Ma picks Vincent Siew

The latest rumor is that Ma will announce about an hour from now that Vincent Siew (Xiao) will be his running mate.

For those not familiar with Taiwan before 2000, ‘Vinnie’ is a top technocrat, former trade official, economics minister and premier. I find him an excellent choice, emphasizing the importance of economic policies over ideology. Of course, he also is a native Taiwanese, balancing Ma on the ticket, and once known to have been close to Lee Teng-hui.

His biggest career mistake: being Lian Zhan’s running mate in 2000.

If the rumor about a Ma-Xiao ticket is right, then Frank Xie should hopefully also pick an experienced official as his mate rather than some ideological sloganeering type. That would make the race more serious and interesting.

I think it’s as good a choice as Ma could possibly have made. I’d been hoping he would pick Siew, but had feared there’d be too much opposition from Lien and other deep blues who were pissed off with Siew for putting Taiwan’s interests above partisan obstructionism when he agreed to head Chen’s special panel of economic advisers and subsequently quit as KMT vice chairman.

Jia you, Ma and Siew!

The ever smiling gentleman Siew. I agree, he’s a good choice. At least he’s a well known political figure, unlike some other potential running mates, and he certainly won’t overshadow the sometimes overly tentative Ma. Don’t know how popular he is in the south of Taiwan, though.

He’s a Hoklo. I can hear ac choking on his guotie as we speak.

But he’s one of the good Hoklo cough cough

Glass of water please…

They really should get a hotel room together. The photo reeks of metrosexual aura.

He’s a Chiayi man, and held in high regard down there.

I was disappointed by the editorial in today’s Taipei Times about Ma’s choice of Siew as his running mate. It was a weak, inaccurate and misleading attempt to smear Siew’s credentials, and it’s really quite shameful of the TT to write such garbage.

If they could have got their basic facts straight, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But they support their assertion that “Elections are not his [Siew’s] strong point” by declaring that “While he was elected to the Legislative Yuan in 1996, it was as a legislator at large for the KMT.” Wrong, wrong, WRONG! In fact, the KMT recruited him as a candidate for Chiayi City, his hometown, where the party had lost a long string of elections at both local and national levels, and he delivered the goods by winning the seat against a very strong DPP incumbent, Chai Trong-rong. He was NOT merely appointed as a legislator-at-large.

The editorial also makes the lame comment that “if Siew wasn’t able to help Lien win in the 2000 presidential election, what makes the KMT and Ma think he would be able to do so this time?” Good grief, if the Taipei Times’ editorial writer truly cannot see any distinction between Lien’s and Ma’s presidential candidacies, then he or she has no damn business to be writing anything of any kind on Taiwan’s political affairs!

There’s more nonsense in similar vein, but there’s no need to pick it apart sentence by sentence.

Oh, and the front page headline story about this also wrongly stated that Siew is a former Minister of Finance. No, he is not: he served as Minister of Economic Affairs, Chairman of the CEPD, and Chairman of the MAC, but never held the MOF portfolio.

Come on, TT, you can and should do better than that!

At least I hope the newspaper will have the honesty to correct its glaring error about Siew’s election to the LY in 1996.

You are shocked by an editorial from a pro-Green newspaper! You should laugh, laugh, and laugh; like :roflmao:

It looks like the economy will be the main theme of this election. At least, that’s what the Bluies hope.

“t looks like the economy will be the main theme of this election.
At least, that’s what the Bluies hope.”
OK explain to me the Blues’s hope re the election?

OK explain to me the Blues’s hope re the election?[/quote]

The Bluies are hoping to WIN. :slight_smile:
They are hoping that the voters will be more interested in the economy that identity politics, and vote accordingly.

The fact that the Greenies have nominated Hsieh shows that they also recognize this.

OK explain to me the Blues’s hope re the election?[/quote]

The Bluies are hoping to WIN. :slight_smile: They are hoping that the voters will be more interested in the economy that identity politics, and vote accordingly.

The fact that the Greenies have nominated Hsieh shows that they also recognize this.[/quote]

The Greenies are hoping to WIN ,too,aren’t they?

I am interested in Economy :slight_smile: .

I am hoping Xie could bring up the better economic issues ,too.
But where …

It looks like Siew’s selection has given the TAIEX a good boost this morning.

Stock investors should be thanking Ma for his good choice.

I think Siew is the best running mate for Ma.

Here’s what I wrote on my blog: … -siew.html

I think Siew was about as good a choice as Ma could make, given all the constraints on him. I think he’s a great pick from the DPP point of view, showing how Ma’s economic strategy is essentially a return to the developmentalist state, a past that Taiwan and the world left behind long ago. Siew also shows how Ma’s thinking is still firmly in the KMT authoritarian box: the economy will go if only we have the right plan – the right control. If we just pick the right technocrat…that’s authoritarian thinking. Siew’s expertise, as Feiren pointed out on my blog, is the expertise of the past. Never mind that the Veep has no authority, let alone no authority over the economy.

Plus, think of the PR: a dried up 68 year old has-been, contrasted with the attractive Yeh Chu-lan? That’s a no-brainer.

And Siew shows how empty the KMT talent coffers are. Because it depends for support on corrupt local factions it buys with flows of government money, it cannot cultivate local talent, since that talent is corrupt and unreliable. The national level talent pool is tiny and getting old; in any case, no Taiwanese can rise to the top, meaning that ambitious and talented locals may not gravitate toward working in the KMT in the long run. The KMT’s long-term crisis just meanders on, unsolved, unable to decide whether they are the China-centered Guardian of the True Return to Zion Faith, or a Taiwanese political party out to win elections and craft public policy. I think Hsieh’s chances of winning, which were already a tiny bit better than even, have now risen a little with this pick. Imagine, as Feiren commented on my blog, if Ma had picked a younger forward looking woman…but then she’d probably have outshone him.

Did I mention that Siew hates campaigning? And failed to deliver Chiayi in two elections – the 1997 municipal elections and the 2000 presidential election.

Anyway, on to my blog post. Many thanks to Feiren for correcting my mistakes. Other mistakes in need of correction, by all means speak up! Links are all dead, see my blog if you want to follow them.



The Rumors Are True: KMT Presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou has selected economic technocrat Vincent Siew as his Vice Presidential candidate. The Taipei Times has the call:

[ul] Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday tapped former premier Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) as his running mate in next year’s presidential election, pledging to revive the nation’s economy with Siew’s expertise in finance and economics.

"Vincent Siew will serve as the architect of a new plan to revive Taiwan's economy -- rather than simply the first person in line for succession to the presidency," Ma told a a news conference in Taipei.

Lauding Siew, currently the chairman of Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, as a great "pilot" that the nation desperately needed, Ma said he chose Siew for his rich experience and extensive contribution in the field of economics and diplomacy, along with his popularity among both the pan-blue and pan-green camps.

Accepting Ma's offer, Siew -- nicknamed "Smiley Old Siew" because of the smile he often wears -- vowed to work with Ma to promote economic growth.[/ul]

Unfortunately their two presentations on Siew contain factual errors. In the article above, they claim that Siew was the minister of finance, although he has never held that position. In their editorial that asks how much help Siew will be to Ma, they observe:

[ul] The only real big election Siew has run in was the 2000 presidential election. While he was elected to the Legislative Yuan in 1996, it was as a legislator at large for the KMT. Consequently it is doubtful how connected Siew is and how much weight he carries in political circles in southern Taiwan.[/ul]

That too is incorrect. Siew was not selected by Party insiders as a legislator-at-large, but won a bitterly-contested election against Chai Trong-rong in his native land of Chiayi. The Taiwan Communique has the call (old Taiwan Journal piece):

[ul] One of the most hotly contested races took place in Chia-yi, in Central Taiwan, where the DPP’s Chai Trong-rong and KMT’s Vincent Siew, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, and a three-term cabinet member, ran a neck and neck race. Both drew large crowds in the thousands to their rallies. In the end Mr. Chai lost by a very small margin, to no small degree due to the Kuomintang’s largesse with new projects in the area.[/ul]

In 2000, Siew lost as Lien Chan’s running mate when the hugely unpopular Lien got less than 25% of the vote. But that loss does not mean that Siew is not a good campaigner. No one could have won at the side of Lien Chan, who is probably Taiwan’s most despised major politician (Chai would eventually win the Chiayi by-election in 1997 when Siew was moved up to Premier)…

Siew (Hsiao Wen-chang) is a technocrat, a native Taiwanese who came up through the martial law regime to emerge as Premier at the end of the Lee Teng-hui era. Sixty-eight years old, he is known for his economic expertise, and is widely respected by both Greens and Blues. The China Post notes:

[ul] Apart from his economic expertise, the constantly smiling former premier – hence his nickname “Smiling Siew” – has been able to maintain good relations with different political camps, including the ruling party.

He served as an adviser to the National Economic Development Conference under the DPP administration, and as President Chen's envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

But Ma was quick to defend Siew's loyalty to the main opposition party.

Ma, a former chairman of the KMT, said Siew was willing to work with the DPP administration only because of his concern for Taiwan's economy.[/ul]

Some in the KMT objected to Siew’s age, his links to the failures of the past, and his prior experience working for the DPP government. Ma, who always takes fire from his right whenever he attempts to position himself as a moderate, is already forced to defend his choice of Veep from his own side.

What kind of choice is Siew? The Ma camp argues that he is a native Taiwanese from the south who can help balance the ticket, Ma being a mainlander born in Hong Kong whose power base is in northern Taiwan. Ma also argues that his economic expertise will help sell the ticket as well. The KMT really has only one avenue of attack, the economy, now that Ma has been conclusively shown to lack integrity with the revelation that he was transferring government monies into his private accounts during his eight years as Taipei mayor. Siew is a serviceable weapon for any campaign based on the stagnant economy, and a strong, reassuring signal to global business and financial interests.

The China Post article above stated:

[ul] Siew pledged that he will work hard for a KMT victory in the 2008 presidential election for the well-being of the people.

Ma's close aides were cited by the Central News Agency as saying that Siew's economic expertise and his upbringing as a native Taiwanese from the southern county of Chiayi complement Ma's image as a "mainlander" -- which refers to immigrants who came to Taiwan in 1949 and their descendants.

The aides said Siew can help expand Ma's support base in southern Taiwan. [/ul]

The choice of Siew, who, as my father in law put it: pi hsiao rou bu hsiao – his smile is only skin deep – says volumes about where both Ma and the KMT are in the new century: still struggling with the legacy of the One Party State and its political values. Siew is respected, but being respected is not the same as being popular, and word has it that he hates campaigning, a serious problem, since as the Veep candidate that will be his number 1 job (see this CNN story from 1995 in which he admits this out loud). The Taipei Times again pointed out what many observers have been saying over the last few years – that after Ma the KMT has few, if any, up and coming stars. Instead of attempting to develop someone for the future, Ma reached back into the glory days to pick someone who still has the dimming luster of the miracle growth years. Authoritarian political thinking tends to project an idealized past onto the future, instead of cultivating a new future. Siew admirably serves those political values.

After the popular Wang Jin-pyng, currently speaker of the legislator and the unofficial leader of the Taiwanese KMT, had declined the position of second fiddle, Ma must have been faced with a difficult choice. He had to find someone who would have the backing of the Party insiders who hate him – in the chairmanship election in 2005 Lien Chan and most other key politicians openly backed Wang Jin-pyng. Picking Lien’s 2000 running mate was clever choice from that point of view. He also had to find a native Taiwanese who was acceptable to his Deep Blue base, to balance the ticket. Although the selection of Siew appears to be a pragmatic and moderate choice, he is actually selecting someone who came up through the System – a graduate of National Chengchi University in 1961, when few Taiwanese made it into the universities (a quota system discriminated against Taiwanese) and is thus politically reliable. By picking Siew, Ma simultaneously mollifies his Deep Blue mainlander core support, which is deeply suspicious of Taiwanese, by aligning a politically reliable Taiwanese firmly in the proper role of second to his Mainlander first, while appearing to be moderate and pragmatic to outside observers who tend to think that Ma is a centrist whereas he is actually a Deep Blue ideologue. The problem with that symbolism of Taiwanese firmly under Mainlander is that it is an old one, and anyone inside or outside the party can read it – yes, he is Taiwanese, but doesn’t that just make it even clearer that the KMT will never pick a Taiwanese to be President? Siew also solves another set of problems faced by Ma: he had to pick a Veep candidate who would not threaten his own power – Siew has no ambition to run things, and in any case, is too old – and he had to pick a Veep whose personality would not outshine his own. Satisfying that last requirement must have been especially difficult.

How useful in the campaign will Siew be? He won as a legislator, but after being promoted to Premier, in the 1997 elections in which the KMT was whipped by the DPP, Siew was unable to hold onto Chiayi for the KMT. Longtime Taiwan political observer Lawrence Eyton wrote at the time:

[ul] But the major contributing factor to the KMT’s humiliation was dissent within the ruling party itself. Under constitutional reforms, considerably more power will be devolved to county chiefs next year. As a result, the KMT leadership was not content to allow local factions to choose their own candidates as usual. Instead, central party bosses decided who would run. This alienated party footsoldiers who would normally mobilize the vote. It also encouraged disgruntled KMT members to run as independents, thus splitting the KMT vote to the DPP’s advantage in as many as five races.

Such bitterness and frustration resulted from this inept strategy that some KMT heavyweights have called for Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to step down as party chief. That is unlikely, if only because there is nobody with sufficient clout to take his place. Lee had hoped Vice President Lien Chan would succeed him, but after this debacle all bets are off. Taiwan provincial governor James Soong Chu-yu campaigned hard but his popularity seems to have been overhyped, while Premier Vincent Siew Wan-chang could not even keep his hometown of Chiayi for the party. Yet, lacking time to cultivate and introduce new talent, the KMT will have no choice but to rely on its wounded, discredited team to fight the legislative elections next year.[/ul]

The KMT’s leadership crisis has been going on for more than a decade, as the previous generation ages but no one emerges to take their place.

What happened in Chiayi in 1997 is that Chang Po-ya, who founded the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, an alliance cum political party of politicians with powerful local factional connections, defeated the other candidates based on her local clan links. She came from a powerful local political family – her mother and sister also served as Chiayi mayor. She leaned DPP, and would serve in high position under both the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian administrations. In other words, while Siew might benefit from a “native son” effect in Chiayi, coming from a poor family, he appears to lack the well-developed links to powerful local factions that would enable him to really turn out the vote for the KMT down there. UPDATE: Feiren pointed out in a comment that Siew is distantly related to one of the small local factions in Chiayi, the Hsiao family. The Aussie academic Bruce Jacobs, an expert on local faction politics here, wrote in the Taipei Times on the 2000 election:

[ul] In addition, the factional support for the KMT nominees remains unclear. Many suggest that the powerful Huang and Lin factions are lukewarm to the Lien-Siew ticket and some faction leaders may even provide quiet support to Soong. Only the Siew Family Squad (蕭家班) , which has become Chiayi’s third and smallest faction, fully supports the KMT nominees. But even this support has mixed value.

While no one suggests that Vincient Siew is corrupt, his three distant Siew relatives -- who made possible his initial run for the Legislative Yuan in 1995 -- have a strong reputation as black elements who have become extremely rich and now typify the "black and gold" behavior of the KMT.

In fact, one of the three main Siew leaders, former County Assembly Speaker Siew Teng-piao (蕭登標), is currently in detention, accused of six crimes, including blackmail and bribery. The Chiayi District Court will soon decide whether or not he can be released on bail three days before the election.[/ul]

Another Taipei Times article notes:

[ul] He also pointed out that Siew had recently appeared together in Siew’s home county of Chiayi along with the speaker of the Chiayi City Council, Hsiao Teng-wang (蕭登旺). Hsiao’s younger brother, Hsiao Teng-piao (蕭登標), the speaker of Chiayi County Council, is currently under indictment on corruption charges and on the run from police. Ever since Siew appeared with the “Hsiao Family,” speculation has abounded over his relations with the family.

Premier Siew dismissed such allegations as unfair.

"I am a native of Chiayi. How could I turn the `Hsiao family' down when they have stood behind me before? Besides, I have no contact with them now. I have no doubts about my moral integrity," he said.[/ul]

Further, because he has never cultivated a support base down south, he lacks wide regional appeal. Hence, my reading of Siew is that his background as a Taiwanese will be of only limited help to the KMT. This point was brought out in some of the lukewarm reactions to Siew from within the KMT and its allied parties:

NPSU Chairman Lin Ping-kun noted that Siew comes from an impoverished family in Chiayi, giving him a background close to the grassroots, and said that even if it is not a plus, it is at least not a minus.

But some KMT members expressed worry, saying that while Siew definitely will complement Ma in terms of his financial expertise and his being a Hoklo -- the largest ethnic group in Taiwan -- "the biggest problem of this ticket is that it is not fresh enough, given the current volatile Taiwan society and the preferences of the electorate."

Some even said that "they are bracing for a drop in approval ratings for the KMT ticket in the next couple of days." [/ul]

In addition to being Taiwanese, Siew speaks some Hakka and can be expected to appeal to the KMT’s traditional allies, the island’s large Hakka community. One aspect of the KMT’s ability to retain control over the island’s local politics is that it has successfully incorporated Hakkas and aborigines into an ethnic coalition, playing to their fears that if the Hoklos (ethnic Taiwanese) ever gain control, they will be shoved aside. The current KMT chairman, Wu Po-hsiung, is a Hakka, and can also be expected to help the Ma-Siew ticket in this regard.

Overall, Siew is an excellent choice, given the constraints that Ma operates under, and given that the best choice, Wang Jin-pyng, refused to be second to Ma. One can argue that there are some aspects from which he does little to help the ticket, but nowhere does Siew really hurt it. Even his age has its positives: the fact that Siew is a decade older than Ma will help reinforce Ma’s own “youthful” image by comparison. Ma did well with this pick.

Postscript: Political blogger A-gu had this to say the other day:

[ul] 2) Wang mentioned that he has not been tapped yet to be a legislator at large (and Chiu Yi is!?!? Will the KMT ever get with the program?) nor as a legislator in a district. Wang says at this point, he has no plans to run for the legislature again and that for now he simply wishes to take care of current legislative business. What would he do next?

    In regards to his future plans, Wang softly smiled and said, "we'll see."[/ul]

Potential Wild Card Wang Jin-pyng, who hates Ma, will have no official position after the '08 elections, unless there is some deal to make him Premier in the new government, as is suggested from time to time in the media. Wang is close to James Soong, the head of the KMT splinter party PFP, and twice a failed Presidential candidate. Soong has an immense but fading following around the island. A Wang-Soong ticket might be a formidable pairing politically. Over the next few months, the question of What Will Wang Do? is going to be an important postscript to the selection of Siew.

UPDATE: Feiren has some excellent comments on Siew’s alleged expertise.

[ul] Just exactly what is Siew’s supposed expertise?

Essentially, Siew is an expert on state-sponsored development--naptha crackers, freeways, high speed rails and that sort of thing. The kind of politician who believes that what Taiwan economy needs is even more mindless development regardless of the costs. This may well gain Ma points in some quarters, but I don't think it bodes well for Taiwan's economy under Ma, because what we're getting is an old-school technocrat who simply doesn't understand that the main problem with Taiwan's economy is that it has long since outgrown the model Siew is familiar with.[/ul]

It just shows how Ma’s “economic” strategy is essentially an appeal to nostalgia for the old developmentalist days, and not really a blueprint for forward movement into the 21st century.


That’s quite an impressive attempt to discredit Vincent Siew, Vork. But I’m afraid it’s riddled with errors and inaccuracies, especially concerning Siew’s appeal to Taiwan’s electorate and his economic credentials.

Far from representing the heavy hand of state interventionism in the economy and pump-priming big-ticket spending as you and Feiren have described him, Siew is a champion of liberalization and supply-side economics. Much of the progress that has been achieved in opening up Taiwan’s economy, internationalizing and integrating it with the regional and global economies, cutting red tape, and making Taiwan more internationally competitive, stems from the plans mapped out by Siew when he headed the CEPD in the mid-90s and later during his premiership. The DPP administration has largely embraced and carried on those very policies, though leaning rather more heavily toward big-project spending than Siew ever favoured.

If his expertise is worth so little and he’s so out of touch with the times, how come A-bian enlisted his services as top economic guru to give his administration guidance on how to set the economy right when it was teetering on the edge of crisis?

Most Taiwanese that I know, whether deep-blue, deep-green, or anywhere in between, have a lot of faith in Siew’s ability to do what’s right for the economy. Opinion polls have immediately shown a very strong approval rating of more than 50% for the Ma-Siew ticket, opening up an enormous gap over Hsieh and whoever he might run with. And the big rise in the TAIEX today reflects the strong endorsement of Siew by both local and foreign investors.

No matter who Hsieh chooses as his running mate, whether it’s the best possible candidate (Tsai Ing-wen), the most widely expected one (Yeh Chu-lan, with her impressively lightweight background of 17 years in the advertising industry), or anyone else, he’ll find it all but impossible to eclipse the appeal of the very strong Ma-Siew ticket. I don’t see how he can hope to get better than 5~10 percentage points short of winning, and the outcome of the election is all but a foregone conclusion already.

I’m not out to discredit anyone, Omni. But if Siew’s appeal to the electorate is so great, how come he couldn’t carry Chiayi in two elections? Does he have any kind of appeal down south? The electorate is not all composed of wealthy construction company owners who make big $$ “A”-ing money off government projects to slather concrete across the island’s countryside.

I dunno…could it be…ummmm…lessee…wait…ummmm…politics? I agree that Siew has a done a good job pursuing liberalization policies in some areas. But then there’s APROC…

LOL. The Taiex has been rising recently, Omni. What opinion polls? Blue ones, or reliable ones?

Your faith is touching. The election will be another tight one, I think – even Lee Teng-hui couldn’t get more than 54% of the vote in a foregone election in '96, and I doubt Ma will be able to reach that level. Although I wouldn’t mind Tsai either. In fact, the DPP, as always, has many, many people who would be good mated on a ticket with Hsieh. The KMT, not so many, with Ma. LOL.

Feiren has some great comments over at Taiwan Matters on how Siew must look here.

If Ma wants to appeal to a small group of investors and businessmen who make $$ off government infrastructure projects, I think Siew was a great pick. I really think, given Ma’s innate conservatism, lack of forward vision, spine, and other leaderly qualities, that Siew was the best he could do. But that “best” is so far from what Taiwan needs in the 21st century.

Serious question: who would you say represents the up-and-coming generation of leaders within the KMT?


They don’t have anyone as far as I’m aware. I had quite high hopes of Apollo Chen, but he inexplicably lost his seat in the last LY elections, and we haven’t heard too much of him since then.

I am certainly not and couldn’t possibly be a supporter of the KMT in its present dinosauric state and while it’s still so largely under the sway of old Grandpa Lien. I rooted for Chen to win the last two presidential elections, not because I ever thought he would be a good president, but simply because the other candidates were so appalling. I am disgusted by the way the pan-blue majority have been behaving in the LY, and I’d dearly love to see them get their comeuppance in the coming legislative elections - though I fear there’s little real chance of that.

I just happen to have a higher opinion of Ma than you do. I believe that most of the less-than-admirable things he has said and done in the recent past have been done most unwillingly but out of necessity to appease the hardliners in his party. If he does become president, his leadership of the party will be secure, he’ll be his own man and all that will change.

I am delighted that we are going to have a contest between one reasonably worthy and one just-about-acceptable candidate for the presidency. It’s the first time the electorate have ever come anywhere near to having such a choice. While I’d much rather see Ma elected, it won’t be a disaster if he loses. And if both candidates have the best possible running mates, there will truly be a bright light at the end of the tunnel for Taiwan (especially given that both Ma and Hsieh are in jeopardy of being convicted of corruption - Hsieh more likely so than Ma - and either of those running mates could possibly be called upon to take over the presidency).

My ideal scenario is to have a small DPP majority in the LY with Ma and Siew in the Presidential Office. It’s hardly likely to happen, but that’d be as good as it could get for Taiwan.

and when I was little I put a lost tooth under my pillow
(because they told me to ),
and the fairy put a quarter there to find in the morning.
years later I woke up in a hospital after a drunken accident
and had to pay a dentist to pull a broken tooth out
(because that’s what happened )
-can you find the moral to the story?
communists excluded, they don’t know what morals are.

Thanks, Omni, for the serious answer. We differ fundamentally on Ma, and I think the pick of Siew shows all of his personal and intellectual weaknesses, as well as the weaknesses of his party. Ma is not a moderate but an ideologue posing as a moderate, and I suspect much of his “moderation” is simply a lack of decisiveness and general weakness on his part. I agree that Hsieh has a better chance of being convicted, though the case against Ma is open-and-shut. I think also Ma’s sell-by date is past; he’d have been much better as the 2004 candidate. But the great thing about the KMT is that it is so inept at running campaigns. And Hsieh, I’ve heard has a serious set up with some great ground troops. If the election is fair – and I suspect we’re going to see a ton of Chinese money flowing in for it – Hsieh has a good shot at winning.

I’m glad, personally, that the KMT has so few up and coming candidates. It starkly illustrates the difference between the rowdy DPP committed to the future. Hopefully demographics will overwhelm the KMT, it will shrink to be an insignificant minor party, and we can at last have some real Taiwan centered politics around here.

I’ve PM’ed you with some private stuff.


So a shift back to one-party politics, with DPP as the sole party? :astonished: