Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: Gloves off: Time to knock and split

If you feel sympathy for the pan-blue camp, then the most offensive word of them all (in English translation) has five letters, not four. Funny thing is, the word keeps coming back to haunt them, despite all that has happened. Now that's irony.

By Johnny Neihu

Dare I say it? The very thought makes me titter with glee. It seems almost too fortuitous to be true. Faintly on the horizon lies the 2008 presidential election, and I believe I spy the makings of a pan-blue camp spl --

Wait, I can't risk it. No amount of knocking on wood would make this a safe bet. So no degree of premature optimism could induce me to utter that dirty five-letter word that has haunted the pan-blue camp since it was swindled into this democracy business. We need another term: Let's call it "candidate overload."

Yes, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters, the specter is rearing its ghastly head once again. Yes, it's that recurring nightmare, like the 7-Eleven chili dog that rips your bowels apart, but whose cheesy temptation you succumb to just the same, again and again.

You could hear the collective groan emanating from KMT headquarters as Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced this week that he would not participate in the party primary because, he said, the KMT bent the rules for the Indicted One, former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)(no argument from me on that). And although Wang hasn't officially said he's running for president -- well, he did, but later said he didn't -- the writing is on the wall.

Could it be that luck is still with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after all its travails? Could pan-blue "candidate overload" give the DPP a chance to redeem itself?

All I can say is that I've never felt so convinced that Ma is innocent. You heard me: innocent. If politics makes strange bedfellows, then Ma and the DPP should be spooning like they were fighting off hypothermia. It takes at least two for the pan-blue "candidate overload" tango, and a conviction would leave Wang dancing with himself.

Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy watching Mr Teflon being scrubbed with a Brillo pad just as much as anybody. But what a calamity for the green side if justice were served with his conviction.

So what if Ma got a little confused about the difference between things that belong to him and things that don't. Who doesn't? The line between collecting a salary and stealing from the public does get a little blurry now and then. And as Ma has admitted, he's been pilfering since 1988. Old habits are hard to break. Cut him some slack.

Yes, the DPP needs Ma in that race more than it needs him fighting for the cell's top bunk with KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅). And Ma has helped the DPP lately by taking another violent lurch across the political spectrum to the dark side (dark blue, that is) and exposing the dirty underbelly of his party and its intentions.

To fully appreciate this de-masking, we must revisit his drunken night out with Wang and honorary KMT lord of darkness Lien Chan (連戰) a couple of weeks ago.

As Ma stumbled out of the meeting, grinning idiotically and denying his inebriation with a high-pitched "Meiyou la" that would put the most dolled-up, low-rent SOGO xiaojie to shame, light was shed on the shrouded world of KMT decision-making.

While the evening's debauchery was ostensibly for "social" purposes (who spends his free time partying with Lien?) I can only imagine how many major KMT resolutions have been made under similar circumstances, with the attendees half in the bag, and dirty old men getting kisses from pretty young girls and downing glass after glass of red wine. Some things never change.

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