Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - Page 8 News List

A leader needs to act, not only talk

By Liu Shih-chung 劉世忠

After witnessing three former democratically elected presidents with egoist and populist personalities, Tsai seems to realize that she needs not limit her goals, but she must bend her knees and take smaller steps to seek greater public support.

Cautious, pragmatic and incremental are the words that describe Tsai’s unique leadership style, as displayed by her slow steps to deal with DPP’s internal factional politics and unveil a campaign platform. However, this could have both pros and cons. It depends on whether Tsai’s less-populist approach can not only stimulate pan-green supporters, but also attract more middle-of-the-road voters. The KMT has already started negative campaigns against Tsai to link her working relationship with Lee and Chen. Tsai will have to find a strategy to avoid being discredited.

A smart Taiwanese political leader will have realized that the national mood has changed. Exhausted by partisan disputes and extremism regarding the unification/independence dichotomy, the country wants its politicians to get together and compromise. Individual interest groups also want presidential candidates to come up with feasible policies to address their grievances.

Taiwan’s next president should keep in mind that a politician does not just need public support to win elections: He or she needs it to govern.

Effective leadership is demonstrated by “action,” not by “image.”

Liu Shih-chung is a research fellow at the Taipei-based Taiwan Brain Trust.

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