Twofish's Blog

February 13, 2007

Trying very hard not to care too much….

Filed under: china, politics, taiwan — twofish @ 10:01 pm

I’m trying very hard not to care about political events in Taiwan.  We are at the start of the election season, and election seasons create all sorts of emotional roller coasters.  In 2004, I was very carefully following every bit of news and going crazy with every bump and dip in the polls.  This time, I’m trying to decouple a bit from the election news so that I don’t get on the emotional roller coaster.

The big thing that I learned about elections in 2004 was that in the end, it was pointless for me to follow the polls, because in the end, Chen Shui-Bian getting shot at the end changed everything on the last night of the election.  So I’m trying very hard not to care too much.

One thing that makes it easier is to know that there are competent people who basically see the world like I do running things.  In 2003, the Kuomintang had undergone a number of defeats, and the message that the DPP was presenting was that there was an inevitable march toward independence and the Kuomintang was finished as a party.  People who had views similar to mine were supposed to be dinosaurs, and the message from the DPP was that we should agree with them and “face reality.”

The situation in 2007 is very different.  The KMT managed to bounce back, and no one talks about the Green pro-independence agenda as inevitable.  Perhaps more importantly, people with views similar to mine aren’t afraid or ashamed of them, and that’s a good feeling.  Also, the experience of being declared dead once only to bounce back to life gives at least some hope to carry through the next time people declare you finished (and there will be a next time).

If pan-blue retains control of the legislature and if Ma Ying-Jeou wins in 2008, then there will be a flood of changes and possibilities, but I don’t want to think too much about them right now.  Politics is very uncertainty, and so I don’t want to get my hopes too high.  There will be enough time to figure out what to do if it happens.

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5 Comments »

  1. It looks as though Ma Ying-Jeou has a fight on his hands to retain leadership of the
    Kuomintang. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/13/news/taiwan.php

    Comment by zhangbohan — February 14, 2007 @ 7:40 am

  2. The big thing that I learned about elections in 2004 was that in the end, it was pointless for me to follow the polls, because in the end, Chen Shui-Bian getting shot at the end changed everything on the last night of the election. So I’m trying very hard not to care too much.

    If you learned that, you learned wrong. The assassination attempt on Chen had zero effect on the election. Both Blue and Green polls had Chen up by 1-2 points two weeks before the election, which in fact was how it ended, especially if you count the invalid ballots, that vast majority of which were stamped for Chen. What made the election so close was not some idiot taking a potshot at Chen, but the CEC’s stricter rules for what constituted a valid ballot.

    I was here in 2003, and I can’t recall anyone saying that the march to independence was inevitable.

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Turton — February 14, 2007 @ 8:16 am

  3. Chen’s ratings shot up two weeks before the election, but that bump disappeared when the last tracking polls were done. Two days before the election, Chen was dealing with corruption allegations by Shen Fu-Hsiung. Also blue and media polls consistently had Chen losing by about ten points throughout the whole period, but blue and media polls consistently understate green support by ten points (not just in this election).

    As far as independence being inevitable, you might look at the editorials by Lawrence Eyton in the Taipei Times. The idea that if you are a blue that you are a dinosaur stuck in the past that is going to be left behind by the march of history is a pretty consistent feature of independence rhetoric.

    Comment by twofish — February 14, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  4. About Ma Ying-Jeou. His poll numbers have shot up. Wang Jin-ping clearly wanted to challenge him for the presidental spot (and still does), but the corruption charges have pretty much killed that effort.

    One thing that isn’t mentioned in the Western press is that what Ma Ying-Jeou is accused of (using half of a special public relations account as private salary) is standard procedure among bureaucrats and officials in Taiwan. Half of the special public relations account has always been treated as personal salary from everyone down to elementary school principals.

    The thing that makes me feel good is that Ma Ying-Jeou has (unlike Lien Chan) historically had a very good instinct for public relations. In the past, he has done a number of things that seemed like political suicide, but which actually worked well for him in the long run.

    Comment by twofish — February 14, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  5. One thing about Ma Ying-Jeou is that the problem is the falsified reciepts that he filed. The law was changed recently so that reciepts were needed when they were previously not needed. Before that change, the money was just given.

    It has been a common practice in Taiwan for years, and it wasn’t a problem until it was brought up against Chen. The politicos fired back and went after Ma. To be fair, they should go after the 6,000 or so when used the allowance as a salary or declare an amnesty for everyone, change the law and move forward.

    What they are doing to Ma & Chen, is changing the rules for something that has been common practice for years, after the fact.

    Comment by Wenzi — February 25, 2007 @ 2:13 am


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