It’s a dismal choice for Taiwan’s electorate – whoever wins, they end up losers.
Although I’m deeply disenchanted with A-bian’s performance, and am ever more deeply unimpressed by the man’s character and leadership skills, the thought of that other unholy duo leading Taiwan God knows where is enough to turn me into an ardent campaigner for his reelection. Unfortunately, I don’t see that he has more than a miniscule hope of pulling it off.
I love the idea of a Chen-Ma ticket that’s been floated about in the media recently. I don’t think it could possibly happen, because I’m sure that Ma is far too honourable to “betray” his party, however compelling the reasons may be for his doing so. But if the impossible were to happen, then that would surely be enough to tilt the balance against Lien and Soong. It would also add tremendous colour and excitement to the election campaign.
If Chen could team up with Siew, that might also be enough to put the contest in the balance – but again, as Siew is one of Taiwan’s most honourable politicians, I don’t think he’ll desert the KMT unless Lien and Soong effectively push him out. But even though he has deeply upset them by agreeing to act as Chen’s economic adviser and expressing quite overt criticism of the opposition’s tactics in the Legislative Yuan, they have not dared to openly censure him, so I don’t think that will happen.
My ideal scenario for May 2004, out of all the current possibilities (however remote), would be for Chen and Ma to be installed as President and Vice President, with Siew and P.K. Chiang appointed as Premier and Vice Premier, and the cream of technocrats from all parties appointed to positions in the Cabinet. But the chances of that happening are probably no more than one in a thousand.
So, there’s not much doubt that we are going to experience four years of President Lien, with Soong pulling most of the strings and manoeuvering to take over full control as soon as possible, in 2008 if not before.
BTW, does anyone else discern a resemblance between the honest and worthy James Soong and that other equally selfless and heroic leader, the late lamented Ferdinand Marcos?