Tue, Mar 09, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Pan-blues make fools of themselves

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) caught up with their competitors and took a lead in the polls after the Hand-in-Hand Rally grabbed international attention on Feb. 28. This has sent the pan-blue camp into a state of anxiety.

Holding large-scale rallies to show public support is a necessary tactic during the final, decisive stages of election campaigns. But the pan-blue camp has never been good at organizing mass rallies. Because the ticket of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) cannot afford to lose momentum, the pan-blue camp must hold a large-scale rally to try to stoke the campaign's fires. This is the primary motive behind the pan-blue rally slated for this Saturday.

Though it is a feeble attempt at imitation, it is a necessary effort for the pan-blue camp to make.

As for the purpose of the rally, it really doesn't matter. That was why the pan-blue camp initially planned to call its event an "anti-black gold" rally. Before long, however, the pan-blue camp found out that the theme amounted to political suicide because the Taiwanese public knows about the KMT's time-honored tactic of using local factions to consolidate central government power -- by allowing these factions to gobble up local resources.

The public is even more resentful about the KMT's tangled relationships with its cronies in business. "Black gold" was precisely the reason that the KMT lost the 2000 presidential election. Now, who can believe the KMT when it says it has transformed itself into an angel of justice, a crusader against black gold?

The KMT apparently saw an opportunity to brand the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a corrupt "black gold" party after the media reported accusations from businesspeople like Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪) and Chang Min-chiang (章民強) that some DPP officials had taken bribes. At least, the KMT probably believed such a tactic could counter the DPP's key campaign strategy of highlighting the KMT's corruption.

But many questions remain about the accusations from Chen Yu-hao and Chang. Much of the media and the public have suspicions about the political motives behind their accusations. By hyping the "black gold" allegations against the DPP, the pan-blue camp may have also stoked the electorate's resentment of the KMT's corrupt politics. The pan-blue camp may have lost more than it has gained.

DPP people were greatly excited when the pan-blue camp said it wanted to organize an "anti-black gold" rally. Many DPP people said they would take part in the rally. This could have transformed the pan-blue rally into a pan-green rally.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) also poured cold water on the pan-blue camp, saying "Black gold people opposing black gold -- ludicrous." This set off alarm bells in the pan-blue camp, which then dropped the absurd idea of holding a rally against black gold.

In its anxiety, the pan-blue camp came very close to turning itself into a big joke.

Yesterday, the pan-blues gave up the idea of cheating the public with that ridiculous cause. Instead, they decided to use "Save Taiwan, replace the president" as the theme of the rally.

To flex muscle and grab power is the political purpose behind the pan-blue camp's rally.

The Feb. 28 Hand-in-Hand Rally is now on record as the largest mass rally in the country's history. Everyone is curious how the pan-blue camp plans to attract people to its rally on Saturday.

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