Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: The pot calling the kettle black

One could almost smell the irony last Friday when several members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), smarting at confirmation of the party's defeat in last December's Kaohsiung mayoral election, accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its candidate, Chen Chu (陳菊), of using "dirty tricks" to earn victory.

After all, it was supporters of KMT candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英) who were indicted for vote buying by Kaohsiung prosecutors. And although Huang and the party denied all knowledge of the incident, the executive of his campaign team, Su Wan-chi (蘇萬基), later admitted to having a relationship with one of the individuals accused of vote buying.

Those with short memories may also have forgotten that the KMT profited from making identical accusations during the 2005 campaign that saw Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) triumph in the race for Taipei County commissioner.

Yet the KMT continued to cast Chen as the villain in this particular drama, even going so far as to accuse her of interfering with the judiciary. One could put the accusations down to sour grapes, except that this ridiculous behavior has gone on for seven years, ever since the KMT lost the reins of executive power.

During this period -- if one is to believe its propaganda campaign -- the KMT has gone from being the richest political party in the world to a poverty-stricken organization that is struggling to make ends meet.

Party members who became ridiculously wealthy from a career in politics during the KMT's five decades of authoritarian rule can now apparently stand up guilt-free and proclaim the government "corrupt."

Of course, the endless stream of government officials indicted for filling their pockets has given credence to the KMT's claims, but do people seriously believe a party that has continuously blocked the corruption-busting "sunshine laws" in the legislature will reform a political system that runs on bribes and backhanders if it is returned to power?

The KMT has worked extremely hard to drag the DPP government down to its level in the public eye, labeling it with all the unwelcome titles it earned over the years in the hope this will help it come back into power.

This endless campaign has seemingly borne fruit. Despite broken promises of party reform, next year could well see the KMT win both legislative and executive power.

But peer through the veneer of respectability that presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has lent the KMT and the same old rotten core is soon revealed.

Voters must not forget that a vote for the KMT is a vote for a party that continues to tolerate illegal and thuggish behavior -- as evidenced by the "hero's welcome" given to legislator and convicted vandal Chiu Yi (邱毅) upon his release from jail on Tuesday.

A vote for the KMT is a vote for a party that according to the Taiwan News plans to employ 50,000 "election monitors" on Jan. 12 to intimidate voters into "forgetting about" the referendum on its stolen assets.

It is a vote for a party that during the last seven years has unreasonably blocked the government from passing countless laws advocating reform and has implemented a shady deal with the Chinese Communist Party that has harmed the nation's defenses and subverted its hard-won democracy.

Voters must keep the bigger picture in mind as they walk to the polling stations next spring, otherwise they may one day look back and realize they fell for one of the biggest "dirty trick" campaigns in history.

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