What started as probes into the use of President Chen Shui-bian's (
Last week, investigations were launched against several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights, including Vice President Annette Lu (
Also last week, KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (
If the purpose of all these lawsuits and investigations is to highlight that no one is above the law, then the mission has been accomplished. If the intent of all these lawsuits and investigations is to highlight that the system needs fixing, then that too has been successful.
However, if the mission is to convince the voters and the public that the manner in which special funds are used by some politicians is perfectly acceptable, then these people will have to do better. While it may be true that just about "everyone is doing it" and that the law is arguably fairly ambiguous in some critical components, it would be self-deceiving to say that these politicians do not know deep inside that they are treading in "gray areas." These are well-educated and intelligent people. They had a choice: to be just like everyone else or to rise above the fray. As to how some politicians performed on this test, the answer is pretty clear.
Ma's "saint-like" image has just about been destroyed. While his supporters run around the cities telling that everyone else was also doing "it," Ma has been reduced to just another one of those "politicians." The justification offered by Ma's advocates is reminiscent of that famous line uttered by Hong Kong action movie star Jacky Chan (
Ironically, if Ma is indeed indicted for forgery and corruption, then the KMT will not even be allowed to nominate him to run in the next presidential election. The party has an anti-corruption regulation under which members who are indicated must be suspended from the party. If Ma's membership is suspended, he will of course not be qualified for the nomination. Should that become a reality, it would be as devastating a blow to the party as it would be to Ma, as the entire pan-blue camp has pined its hopes on him for presidential victory in 2008.
Under the circumstances, some KMT members are already talking about amending the KMT regulation so that Ma would be able to run for the party despite his indictment. However, this would only serve to further damage Ma's -- and the KMT's -- image.