The Beginning of the End, Part VII

The Beginning of the End, Part VII
Another One Bites the Dust
Bevin Chu
January 26, 2006

Executive Summary: My previous article, “The Beginning of the End, Part VI, The DPP commits Political Suicide,” described how the DPP party hierarchy has defaulted on its responsibility to redeem the party, and has instead meekly abetted Chen Shui-bian’s betrayal of the DPP’s once-exalted ideals. The day after I posted it, yet another former DPP chairman resigned from the party. Almost as if on cue, Lin Yi-hsiung, DPP party icon, quit the DPP in disgust. Lin is the third of seven living DPP party chairmen to resign from the party for essentially the same reason. Lin, like former DPP chairmen Shi Ming-teh and Hsu Hsing-liang before him, resigned because the DPP has sold its soul to the devil.

As a January 25, 2006 China Post article entitled “Former chairman of DPP quits party” put it:

A highly respected former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced his withdrawal from the ruling party … Lin Yi-hsiung said it is pointless for him to stay in the DPP as he has no intention of being involved in any party affairs or of running for government posts under the party banner … “With each election, ethnic groups have become more split, and class conflicts more serious. After the elections, they continue hating and fighting against each other, plunging the nation and society into disorder.”

What Taiwan independence apologists in the US deceitfully characterize as “Taiwan’s (lively/thriving/vibrant) democracy” is in fact vicious ethnic division and class conflict. Even Lin Yi-hsiung, a Deep Green ideologue who has never recanted his commitment to “Taiwanese” nation-building, acknowledges this grim reality. What Lin does not acknowledge is his own culpability in nurturing the very “ethnic splits and class conflicts, hating and fighting” he so righteously denounces.

Pan Blue and Pan Green intellectuals alike know that the vicious ethnic strife and class warfare plaguing Taiwan is rooted in the Taiwan independence nomenklatura’s identity politics, which continually invents specious distinctions between “Chinese” (i.e., mainland Chinese) and “Taiwanese” (i.e., Chinese on Taiwan) for the sake of “Taiwanese” nation-building.

What distinguishes Pan Blue and Pan Green intellectuals is that Pan Blue intellectuals reject hate-mongering “Taiwanese” identity politics as morally despicable, while Pan Green intellectuals embrace it as “breaking a few eggs to make an omlet.”

He said no one should be a permanent member of any party, whose supporters should all be temporary ones; otherwise the people would be too deeply involved in partisan politics to maintain their impartiality. He said he now has chosen to stand aloof from partisan politics to be a “master” of the country — a position he said all ordinary people should adopt.

In other words, too many blind partisans, too many True Believers, too many “Yellow Dog” DPP supporters. Not enough independent-minded voters who think for themselves, regardless of party affiliation.

For those unfamiliar with the American expression “Yellow Dog,” Wikipedia explains: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Yellow Dog Democrats were voters in the U.S. Southern states who consistently voted for Democratic candidates — simply because of lingering resentment against Republicans during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. The term arose from an apocryphal remark that a Southerner would vote for a yellow dog before he’d vote for a Republican.

Lin continues to be a politically influential figure. His latest attempt at exercising such influence came a few weeks ago when the DPP was arranging for a by-election of its chairman. He openly laid down conditions that would have disqualified the possible candidacies of President Chen and all former and incumbent premiers, including Yu Shyi-kun, who subsequently won the party’s top post

In other words, Lin regrets having helped the opportunistic, corrupt Chen Shui-bian seize power in 2000. Lin now considers Chen and virtually all of the DPP’s major players unfit to assume the role of DPP chairman and to lead the party out of its crisis.

DPP legislative whip Chen Chin-jun said that the party is very surprised by Lin’s decision. Describing Lin as a “spiritual guide of democracy in Taiwan and a pillar of the DPP,” Chen said that the impact on the DPP of Lin’s withdrawal is more serious than the party’s defeat in the December 3 local elections. Chen urged the DPP to do everything that it can to try to persuade Lin to stay. He also called for the party to conduct a serious evaluation of its operations, saying the fact that a few former DPP chairmen, including Shi Ming-teh and Hsu Hsin-liang, chose to leave reflects that there is something wrong in the party.

DPP legislative whip Chen Chin-jun is among the pitiful few DPP officials willing to say out loud what DPP leaders and followers all know. Lin’s unceremonious departure is a damning indictment of the DPP, and seriously undermines public support for the party. Chen Chin-jun however, being a DPP official, was compelled to pull his punches. Cheng Li-wen was under no such compulsion.

Kuomintang (KMT) spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen said Lin’s leaving the DPP means the party is “at a loss, in despair and in mourning” after losing its idealism. Cheng said Lin’s decision carried such “great political significance” that the DPP could no longer hide from critical issues such as rampant corruption inside the party and the loss of passion in pursuit of its ideals. She said Lin was the third former chairman to quit the party, after Shih and Hsu. All of them are from the party’s older generation that championed Taiwan’s democratic movement, she pointed out. If the older generation stands for the DPP’s soul and founding spirit, Lin’s withdrawal from the party signifies that the party has lost its soul as well as its idealistic character, Cheng said. She said Lin’s decision to leave at a time when a new Cabinet and a new DPP chairman were about to be sworn in is heaping much pressure on the party. “This is also a time for the DPP to stop being an ostrich and face reform issues squarely,” she said.

KMT spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen, as usual, is right on target. Cheng ought to know. Cheng was formerly a DPP National Assemblywoman. Cheng was among the DPP’s elite corps of forward-thinking Young Turks. Like Sisy Chen, Cheng was drummed out of the party for being too idealistic, too principled, too consistent. Like Sisy Chen, she called the DPP to account when it failed to live up to its loudly-trumpeted ideals. No longer a DPP official, Cheng Li-wen had no need to pull her punches.

The DPP has experienced a “loss of passion in pursuit of its ideals” because DPP leaders and followers realize their central ideal, Taiwan independence, is an impossible pipe dream, and don’t know where to go from here.

As Chen Shui-bian, in a moment of rare honesty conceded, “I will not change the country’s national title during my term in office… the situation does not permit us to change the name of the country at the moment, or even during the rest of my term… Lee Teng-hui couldn’t do it during his 12 year term, and I can’t do it in mine. Taiwan independence is self-delusion. Taiwan independence is a myth.”

The DPP is a vehicle stuck in the mud. Its wheels spin madly, but the vehicle goes nowhere. An even better metaphor might be that the DPP is a ship without a rudder. The oarsmen row frantically, but the ship only travels in circles.

KMT legislative whip Pan Wei-kang suggested that the DPP undergo self-examination to determine whether its direction meets the expectations of all its members and the people of the country. She said Lin has shown his disappointment with the DPP, and that the people do not have faith in the government. KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng said he believes Lin wanted to leave the DPP because of his frustration with the performance of President Chen as well as of the party. Lin Huei-kuan, a legislative whip of the People First Party, echoed Wu’s comments, saying he believes Lin must be very dissatisfied with President Chen’s intervention in the formation of the new Cabinet headed by his designated premier, Su Tseng-chang.

Pan Wei-kang, Wu Yu-sheng, and Lin Huei-kuan have put their fingers on a key point.

A number of DPP officials have attempted to spin the DPP’s string of setbacks at the polls as dissatisfaction with Chen Shui-bian individually, but not with the DPP collectively. This is nonsense. The Chinese people on Taiwan are dissatisfied not merely with Chen Shui-bian’s flagrant corruption, but also with the DPP’s Taiwan independence agenda.

Lin Yi-hsiung resigned from the DPP not merely because he was disgusted with Chen’s performance as president, but because he was thoroughly disillusioned with the DPP as a political force. Su Tseng-chang’s bogus “new” cabinet, populated by spineless Chen Shui-bian lackeys, reflecting zero commitment to genuine reform, was merely the last straw.

Even the DPP’s ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), described Lin’s departure as a warning for the DPP. TSU whip Ho Min-hao said Lin was probably frustrated by the fact that President Chen has failed to listen to his advice and has continued sticking to his authoritarian style. “This (Lin’s departure) is a serious warning for the DPP,” said Ho, suggesting that the DPP government listen more to the voice of the people. “

Taiwan independence fellow travelers committed to their simplistic dichotomy of an “authoritarian [mainland] Chinese Goliath vs. a democratic Taiwanese David” may find it easy to rationalize away the flak from the Pan Blue camp, but how are they going to explain away the even heavier flak from the Deep Green camp?

The DPP’s political death by suicide at its own hand continues apace.

The Beginning of the End, Part VI

The Beginning of the End, Part VI
The DPP commits Political Suicide
Bevin Chu
January 24, 2006

“I will not change the country’s national title during my term in office… the situation does not permit us to change the name of the country at the moment, or even during the rest of my term… Lee Teng-hui couldn’t do it during his 12 year term, and I can’t do it in mine. Taiwan independence is self-delusion. Taiwan independence is a myth.”
— “President” Chen Shui-bian, February 2005

The December 3, 2005 three-in-one County and Municipal Elections were a Pan Green debacle. Even Pan Green spin-controllers don’t deny it. More than a debacle, they were a wake-up call. They were a warning to the Taiwan independence leadership to open their eyes and smell the coffee. They were a last chance for “President” Chen Shui-bian and his Democratic Progressive Party to see the light before voters give up on them forever. If Chen and the DPP refuse to reflect on their mistakes, and continue on their economically suicidal march toward Taiwan independence, the DPP will be finished as a political force.

See:
KMT crushes DPP in landslide victory

Leaders of the DPP’s New Tide Faction have traditionally been the leading edge theoreticians, the “deep thinkers” of the party. Several New Tide Faction leaders have warned their comrades that unless the DPP radically reinvents itself in short order, support for the party will plummet to historic lows in upcoming elections. The DPP will then be done for, the way most eastern European Communist parties were done for during the final years of the Cold War.

So how have Chen and the DPP reacted to the December debacle?

Chen Shui-bian, in an effort to avoid blame for the catastrophic defeat, went into hiding for nine straight days, during which he was neither seen nor heard. On the tenth day, he showed his face at an ROC naval base, but pointedly avoided mentioning the election. In fact, Chen remained tight-lipped for the rest of December.

During Chen’s silence, pundits speculated about what was going on in Chen’s mind.

Political naifs assured the public that Chen was engaged in “bi men si guo” (contemplation of mistakes behind closed doors) and “xu xin jian tao” (humble self-reflection). They assured the public that Chen had internalized the painful lesson of the election, and would soon order an about face to his administration’s suicidal march toward Taiwan independence.

Political veterans begged to differ. They reminded the public that Chen’s concern has never been the future of 23 million Chinese on Taiwan, or even the future of Chen’s own Democratic Progressive Party. Chen’s sole concern has always been the Care and Feeding of Number One Himself. Chen, political veterans insisted, was busy devising schemes to prevent himself from becoming a “po ya” (lame duck) during his illegitimate second term, and to retain power even after the expiration of the constitutionally mandated eight-year, two-term limit in 2008. Since Chen was a scoundrel whose first and last refuge was ersatz “Taiwanese” patriotism, Chen would consolidate support for his corrupt, discredited regime by pandering to the minority of hard core Taiwan independence fundamentalists within the Pan Green camp.

Sure enough, on New Years Day, 2006, Chen Shui-bian broke his month-long silence and proved the political veterans right.

According to a January 2, 2006 Taipei Times article entitled, “Chen to tighten cross-strait policies” NEW YEAR MESSAGE:

The president focused on the military threat posed by [mainland] China … as he announced changes to cross-strait policy. In his New Year’s address yesterday, President Chen Shui-bian said that he would not bow to pressure from the opposition parties and [mainland] China to relax his cross-strait policies, in a surprisingly strong speech that defied the expectations of pundits. Chen reminded the public of [mainland] China’s strong ambition to annex [sic] Taiwan, and said that his administration’s new mindset and course of action for future cross-strait economic and trade policies would adopt “active management, effective opening,” rather than the “active opening, effective management” that has been in place since 2001 … Chen’s clear signal that he would tighten cross-strait policies was at the heart of his message … Chen said that no matter how cross-strait relations develop, Taiwan will adhere to [its] sovereignty … With regard to Taiwan’s future, no leeway will be given for … choices that [preclude] … or in any way [contravene this principle].

Financial and political analysts from more enlightened parts of the world were flabbergasted. They expected Chen to respect the clearly expressed desire of the people on Taiwan for reconciliation in the short term, and reunification in the long term. They expected Chen to loosen, not tighten cross Straits policies. They were bewildered by Chen’s authoritarian behavior, so utterly at odds with the behavior of any enlightened leader in any modern nation.

They shouldn’t have been.

Had they had stared unflinchingly into the dark heart of Taiwan’s “lively/thriving/vibrant democracy,” instead of viewing it through the Taiwan Lobby’s rose-colored glasses, they would have seen that Taiwan is a not a “democracy,” but a racist, cronyist dictatorship lorded over by a Ferdinand Marcos/Mohammed Suharto-style Asian strongman. They would have realized that Chen Shui-bian is actually less responsive to the will of the people on Taiwan than PRC General Secretary Hu Jintao is to the will of the people on the Chinese mainland. They would have known that on December 1, 2005, two days before the election, Chen Shui-bian openly threatened ROC voters, warning them that if they failed to deliver his party a victory at the polls, he would punish them by tightening, not relaxing cross Straits policies.

Am I making this up? How could I? Millions of television viewers on Taiwan who saw and heard Chen’s speech on television can confirm the veracity of what I said. Skeptics need only consult archival video footage of Chen’s exclusive interview with Taiwan’s ETTV cable channel network.

Chen cares nothing about the Republic of China, the nation he ostensibly leads, but whose citizens’ hard-earned wealth he has diverted into his own pockets and the pockets of his cronies. Chen cares little more about the DPP, the party he ostensibly leads, but whose long-term political fortune he has sacrificed for his short-term political survival. Chen cares for nothing and nobody, except his immediate family and a handful of cronies. And as fellow Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit graft scandal co-conspirator Chen Che-nan recently discovered, even Chen Shui-bian’s cronies had better watch their backs.

Six years ago, in 2000, Taiwan independence fundamentalists supported Chen unconditionally. They idolized him. He was their beloved Man of the People. He was their affectionately-named “A-Bian.”

Six years later, in 2006, opinion polls show public approval for Chen at a low of 5%. [ ! ] You read that right. Approval ratings in the single-digits. Contrast this with Richard Nixon, whose approval rating in August 1974, on the eve of his resignation due to the Watergate scandal, bottomed out at 24%.

For public approval of a sitting Pan Green “president” to fall below double-digits into the single-digit range requires not just Pan Blue opposition, but total Pan Green disillusionment. Don’t take my word for it. Come visit Taipei. At Chiang Kai-shek Airport grab a taxicab, any taxicab, even one belonging to the All People’s Taxi Company, whose drivers were once uncritical A-Bian boosters. Ask the cabbie if he still believes that his former political idol gives a damn about working stiffs such as himself, then brace yourself for the stream of invective to follow.

In order to save their political party, the DPP party hierarchy must demonstrate “the vision thing.” They must jettison the corrupt, opportunistic Chen, who has run the party’s image into the ground. They must forksake Chen’s discredited Taiwan independence agenda, which has bankrupted the island’s economy. They must embrace former DPP chairman Hsu Hsing-liang’s “Da Dan Xi Jing” (Bold Advance Westward), the “West” in this case meaning the Chinese mainland.

As the quote from Chen Shui-bian at the beginning of this article suggests, the DPP party hierarchy knows what it must do, not only to save their political party, but also to save Taiwan.

What has the DPP party hierarchy done?

Nothing.

The overwhelming majority of the DPP’s party hierarchy defaulted on the solemn responsibility of challenging Chen’s defiant, drunk with power “Yuan Dan Wen Gao” (New Years Address). Lacking the courage to “Speak Truth to Power,” they have chosen their own short-term political survival over their party’s long-term political fortune. In doing so, they have all but sealed the fate of both the DPP and the Taiwan independence movement. The DPP has committed political suicide.