KMT's 5-City Campaign Strategy: Admit Incompetence on All Fronts

In the year-end election of Five Cities (五都選舉), the common perception was that the KMT will take the 3 on the north (Taipei, New Taipei City, and Taichung), and DPP will secure the 2 to the south (Tainan and Kaohsiung). KMT's original estimation was 3 easy victories, with the possibility of winning 4 or even 5.

The recent development, however, displays a dramatic twist of trend, indicating that the possibility of "KMT losing all 5" might not be too far fetched.

The signs are showing up on a daily or even hourly basis (see how exciting Taiwan's politics is). Public opinion polls from various sources -- including those from KMT's own, and that from blue media -- say DPP reaches a tie or even winning significantly in New Taipei City and Taipei, and is catching up quickly in Taichung. In Taiwan's politics, a tie in polls so early would mean that KMT will lose by ~20% in the real elections.

The alarming sign forced KMT to call for an emergency meeting on June, 19 (北北都選情拉警報 馬今密商).

At the mean time, KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), who was considered Ma Ying-jiou's last life-saving card and was hired to manage KMT's election campaigns in December, 2009, losing every single election since then, starts to spread news that he is not the one in charge (金溥聰自認非操盤手 只是總協調), paving the way for "it's not my fault" for the elections 5 months from now.

On the other side of aisle, DPP's candidate for Taipei Mayor, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is said to already leading KMT's candidate, the incumbent Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍彬), by an undisclosed large margin in KMT's internal poll. DPP's chairperson and candidate for New Taipei City, Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) is on an unstoppable speed train to a wider and wider popularity. People are saying that DPP's "Tsai Era" has come (蘋論:民進黨蔡英文時代來臨) or Taiwan's "Tsai Era" is here (台灣的蔡英文時代來臨). She is ranked #1 in the popularity in Taiwan's facebook in the category of political figure (蔡英文臉書facebook政治人氣榜奪冠 ). Some say that they would move to New Taipei City such that they can play a role in this era by casting a vote to Tsai (小英效應). Positive comments are coming from both green and blue camps, including some blue media that used to avoid positive news of green camp.

In contrary, her counter part, KMT's chairperson Ma Ying-jeou, whose degree of extraordinary incompetence is still deeply impressed in the mind of Taiwanese (in spite that he is still the favorite of many international media), is very very quiet from all these heating developments. Not very much spotlight is focusing on him, as though that he has disappeared. In previous local elections, Ma was seen as a plague of election (票房毒藥) many KMT candidates chose to avoid.

Now, among all these down turns, KMT hired Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) as the campaign adviser on June, 22 (BCC boss to serve as KMT adviser for year-end polls).

Jaw is one of the cofounders of New Party - a party that is categorized as "red" in Taiwan's "green-middle-blue-red" political spectrum. That is, it is even more pro-China than KMT in the blue camp is.

In a fast evolving political environment, people quickly learn that a common ground in the middle that fits most of the people is the best way to go. Forces on the extreme sides of the political spectrum would quickly fade out from the political battle field.

It was the fate of New Party, and that of Jaw's, too, who retired from the political arena after he lost to Chen Shui-bian in Taipei Mayor election in 1994.

Therefore, the re-appearing of a New Party heavyweight like Jaw to advise KMT on campaign indicates a desperate need of KMT to secure its own - and often extreme - supporters. It is a sign that KMT is losing blood in an unimaginable scale on all fronts, to an extent that they can hardly secure their own traditional base, let alone to spare attention on the middle ground.

The extent of KMT's desperation might be even much deeper if we take into account Jaw's past relationship with KMT. In the 1994 election mentioned above, Jaw insisted in competing with KMT's then incumbent Mayor Thomas Huang (黃大洲) and DPP's Chen Shui-bian even he was warned that he could split blue voters. Shortly prior to the election, that possibility suddenly came into his mind, so he asked his supporters to vote for Huang instead. But it was too late. Chen won (Chen 44%, Jaw 30%, Huang 26%, from here), in an election that marked the first in Taiwan's history in which the split of blue camp directly contributes to blue's loss.

That is, Jaw's act practically sabotaged the election and caused the KMT to lose. At least that's what people have in mind, and possibly that's why he had to retire.

Now, KMT is asking a guy who sabotaged their victory before to run the election for them. This shows how desperate KMT is.

With their history, the outcome of this desperate move might be in serious doubt. Jaw announced that he would "use his experience running in Taipei mayoral and councilor elections" to plan KMT's campaign. Again ?

Lets see ... on 6/24, two days after his appointment, he announced his campaign plan for the KMT (趙少康:蘇郝民調打平 郝就是輸). He started with a statement that according to the current opinion polls, KMT already lost in New Taipei City and Taipei.

He then pulled out his 3-step rescue plan for KMT's Taipei candidate Hau Lung-bin:

1. Tear down the bicycle path on Dunhua North Road and the bus path on Zhongxiao East East Road (拆除敦北自行車道、忠孝東路公車專用道).

The bus path on Zhongxiao East Road is one of the things Ma Ying-jeou bragged about for his "achievement" in his 8-year Taipei Mayorship prior to Hau. The path is badly and carelessly designed like most, if not all, of Ma's major management plans are, and has turned into something that brought inconvenience to and complaints from citizens.

So the first thing Jaw suggests Hau to do is to tear down Ma's "achievement", in a way showing how incompetent Ma is, hoping to reflect that Hau's current bad performance is not entirely his fault.

The indication in his statement might not be far from the fact. In an earlier interview, DPP's Taipei city councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) revealed that Hau's team in Taipei city was very angry about Ma. She described that Hau and his team couldn't do any thing forward because they have to spend full time cleaning up all those messes Ma created and left.

But for a KMT-hired strategist to put "trashing Ma" as the first step of campaign plan ?

2. Hau should admit that he didn't do well in the past 3 years so he can beg people for the second chance (承認過去三年做得不好,要選民再給一次機會).

Urrhh ... just how on earth is that gonna sell ?

3. "Effect of chicks-boost-hen" -- asking for the endorsement from the city councilor candidates in order to boost Hau's popularity (尋求議員候選人支持,以達到「小雞帶母雞」的效果)。

In Taiwan, when we apply the term "hen-boosts-chicks" (母雞帶小雞) to the politics, it means that a candidate of higher level elections (the hen, like city mayors, etc) is so popular that he/she can boost the popularity of lower level candidates (the chicks, like city councilors). In that case, lower candidates would fight for the spotlight of having a photo with "the hen".

On the other hand, higher level candidates who are so unpopular will be considered "plague of election", or "toxin of voting" (like Ma ying-jeou is now if he chooses to be a candidate) so the lower level candidates will avoid him/her at all cost.

What Jaw suggests now is to reverse the process to "chicks-boost-hen", asking lower level candidates to endorse an unpopular high level candidate whom they would otherwise avoid.

The meaning is clear: Hau is so disliked by the people, not only can't he play the "hen" role but also he has to rely on lower level candidates to risk their own elections to win.

Again, just how on earth is that gonna work ?

So, a summary of Jaw's plan:

1. Emphasize how incompetent Ma is in order to argue Hau is not that guilty;

2. Emphasize how incompetent Hau is in order to bag for the 2nd chance;

3. Admit how unpopular Hau is so he needs to ask KMT's lower level candidates to sacrifice in order to save his own ass.

Interestingly, this strategy of "incompetence admissions" is announced to the public, not delivered in an internal meeting.

Similar observations came up today. Both articles (in Chinese) cover much broader range of "phenomena" than mine :

(Five City Election: KMT's momentum is gone)

五都選戰--金馬指揮部亮紅燈 國民黨可能兵敗五都
(Five City Election: Red Alarm in King-Ma Commanding Center, KMT Could Lose All Five)







可能的實際操作步驟上的要點,則是 :

1. 避免跟對手硬幹,用一分實力虛晃一招稍微批評一下就好;

2. 用兩分實力來誇大自己的好處;

3. 剩下七分實力,則全部用在挑撥離間,譬如:
  • 不斷讚美許添財、楊秋興兩人是人才,甚至不惜說兩人「比國民黨候選人還優秀」;
  • 以正義者之姿替兩人抱不平,既可藉此栽贓民進黨,又可將敗者的不甘慢慢烹煮加熱使其不會退溫;
  • 還必須不時透過媒體製造失敗者欲「脫黨參選」的謠言;












Ma to Send More Military Instructors to Campus -- Elementary Schools Included

When I was educated decades ago back in Taiwan, military instructors (MIs) stationed in campus represented the potential terror of KMT's political persecution. They monitored not only the behaviors but also the thoughts and the words of students'. A summon by the MIs to their offices was the most fearful in the mind of many students. Some of us had the shocking experiences of realizing that MIs in the campus held your file of loyalty records -- records of loyalty not only to the country but also to the KMT, even if you were not KMT members.

As Taiwan went on to a speedy march toward democracy, during which the KMT government stepped down in 2000, the new government led by DPP worked hard to remove campus MIs with a policy "military instructors out of the campus" (軍訓教官退出校園). The plan was to stop adding new position and stop refilling opening ones, thus reduces the total amount of MIs gradually until there's none.

Unfortunately, after Ma Ying-jeou took power in 2008, Ma government turned that policy 180 degrees around. Not only the opening of old positions are re-filled, but also the number of positions will be largely increased.

Last year (2009) I talked about the intention of Ma Ying-jeou's regime in this regard (Ma Govt to Extend Thought Control to Elementary Schools):

in the name of "defense education," Ma Ying-jeou government's Ministry of Education's Department of Students' Military Training (DSMT, 軍訓處) is amending a "Plan of Improvement and Adjustment of Military Training Officers Missions in High Schools" (my translation of 高級中等學校軍訓教官工作精進與調整方案) to include junior high and elementary schools into the radar of their thought control ((員額不減 教官擬轉進國中小).

DSMT denied such a plan, despite it is clearly written in their web document, which was removed in 24 hrs after its announcement invited rage from the public (see my previous article mentioned above for links). But at the same time Minister of Education admitted that military instructors will be sent to elementary schools for nothing more than "teaching Taiwanese kids lessons" of "national defense."

The subject seems to quiet down since then. However, behind the spot light, the turned-around policy proceeds as planned. This year, Ma regime will station 303 more military instructors, increasing the total number by ~ 10% (全民國防教育將起跑 教官暴增).

If you think that Ma Ying-jeou is bringing Taiwan back to the era of white terror when Chiang KS was in power, take a deep breath --- in the Chiang KS era, the campus MIs didn't go to the elementary schools to bother kids. Only senior high schools and colleges were subjected to the monitor of MIs.

Thus, Ma Ying-jeou didn't stop at turning the policy of reducing campus MIs around. He took a step further to make sure that the military control on Taiwanese students starts from the elementary level.