shui-bian’s fraudulent election results overturned. High Court justices in Chen Shui-bian’s pocket ignored irrefutable evidence collected by the Lien/Soong legal team and threw their cases out of court.
What did Ma do?
Ma urged Lien Chan to accept Chen’s fraudulent “reelection” as a fait accompli, and not concern himself with the fact that meekly acquiescing to the Chen regime’s brazen constitutional violations would set an unacceptable precedent for the nation’s future.
Ma’s cumulative blunders are beginning to take their toll. Many Pan Blue voters are asking themselves some very painful, very difficult questions, such as “Do we really want this man for president?”
A controversy is currently simmering over whether Ma should run for KMT party chairman, thereby laying the groundwork for his presidential campaign. Shi Chi-yu, a highly respected Pan Blue camp commentator quipped that at the rate Ma was going, Ma should run for party chairman — of the DPP.
That Ma remains supremely confident he made the wisest, most farsighted decision in each and every one of these cases is the most disturbing fact of all.
Unfortunately, the only other contender for the post of KMT Party Chairman is Wang Ching-ping, whom many Pan Blues suspect of being “Lee Teng-hui Redux,” a deep cover mole ready to sell out the Pan Blues at the crucial moment. I wish I could say such fears are exaggerated. Unfortunately they’re not. Wang Ching-ping and Lee Teng-hui are awfully chummy. Therefore if it comes down to a choice between Ma and Wang, True Blue KMT members will unquestionably choose Ma as the lesser of two evils.
The Example of Shen Fu-hsiung
Ma would do well to remember the sobering example of Shen Fu-hsiung, a respected DPP elder who aspired to succeed Ma as mayor of Taipei. Taipei being a bastion of the Pan Blue camp, Shen tried to ingratiate himself with Taipei’s Pan Blue voters. His gambit failed, catastrophically. Pan Blues perceived Shen’s move as too little, too late. Pan Greens perceived Shen’s move as treason to Taiwan independence. Shen’s political gambit turned out to be a losing proposition all around.
Ma Ying-jeou, a Pan Blue superstar, aspires to be president of the ROC. Kaohsiung and Tainan being bastions of the Pan Green camp, Ma is trying to ingratiate himself with centrist Kaohsiung and Tainan swing voters. His gambit, like Shen’s, will fail. Hoklo chauvinist leaders will successfully paint Ma as “not one of us.” On election day, brainwashed Pan Green followers will cast their ballots for yet another “native Taiwanese” A-Bian clone. Principled Pan Blue stalwarts, on the other hand, will perceive Ma’s surrender to political expediency as an unforgiveable betrayal. Ma’s political gambit, like Shen’s, will turn out to be a losing proposition all around.
Even leaving aside higher principles and focusing exclusively on practical politics, does Ma really believe the Pan Greens are going to allow the “mainlander” they have labeled the “Hongkonger taking the Hongkong road” to become the Founding Father of their Hoklo chauvinist Republic of Taiwan?
Did I mention that Shen is now a former legislator, and has been for all intents and purposes been excommunicated by the DPP?
What am I Fighting for?
Ever since the 2004 Presidential Election Ma has repeatedly undermined the Constitution of the Republic of China he claims to champion and defend. Whether he means to or not, Ma has been contributing to the destruction of the Republic of China and facilitating its overthrow by a Quisling Republic of Taiwan.
Ma Ying-jeou needs to remind himself that in order for him to be elected president of the Republic of China, there must be a Republic of China for him to be president of.
Before Ma Ying-jeou does any more damage than he already has, to himself, to his party, to those who have supported him over the years, to the Chinese nation whose unity he swore to uphold, he should stop, take a breath, and ask himself the same question he asked himself in 1996.
“What am I fighting for?”