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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

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The Hillary Clinton Solution

The KMT has a pretty serious presidential dilemma: its candidate for the March election, Ma Ying-jeou, is clearly the inferior one. What's the solution? The Hillary Clinton approach....

Last week the Taipei Times wrote on the recent spat between Chen and Ma, this the latest scenelet in the long-running tactic of the DPP to portray Ma as weak. Chen said:

Ma should stop pretending that the consensus exists, Chen said, before criticizing the KMT for canceling a plan to delete the consensus from an internal document over pressure from deep-blue supporters.

Chen called on Ma to "have balls and be brave," adding that otherwise he would not be able to resist Chinese military threats if elected president.

Chen also said that Ma lacks a political ideology of his own.

Ma opposed the lifting of martial law, the abolition of Article 100 of the Criminal Code and was in favor of indirect presidential elections at a time when activists were pushing for presidential elections by popular vote, Chen said.
Veteran political blogger A-gu had the transation of thrust and riposte from the pro-KMT Chinese-language paper The China Times:

扁馬交鋒,陳水扁總統四日在台南市火力全開,大談當總統要有LP、要有Guts,不要碰到壓力就退縮,還抨擊馬英九一路走來永遠是慢半拍、站錯邊。扁要馬不要再做「中國夢」,中國國民黨也應該把「中國」兩個字拿掉。
In the latest salvo in the war of words between [President] Chen Shui-bian and Ma ying-jeou, A-bian pulled all the stops in Tainan city today and during a speech said that a president needed balls and guts, that he could not retreat as soon as he met resistance, and attacked Ma for always beeing a step behind and standing on the wrong side. A-bian wants Ma not to keep dreaming the "China dream," and believes the Chinese Nationalist Party should remove "China" from their name.

馬英九辦公室回嗆,陳總統想當「炸彈人」,不顧形象口出惡言,要炸掉自己也炸掉別人,民眾不會上當。
Ma Ying-jeou's office shot back, saying President Chen wishes to be a suicide bomber, casually uses despicable language and wants to kill himself along with others, something the people will not accept.

Since Ma is widely perceived as weak -- typically, when I discuss politics with locals that is the one criticism of Ma that even his supporters agree with -- the DPP's approach is probably a wise one.

Ma's response also points up the KMT habit of hyperbole in describing Chen: as a Hitler, as Osama bin laden, and now as a suicide bomber. Note also that this is a description that won't resonate much for locals -- whereas Chen using a traditional insult to pick on Ma will probably have more force.

Most interesting is the KMT's constant attacks on Chen Shui-bian. Like Hillary for the Republicans, Chen engergizes the KMT base in a way that Hsieh does not. By keeping the focus on Chen, the KMT hopes to keep the Blue base stimulated.

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