Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: The PFP is dying a disgraceful death

The pan-blue camp's obstructionist tactics in the legislature have been commented on here many times over the years, but the latest theatrics of the People First Party (PFP) are something special and worth noting.

Full of bluster, the party on May 15 attempted to impress its supporters on the street and sympathizers in the pan-blue camp generally with threats to topple the Cabinet, even though the new executive line-up was still in the process of forming with the resignation of former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Yesterday, in calling the PFP's bluff, a majority of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers invited the PFP to live up to its word, and offered a motion that would topple the Cabinet if it obtained a reduced number of votes from more aggressive elements in the pan-blue camp.

But the PFP, when offered the sword with which it could have prematurely slashed the legislature in half, blinked.

With Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) in absentia in body as well as spirit since his dire campaign to become Taipei mayor, the remaining legislators have been struggling for attention and relevance, all the while mired in an obnoxious mixture of histrionics and conceit.

But now that the PFP has refused to exercise the only real power that it will have, it has signaled that the struggle has come to an end.

The curious thing about the party is that even now it carries currency with key sections of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has been reluctant to crush it underfoot, which it surely could do if it chose to.

Why the KMT would waste its time and resources negotiating with a basket case party when it could be wooing pan-green-camp supporters is an interesting question, and possible answers provide no comfort to pan-blue-camp supporters.

It is as if the KMT wants the PFP's members to segregate themselves from the larger party so that they pose no internal challenge as closing dates for legislative nominations loom.

Potential rivals are better handled at arm's length, it seems, before being sent to their doom.

At the same time, the KMT seems absolutely unable to take decisive and swift action that eliminates threats from within or from those it nominally describes as allies.

This contrasts markedly with the DPP, which has been openly contemptuous toward the Taiwan Solidarity Union, a sign of ruthlessness or political maturity, depending on which part of the pan-green-camp spectrum one favors.

With the PFP hanging around, the slightly less clownish behavior of the more extreme members of the major parties seemed to look just that little bit more mainstream.

In this respect, as well as for many other reasons, the PFP will not be missed after its likely demise in the next legislative elections.

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