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Dec 31, 2009

KMT wants to become an election machine

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) discussed the party's plans to sell of its remaining assets & investments and switch itself, "like a Transformer," into an "election machine" (his words, not mine).

What I love about this "strategy," besides the Transformers reference and the fact that it will doubtlessly enrich some KMT friends while avoiding responsibility for ill-gotten assets and gains, is that the KMT suffers from such long-running local factional splits exactly because it already is an "election machine" -- one that local elites use to gain greater power, and which can normally accommodate multiple moneyed interest groups at the same time -- but local factional leaders will abandon the party at the drop of a hat to run as independents. One would think the KMT would rather have more loyal politicians than ramp up the "election machine" message.

(Moreover, voters may read King's message as an endorsement of the "eternal election" model which leaves actual governing by the way-side -- and that does not play well with voters.)

The KMT plans to live on "donations" for political campaigns in the future. And we all know how transparent the financial laws are for political donations (hint: you need only report what you spend, not what you take in). Perhaps this is all really just a shell plan to create more flexible slush funds.

Back in 2000 and 2004, one of the great hopes of green guys like me was that the KMT was about to collapse. As financial interests -- not ideology -- holds the party together, we hoped that the moneyed interests would say, "these guys aren't winning again," and go their separate ways.

That didn't happen. But it stands a better chance of happening the other way around, with a newly poor KMT being gutted of its previous moneyed interest support, who may go run their own show.

Either that, or the party may become corporate property for a new set of sponsors.

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