There's no doubt that the fiasco caused by former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan's (陳哲男) alleged involvement in the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) controversy has sabotaged the images of both President Chen Shui-bian (
While Chen Shui-bian and the DPP leaders applied instant damage control by apologizing to the nation and stripping Chen Che-nan of his party membership and two medals that the president had conferred on him when he retired from the Presidential Office, it no doubt helped the pan-blue alliance gain political points ahead of the local elections.
Despite a lack of concrete evidence linking Chen Che-nan to corruption or misconduct in the KRTC scandal, some pan-blue politicians have been exploiting the situation, putting a spin on it based on unfounded claims. For example, independent Legislator Chiu Yi (
The claims made by many opposition figures are obviously tainted by individual or political interests, and often lack the smallest shred of credibility.
What should the public learn from such political maneuvering? Chen Che-nan's case holds up a mirror to politicians and the media, offering them the opportunity for introspection. Let the full truth be known.
The media should refrain from reporting on events staged by politicians trying to excuse their own misconduct or making unfounded accusations. The press should also weigh their own commercial interests against the responsibility of educating and informing the public, and avoid becoming a propaganda machine for a certain political party or individual.
The question remains: To what extent can the DPP absorb the accusations surrounding the scandal and introduce stricter internal discipline to regain the public's confidence?
What Chen Shui-bian and the DPP should do now is buck up, suck up and come back when they fouled up. One of the reasons why people who persevere often succeed in the end is that they put themselves in a position to win.
The easiest way to be undefeated is to never compete. But those who don't try, who don't fight, who don't compete, are losers already.
The president and the DPP must seize the opportunity to accentuate the need for both structural and political reforms. And society as a whole must see the event as a turning point in the incorporation of clean politics into Taiwan's political system.
The opposition politicians must also bear in mind that the more they try to use the DPP's foul-ups to accumulate political points, the more the voters will be disappointed with them. Real winners know they've got to lose a lot. The key lies in a determined will and timely self-reflection.
What Taiwanese democracy needs now is perseverance, toughness and tenacity. As a country struggling with the deepening of democracy, Taiwan yearns for more discipline, institutionalization and order in all phases of its national life.
Upset with endless political finger-pointing, a sense of political chaos and instability, political manipulation of ethical problems, and now a sense of political decay in the DPP, voters are looking for national reconciliation and strong leadership that can bring forth an institutionalized political system, an independent judiciary and a well-disciplined society.