Mon, Oct 23, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Shih's hidden agenda

By Joshua Chengyung Fu

Does anyone really know the real reason behind Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) campaign to force President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) out of office? Has anyone actually figured out his genuine motives?

Can it be that he wants to expand his 15 minutes of fame and get back into the political spotlight?

By tossing out the obvious campaign statement that the reason behind Shih's campaign to oust the president is to clean up the current Taiwanese government (which is already in a weak position), both the pan-green and the pan-blue camps need to start worrying about the possible effects that such an explosive personality as Shih might have on their campaigns to win the 2008 presidential election.

The campaign adviser for KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) or any other serious contender for the 2008 bid should be very worried about Shih's next move.

We all know that Shih's current campaign to oust the president will not succeed in its stated purpose. Chen is not going to step down over what remain as allegations, nor should he, as the popularly elected leader of Taiwan for the past six years.

We also all know that Shih is not likely to give up the public spotlight that has earned him enough political credit to work in his favor for his future. So what will be the next step for Shih?

There are three possible options: Shih joining the pan-blue camp and possibly joining Ma's 2008 ticket; Shih running for a legislative seat; or Shih running as an independent in the 2008 presidential election.

Although Shih has a very good chance of winning a legislative seat, his influence would be limited since he does not belong in either the pan-blue or pan-green camps.

This is also why Shih will not join the pan-blue camp because for that camp, red is still not blue.

So if Shih actually wants to exert maximum influence and extend his 15 minutes of fame, running as an independent in the 2008 president election is his most viable option.

Though he probably won't win the election, he will be able to leverage his advantages and ask those who might need him to step down for a position in power.

Even a failed presidential run would still be more impressive than any of his previous political stunts.

This brings the obvious question of who would Shih hurt more in a three-way race for the presidency.

Shih will only affect those in the middle of the road -- from the light green to the light blue -- for those with dark hues of green or blue have already cast their vote in their hearts and cannot be influenced otherwise.

As for a bid to win the presidential election, both the pan-blue and pan-green camps need to maximize their number of uncommitted (light blue-green) voters in order to gain large enough a percentage to win the election.

This in turn hurts Ma the most as he has been and still is considered the frontrunner to win the next presidential election because of his appeal to moderate uncommitted voters in Taiwan.

Joshua Chengyung Fu

Taipei

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