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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Soong becomes Mayor; Ma goes to the Presidential Office

This is a follow-up to Michael's post below. When I first heard DPP Taipei Mayoral Candidate Frank Hsieh mention the secret meeting between Mayor Ma Ying-jeou and the "Think Positive" Mayoral Candidate James Soong, I figured it must be a last-ditch attempt by Hsieh--a toss from the other side of the court in the last second of play--to split the Blue camp into blue and red. That is perhaps part of what happened. Indeed, if the polls are right, then that would be his only hope, and if Michael is right, then even that wouldn't be enough.

But then today I saw an ad in the United Daily News, apparently from Soong's camp (Sorry, I can't find it online). Across the top are the words: "Soong enters the City Government Office / Ma goes to the Presidential Office Building." Interestingly, Soong enters (jin進), while Ma only arrives at (dao到).

[UPDATE: A reader has kindly scanned the ad and mailed it to us. Click the image below to see a larger version. - Tim Maddog]

Below the proverb-like statement at the top is a large picture of Ma and Soong with hands clasped overhead, and standing in front of the ROC flag. Soong is speaking passionately into a microphone, and appears to be holding up the arm of the passive Ma, who holds a microphone at his waist. To the right of the picture are the words: "Tearfully voting for Chen Shui-bian's attendant (genban跟班) isn't as good as going all out in support of Little Ma's backbone (zhizhu支柱.

Below that, there is a picture of President Chen and KMT Mayoral Candidate Hau Lung-bin on a bike-ride together. Both are smiling and Chen is in the front saluting onlookers who are in the perspective of the newspaper-reader.

Then, down the left-side of the ad, there are seven bullet points.

1. You can't trust the polls. On December 3rd Hau Lung-bin himself admitted that the polls are empty.

2. Knowing Hau Lung-bin's situation, Ma actively arranged a meeting with Soong. He had obviously lost confidence in Hau.

3. The DPP only has 20% of the vote. Frank Hsieh can't possibly win, and 80% of the voters will select someone from the blue camp.

4. You don't want to repeat the disappointment of Huang Ta-chou and Jaw Shao-kong in 1994 (that's when Chen Shui-bian became Taipei mayor because of a split in what is now the blue camp). Jaw clearly won more votes and yet the media kept saying Huang was more popular in the polls.

5. You don't want to repeat the disappointment of James Soong and Lien Chan in 2000 (that's when Chen Shui-bian became president because of a split in the blue camp). Soong clearly won 1,740,000 more votes than Lien, and yet the media kept saying Lien was polling higher than Soong. So, you can't trust the polls.

6. Ma and Soong have formed an alliance.

7. If Soong becomes mayor, he will throw his support behind Ma's 2008 presidential bid.

Then, at the bottom, it says Soong will be leading a political rally in Da-an Park on Friday night.

I'm not sure how to read this, but judging from what I saw of the Soong and protege, Mike Wang, campaign in Xin Beitou this morning--they flooded the city center with their vehicles and overshadowed all of the other campaigns--it is not clear Soong is ready to give up or drop out at this point. I think he has the messianic self-perception and sense of reality that can only be matched by George W. Bush, and he obviously is a fierce fighter.

In any case, once again, Soong has succeeded in making Ma look weak and unsure. After all, Ma is now in the ads of both Soong and his opponent--Hau Lung-bin--and appears to be supporting both of them, even if he never agreed to the said alliance.

Or maybe Soong is just desperate.

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At 9:53 AM, Blogger Taiwan Matters said...

It's all tactics aimed at the intraparty politics. I'm still not convinced that Soong wants the mayoralty. He wants the Big Prize.

Look, Ma is getting hit from all sides. In the slush fund case, the prosecutor is Lee Teng-hui's friend. And Lee is probably friends with the people inside the KMT who hate Ma -- in public Lee might hack on the KMT, but in private you know he maintains those connections. I wonder if the whole prosecution of Chen the lame duck was really all about getting Ma. The alacrity with which the prosecutor went after Ma when Chen had been nailed makes me wonder.

Soong is also friends with that same crowd in the KMT who dislike Ma. I smell a spiderweb.

I think Ma's 2008 candidacy is in jeopardy. I think the elites just aren't comfortable with him at the helm, though I can't tell why yet. BEcause he is spineless? He might actually reform? He's an ideologue? You make the call.


At 12:50 PM, Blogger Wulingren said...

It might be the case that Soong doesn't want mayoralty--I don't know--but he and his people are clearly out on the streets campaigning. Maybe it is all just to get his underlings elected. We'll see how well they do. One thing I see in the ad I described is that Soong is perfectly willing to go after both Ma and Hau, and I don't see him bowing out before the election in two days, but of course: "Only time will tell."

I have thought since the rallies before the first recall that Soong was trying to knock Ma off his pedestal, and that he was behind the fire ant revolutionary brigade. It is interesting that he and his people have adopted the color red.

But do you think Lee Teng-hui is working together with Soong? Are all of these public figures just playing a big game of chess just for the fun of it, just to satisfy their egos?


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