Today, as Taiwan struggles economically, and faces many disparities and policy challenges — such as the dangers of over-dependence on China — even members of Ma’s own party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), are beginning to admit to his incompetent leadership and to issue warnings.
In addition, there is not only the long “laundry list” of failed promises from “6-3-3” on, but also Ma’s habit of duping the public by simply replacing failed promises with new ones. More serious issues involve broken promises regarding leveling the political playing field and disposing of the KMT’s “stolen state assets,” or those promises to bring about sincere forms of transitional justice and judicial reform.
Fortunately for Taiwan, it appears that the public is beginning to see more clearly and to be more demanding. Ma’s approval ratings after his re-election have continued to remain at a near rock-bottom levels. Increasing numbers of people are saying in polls that if they had the election again, they would vote for his opponent.
Ma has been in office for nearly five years and has had for all of those years a Legislative Yuan that his party and its pan-blue allies control; yet what real progress is there to show for it?
Sometimes it takes one incident; sometimes several, but hopefully the public learns. Voters make mistakes and they should face up to this fact. Nixon was proven not to be the man that so many voters had counted on when entrusting the US to him. They found that their perceived best interests were not their real best interests. They would have been dumb to allow such a man to remain in office.
And Ma and his party? Well, their future is up to the voters of Taiwan, who should continue to assess where Ma is leading them and ask if it is really in their real best interests.
Jerome Keating is a commentator in Taipei.