Sat, Oct 21, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: Impotence: it's the next big thing

God, it's tough being the boss of the KMT - if you're trying to be a nice guy, that is. Ma Ying-jeou may have popular support, but since when did that matter to KMT Central? And watch out for Chicom pandas: they might have Lien Chan's name on 'em.

By Johnny Neihu 強尼內湖

So what does it feel like to lead one of Taiwan's biggest political parties but have no power?

Just ask Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Lately, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman and shuaige-in-chief has been getting even less respect than the late Rodney Dangerfield -- and that's from people in his own camp.

This is what happens when you get elected KMT chairman with the overwhelming support of the party's rank-and-file members -- but against the wishes of legislators and petulant powerbrokers. It's also what happens when an anti-Chen campaign peters out into a sad clutch of red-clad desperadoes looking for a scapegoat to point their thumbs at.

The "Red Army" now accuses Ma of being too much of a wuss and not fanatical enough in demanding that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) step down. KMT legislators are breezily ignoring Ma's promises that they will actually, God forbid, legislate. And pan-blue powerbrokers are too busy empire-building to give their charming chairman any support.

With such a vacuum at the top, the pan-blue camp -- and its ugly stepchild, the pan-red camp -- is devolving into a tangle of plunging polls, recriminations, preening divas and backstabbing.

There hasn't been this much bitchiness on display since Sex and the City went into reruns.

Case in point: The launch of James Soong's (宋楚瑜) candidacy for Taipei mayor. According to our own Taipei Times, he said: "In choosing the future Taipei mayor, residents should consider candidates' abilities, instead of asking what a candidate's father or his party chairman can do."

Ouch. With that first barb, I think he's talking about you, Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) -- KMT candidate and son of former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村).

But despite Soong's catty swipe, surely Hau has the firm backing of the KMT leadership, right? One would think so. So how to explain the presence of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) at the lovefest that was Soong's campaign launch?

According to ETtoday and the United Daily News, Wang said that although he had to support Hau since he was the KMT's candidate, Soong was also a "very good" person for the job.

With supporters like this, Hau must be asking himself, who needs unprincipled, double-dealing, scheming enemies?

As if that wasn't bad enough for the KMT, independent lawmaker and media tart Li Ao (李敖) has thrown his pomelo hat into the ring. Li must be feeling especially cranky these days: He put a lot of effort into presenting himself as the only public figure who would wear red on a regular basis, then Shih Ming-teh (施明德) and his thousands of crimson-clad clowns come along.

Shih's campaign has also sucked up way too much air time -- and what oxygen is to the normal human being, news cameras are to Li Ao.

The man has been running dangerously low on media exposure. Wham! Along comes another election of national significance. Time to put things right.

His campaign platform serves up a steady dose of insults and cringe-inducing, sex-laced commentary to an ever more jaded TV audience. He already made good last week, announcing on Sisy Chen's (陳文茜) ludicrous talk show that Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were a pair of gounann? (狗男女; hint for non-Chinese speakers: it involves dogs and isn't very nice).

Meanwhile, honorary KMT Chairman Lien "I never met a Chicom I didn't like" Chan (連戰) was back in China last week applying his lips firmly to the rear ends of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) apparatchiks, with his shenzhu ("divine pig") son and entourage in tow.

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