Tsai Ing-wen is now the focus of both support and defaming

There have been quite event-packed lately, especially on the DPP side. A lot of debates about the nomination processes of the 2012 legislator and president elections, a lot of noises about who should be the president and vice president candidates, followed by moves made by all potential ones -- Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) announced "Constitutions with different interpretations" (憲法各表), Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced his new book 超越瞬間 (means "Surpass the Instance") and "Taiwan Consensus" (台灣共識); Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced the establishment of two DPP's think tanks (Security and Strategy Research Center 安全與戰略研究中心 and Economic and Social Affairs Research Center 經濟與社會研究中心) , and her view on Taiwan's future (和而不同); Former VP Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), too, extended her own think tank to include a China research division, and after weeks of attacking Tsai in very sarcastic manners - even compared Tsai to Chiang Kai-shih and Hitler -- announced her intention of running for the president, which is followed immediately by an anti-Lu-running-for-president facebook group established by facebookers. Supporters of Su coined a story that a DPP internal poll says Su has a higher support than Tsai has, followed by a rebuke that the DPP has done no internal poll so far. At the mean time, endorsements for Tsai to run for the president seat are coming out one after another from different groups (note that she hasn't expressed intention to run yet): scholars, students, WUFI (台獨聯盟) and The Formosa Statehood Movement (建州派)。Among all these, Su went to talk with Tsai for an hour in a supposedly "secret" meeting, allegedly talked about the presidency candidate race, but Tsai denied.

With so many election-related activities on the DPP side going on within just a short couple of weeks -- many could be critical enough to steel the direction of history in some way -- it is a bit surprise when blogger Frozen Garlic -- a researcher in the Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica -- said in his most recent post yesterday that nothing significant on the DPP side in the past 2 and half months --- while he did talk about what happened on the KMT side - like Ma will be the man and speaker Wang has no chance, etc, which is indeed "nothing significant". It continues with:

Tsai is probably ahead now, but I think she damaged herself by overplaying her hand in the battle for the nominations process. The DPP will have its presidential nomination in late April. (Why the rush? The election isn’t for another 11 months. Of course, as the leader, Tsai wants this decision made as soon as possible before anything happens to change the race.)

There indeed are arguments saying that deciding the DPP president candidate earlier would favor Tsai. But as far as I know, Tsai didn't express what she wants on this. In fact, whoever pays attention to Taiwan politics would have known that Tsai has always been tight-lipped on everything. It would be out-of-character for Tsai to express a self-favoring statement like that. It makes me wonder if Forzen Garlic's statement is substantiated by facts, or it is a biased impression expressed as a fact.

But real surprise came when DPP's nomination processes were distorted to vilify Tsai:

Tsai also got her way in the legislative nominations. She wanted the district nominations to be decided by telephone survey, with no party member voting component, and she wanted the party chair (herself!) to completely decide the party list. The latter, especially, is where I think she went a bit too far.

This is entirely wrong. The "telephone survey without party member involvement" was decided by the majority of central committee, not by Tsai. It was then passed in DPP's  National congress with landslide majority. And the the party list of candidates will be decided through free registration of whoever interested and then coordination. Only if the coordination fails, then the phone survey will step in (see here).

That is, in nowhere is Tsai authorized with the power of determining any candidate, let alone "completely deciding the party list." It is obvious that either Frozen Garlic is unaware of what he was talking about, or he simply came up with an untrue story to put blame on Tsai.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the DPP announced that it would forgo any nomination process in “difficult” districts, and the party would simply draft candidates for these districts. The problem is that their definition of “difficult” is so broad that it encompasses 40 of the 73 districts. In some of these, the DPP should probably be favored to win. This is ridiculous and simply a clear power grab. So much for the institutionalization of the rules of competition.

The draft process he described can be found here. He forgot to tell readers (or maybe he didn't know) that the draft in each difficult district will be carried out by DPP's core members from all sectors, but not by Tsai. Some of the responsible members are strongly against Tsai in many aspects, the nomination process included. A design this way would facilitate the "power distribution" among all sectors in the DPP, in effective reduces the power of chairperson. How would that be ridiculous and how would that be a "clear power grab?"

The lack of knowledge about the subject he studied and the way that the truth was presented in a distorted way to fit the context of "Tsai grabbing power" are quite a surprise, judging from the quality of his blog in the past.

Ever since Tsai gained more and more support, there are forces of all sorts trying to defame her. Some because of fear -- for example, Ma Ying-jeou refused to say her name but used "she" instead, admitting that saying her name will help put her in the spotlight and boost her fame. Some because of hatred -- a hidden hatred that you just can't rationalize, as revealed in some pro-blue (and some deep green!) supporters. I can't judge what category Frozen Garlic falls into, but I sure hope that his blog can go back to the usual quality asap.

Note: ironically, the title of his article is "catching up." Wish he has done that for real.


Frank [1/3/11 14:27] said...

I don't think Frozen Garlic is either deep blue or deep green. I just suspect he doesn't like Tsai Ing-wen very much. He probably thinks another DPP candidate has a better chance of becoming president.

Taiwan Echo [1/3/11 14:33] said...

From the way he wrote about Tsai, I would second that :)

I was told that he is a fan of Ma. That's ok with me, as long as being reasonable. I enjoy reading his posts most of the time. But IMO, the post, titled "catching up", is a shame.

Okami [1/3/11 17:25] said...

I always assumed he was agnostic due to his job and the repercussions of being seen as something less than an impartial observer. I asked for clarification on Tsai as his reporting seemed out of step with her public persona.

frozengarlic [4/3/11 11:15] said...

Echo, I think you are placing a bit too much importance on my opinions. You might want to focus on people who actually matter in Taiwan politics.

My point was simply that the DPP revising its previous nomination rules and concentrating much more power on the center. As chair, more of that power will accrue to Tsai than anyone else. Admittedly, I haven't been paying that close attention these past few months, and I may have missed something important.

I always find it amusing that people need to try to figure out my political stance in order to agree or disagree with me. The logic should stand on its own. I taught American politics one semester at my previous job in the states, and I, as a committed Democrat, was very careful to make sure that my examples did not alway portray the Democrats as good and the Republicans as bad. After all, some of the students supported the Republican party, and I had to teach them, too. At the end of the semester, I one of the students wrote what is still my favorite evaluation, "The professor is very good, but I wish he weren't so darn conservative."

Taiwan Echo [5/3/11 00:29] said...

Garlic, I sure place your opinions highly. We need more people who can express their thoughts as objectively as possible. Your blog is often a good practice, good enough for me to introduce it to my friends whenever possible. So, if the quality of your blog goes down, my reputation goes down with it :)

I believe that you are aware that my criticism on your post is based on facts but nothing else.

Like you, I am amazed by people who judge opinions based on political stances. I was a victim myself, often questioned by pro-independence supporters, sometimes in ugly manners. This situation happens in both camps. It will take a long time for that hobby to die down. We can only try to avoid it one small step at a time. In fact, I've seen quite a significant improvement during the past couple of years. I was mostly "palling around" green supporters. Just two years ago, simply suggesting TI supporters to read some articles from the blue camp would be questioned. It's not the case any more. More and more green supporters realize that interactions between two camps is healthy and cruicial.

Btw, didn't know you are a Democrat. Your favorite evalution shows the committment to maintain objectivity.

mike [10/3/11 01:58] said...

"I always find it amusing that people need to try to figure out my political stance in order to agree or disagree with me. The logic should stand on its own."

It depends what you are talking about; in politics, values are necessarily involved and thus potential disagreements. A description of what a given actor did may be factual, but heavily coloured by tone, linguistic ambiguity and decontextualization - as you well know.

"I am amazed by people who judge opinions based on political stances."

That might be because you're not inquiring into the premises inherent in certain political stances. There is a certain irony in dismissing the view of someone else simply because he or she has dismissed someone else's view, is there not?

I, for instance, am competent to dimiss Tsai Ing-wen because I can explicate the premises and arguments for why I have reached that conclusion.

Taiwan Echo [10/3/11 05:48] said...

Dear mike,

Everyone has a premise of his/her own, and often follows a logic ONLY valid within that premise. When two non-overlapping premises meet, both sides would argue the other side is irrational simply because he/she can't think within the realm of others' premises.

So, when one claims he can dismiss others' premises, it could mean others' premises is flawed, or his view is limited by his own premise.

But, that's in fact irrelavent to what Garlic and I said here. We are talking about a situation that people try to decide which side you belong to, and only when you told them that you are on their side (even if you lie) will they start listening to what you say. If you are not on their side, they close their ears. This happens on both green and blue sides.

mike [10/3/11 15:20] said...

TE - sure, I know exactly what your beef with garlic was. I just don't like the taste..

"When two non-overlapping premises meet, both sides would argue the other side is irrational simply because he/she can't think within the realm of others' premises."

Or because one party can think her way out from the premises held by the other but nevertheless has good reasons for stipulating to the invalidity of those premises.

The distance between two positions can sometimes be resolved by argument as to who is right so long as the gap does not go all the way down to ontology, e.g. are you an individual or are you a member-cell of a society? There can be no middle position.