Sun, Nov 07, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Time to step down

By Richard Hazeldine

Having just gotten back to Taiwan after two years overseas it's nice to see that not much has really changed.

An earthquake and typhoon in my first week back, legislators on the news behaving like children while throwing things at each other, and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-Jeou's (馬英九) Cheshire cat grin on almost every street corner.

However one thing that really should have changed during these last two years has somehow managed to remain the same.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Lien Chan (連戰) is still the leader of the KMT.

Does this man have no shame? You would have thought that two election defeats would be enough to convince even the most arrogant person that they just haven't got what it takes to win.

As if coming a disappointing third place four years ago wasn't enough, a second attempt, running in tandem with the ever-popular People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), couldn't convince a majority of the Taiwanese people to give him a mandate.

It's about time he realized that all the political science degrees and English skills in the world won't help you win an election if you lack charisma -- and sadly, this is Lien's downfall.

He may be rich and a powerful figure within the KMT, but he is about as exciting as a wet weekend in Keelung.

Simply put, he has no voter appeal. Instead of blaming himself, he attributed his defeats to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), and then the March 19 assassination attempt.

Look at the US and this week's presidential poll for an example of how this quality can work. US President George W. Bush has been a disaster for the US and the rest of the world.

He also lacks many personal qualities, but even he has charisma and he uses this to appeal directly to his supporters.

Lien should also look at the US and take a leaf out of Senator John Kerry's book.

Instead of starting conspiracy theories and encouraging civil disorder in a bid to cover up his election shortcomings, he should concede defeat gracefully and be content with a back seat role within the KMT.

Only then will he be behaving like the statesman he so desperately wants to be.

And maybe then he might finally earn the respect and popularity he desires from the electorate.

Richard Hazeldine


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