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Aug 19, 2008

A note on the extent of Chen's damage

In case it wasn't perfectly obvious, I thought I'd outline why I think Chen's actions have now totally shattered what was left of the defeated DPP:

+ The party put all its political capital in him personally. Through all the previous corruption allegations, the party stood by him (even castrating those who dared to try and draw a line between the DPP and Chen, the so-called '11 bandits'). They let Chen run the legislative campaign, a disaster. And now it's simply too late to break with him. Even a ritual suicide wouldn't be enough.

+ Chen surly gave at least some of these campaign donations to other party members running for election (as his daughter stated flatly when chased down by reporters yesterday). That information will leak out over the next couple of months, further decapitating the party. Tsai Ing-wen is likely to be the only charismatic person left standing at the end of this.

+ As much as the greens would like to talk about what really matters to them, standing up for Taiwan's sovereignty and (now) closing corruption loopholes, there is no way for them to control this narrative or even a single news cycle. And this will go on through the December elections. Nobody is going to pay any attention to what Ma's government is doing. He'll probably effortlessly get his way on everything -- up until the 'peace agreement,' which will be a tougher sale.

+ Even B.S. allegations will stick in people's mind, which is why people like Chiu Yi are slinging everything they can make up before a morning press conference.

+ The DPP's attempt to paint itself as clean, anti-black gold party are now doomed for the foreseeable future. And Ma really will look like Mr. Clean. I think he gets one more free term now.


Unknown said...

Don't be too pessimistic. The people and the DPP will always rise up. Abian did horrible things, but I feel like the political narrative of Green supporters is always one of doom and gloom. "If the Taiwanese people elected Ma...there's no hop." That kind of viewpoint should be thrown out the window. Throw out the dirty old guard and keep developing the new. Maintain the true ideals of the DPP and genuinely reform.

阿牛 said...

I hope very much you are right but I think some of the green pessimism is well-grounded: there are very serious and powerful forces aimed at ending green goals, both inside and outside Taiwan. And when people lose faith in the DPP's ability to maintain its ideals and genuine reform, the cause is an even more precarious state.

Haitien said...

Well, I agree that the situation is dire, but I'd say that the pessimism is indicative of a good thing - self-reflection. Something the greens seem much better at than the blues.