Supporters of President Chen Shui-bian (
general as a victory.
Although the pan-greens are entitled to celebrate finally succeeding in having this important post filled, the appointment is not a victory for the pan-greens or even the Chen administration.
Rather, it is the natural outcome of the ongoing disintegration of the pan-blue "alliance," which was always more of a marriage of convenience than a love affair.
The People First Party (PFP) needs to be taken seriously by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) if it is to be taken seriously on the national stage. And the KMT needs the PFP out there on the fringe of reason and popular opinion, the bogeyman that could play perpetual spoiler to the Democratic Progressive Party's attempts at compromise, thus shielding the KMT from taking the blame for legislative impasse.
The PFP was the KMT's legislative agent provocateur, its shock troop.
If the KMT had simply ignored the PFP, it would have faded away long ago, never becoming anything more than the neglected bastard child of the once-popular egomaniac James Soong (
Now the shattered remnants of the party serve as a kind of monument to hubris, a testimonial of the dark hours of extremist demagoguery experienced by Taiwan's democracy.
So it was fascinating to look on as the decaying, disintegrating PFP turned on its erstwhile ally in an act of political cannibalism.
But why did they do it? Was the party's hotline to Beijing severed during last month's earthquake, like the undersea cables that connect the Internet across the Pacific?
Was it merely out of spite to the KMT?
Perhaps the simplest explanation is that the PFP is desperately seeking relevance.
The party's date with death was set when, years ago, the Legislative Yuan approved the reforms that will slash the number of legislative seats in half. Then its head popped off, long before its neck was even placed in a noose, after Soong ended his meteoric plunge into obscurity by retiring from politics and scampering off to the US.
Perhaps it was the contempt with which the KMT treated the PFP chairman during his embarrassing candidacy for the Taipei mayorship that soured the relationship. Maybe it was just personal. KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
Or maybe it was the interminable talk about a new "alliance" for the "pan-blue alliance," whatever that possibly could have meant. Most observers figured it simply meant the PFP would be consumed by the KMT, but Soong may have had different ideas.
In any case, it will be curious to see how the KMT will explain itself now that its little helper has turned tail.
It was only a short time ago that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
Who will the KMT blame now? Will the party finally take responsibility for its own actions? Will it stop using hollow excuses when it blocks common-sense policies, or will it try to offer compelling arguments in defending its choices?