Fri, Feb 01, 2008 - Page 8 News List

The DPP may still have a card left to play

By Li Kuan-long 李坤隆

FOLLOWING THE LEGISLATIVE elections, many people seem to think that the presidential election in March is already decided. Yet the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) seems to be returning from the dead, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) acts as if nothing has happened.

Looking at the recent green card incident, regardless of where DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) got his information about the status of his opponent Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) US green card, the effort to collect this information still deserves credit.

In particular, the DPP's electoral strategies are far more skillful than the KMT's. With more than one month to the election, it will become more and more difficult to say which party will win the election if the approval ratings between the two candidates continue to shrink as a result of mutual strategic attacks.

In fact, the way the DPP has been handling the green card incident is similar to its past electoral strategy in that it only disclosed part of the evidence in the beginning to reel in its opponent.

When opponent failed to respond, it provided further evidence until the opponent felt the pressure. Then the DPP played its trump card.

Using this strategy, the DPP can predict the outcome depending on the KMT's response, and in the end it is guaranteed to come out unscathed and on top.

This mentality could often be seen in the DPP' electoral strategies in the past. It is just that the coming presidential election is vital to the party's survival.

The DPP must invest more resources to fight this last battle and may even be prepared to sacrifice both itself and its opponent in order to win the election.

The DPP will therefore only become more aggressive, which makes one wonder why the KMT is not fighting back.

From a tactical point of view, the DPP probably has not obtained complete information regarding whether Ma's green card is still valid.

In other words, it will not be the last blow that defeats Ma, and that is why it is being used at this time. However, the incident has already exposed Ma's insufficient ability in crisis management.

What will Ma be able to do when Hsieh plays his trump card?

It's often said that the DPP focuses its electoral resources on the last three days prior to an election and that what it does at other times is just a warm-up.

Therefore, there is sufficient reason to believe that the green card incident is just a test of the Ma campaign team's capabilities. The closer we get to the election, the more direct the Hsieh campaign's attacks will become, making it difficult to predict the final outcome of the election.

Past experience shows that the DPP is better at campaigning than the KMT. People often ignore the DPP's efforts prior to the election that make it really hard for the KMT to catch up.

After all, you have to know both yourself and your enemy in order to win on the battlefield. The same is surely true for election battles.

Li Kuan-long is a lecturer at the Kaohsiung campus of Shih Chien University.

TRANSLATED BY TED YANG

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