slander and libel

Nothing in this post, so far as I know, has a basis in fact.  It is all idle speculation by yours truly.  I have no reason to believe that any of these people actually engaged in any of the behaviors I will discuss.  The following are simply ideas that I might pursue if I were in their shoes.  Mostly, I think this is solid proof that I lack moral character, have no ethics, and do not know right from wrong.  But…

I’ve been thinking about Chen Xuesheng 陳學聖 and how the local KMT figures reacted to him.  For person after person, I don’t see why they should have supported him.

Consider Zheng Jinling 鄭金玲.  She was elected to the Provincial Assembly in 1994, moved to the legislature in 1998, and has been there since.  She was elected in the Taoyuan County district race in 1998, 2001, and 2004, and moved to the party list in 2008.  If I remember correctly, Zheng came up through the Huang Fuxing 黃復興 (military) party branch.  She gets a disproportional amount of her votes from Zhongli City 中壢市, and especially the military-dominated neighborhoods there.  In 2008, there were three districts that she could reasonably settle in.  Taoyuan 3 includes most of her Zhongli base, except for the military neighborhoods.  Toayuan 5 includes Longtan 龍潭鄉  and Pingzhen 平鎮市townships.  It has a lot of military votes, and Zheng has done moderately well there.  It isn’t her best choice, but it would do.  Taoyuan 6 has Daxi 大溪鎮, Fuxing 復興鄉, and Bade 八德市 townships plus the military neighborhoods from Zhongli City.  So it has her core area, but most of the district is territory that she hasn’t done as well in.  When the KMT passed out districts in 2007, they found themselves with four people for these three districts.  Sun Daqian 孫大千 got Taoyuan 6, Zhu Fengzhi 朱鳳芝 got Taoyuan 5, and Wu Zhiyang 吳志揚 got Taoyuan 3.  I’m not sure why Sun got Taoyuan 6, but he has a proven track record of attracting votes.  Zhu is the most senior KMT legislator in Taoyuan, and she probably got her first choice.  (She also has a very similar background to Zheng’s, having come up through the Huang Fuxing system.)  Wu Zhiyang is the son of then-KMT party chairman Wu Boxiong 吳伯雄.  I don’t think Wu Boxiong was going to let someone else have his hometown.  Zheng was left out, but she did get a compensation prize: a seat on the party list.  Wait, isn’t a seat on the party list better?  After all, you don’t have to fight an election campaign.  True, but from a career perspective, one of these three seats is still better than a spot on the party list.  The KMT only has 17-20 spots to hand out every election cycle, and the competition for those spots is intense.  Being on the list this time is no guarantee that you will get a spot next time.  In contrast, Sun Daqian is almost certain to be re-nominated and re-elected to his seat.

When Taoyuan 3 opened up, Zheng could not run for the seat.  She is, after all, already a legislator.  However, if I were in her shoes, I would not be eager to see Chen win that seat and take possession of it for the next decade.  It would be much better for her if some non-descript DPP figure (Huang Renzhu 黃仁杼 is perfect!) beat Chen so that Zheng could run against him in the next general election.  In a contest in 2012 between Zheng and Huang in Taoyuan 3, Zheng has to be a heavy favorite.

I’m not saying that Zheng worked against Chen in this election.  It would be very dangerous for her to be exposed as helping one of the minor candidates or, worse, Huang.  The penalty would probably be her seat in the legislature, which the party can take away at any time.  She certainly would not be nominated in 2012.  But I might find that some particularly time-consuming task in the legislature didn’t leave me any time to go home to stump for Chen or organize my network on his behalf.

(One argument against this: Zheng is 64.  She might just retire after this term.)

What about Wu Zhiyang?  Wu has just moved up to county executive, so he shouldn’t care too much about who takes over his old seat, right?  Perhaps, but we know that Chen is an ambitious person.  He was already dreaming about becoming Taipei mayor while he was still a member of the city council, and publicly proclaimed he would be Ma’s successor as early as about 2001, if my memory is correct.  Objectively, however, he was never the KMT’s leading candidate, and when he lost his re-election campaign in 2004, his hopes for winning the 2006 mayoral nomination were finished.  What did he do?  He moved to Kaohsiung and announced his intention to become mayor there.  That didn’t work out either, but you can see where this is leading.  He clearly thinks that he is underplaced in the legislature.  Based on his track record, you have to expect that he would have started planning his campaign for Taoyuan County executive the day after he won the by-election.  If I am Wu Zhiyang, this is a headache I don’t need.  I would like to be re-nominated in 2014 with no competition, please.

Coincidentally (?), there were grumbles coming out of the Chen camp that a certain party elder hadn’t done enough to convince the two independent candidates to withdraw.  There is only one party elder with that much clout in the Zhongli area, and he happens to be Wu Zhiyang’s father.  Perhaps he also thought that Chen Xuesheng and his ambitions didn’t need any encouragement.

The same logic can be extended to the 2018 county executive race.  Chen might decide not to challenge Wu in 2014, but you have to think he would run for the open seat in 2018.  (Zheng Jinling, in contrast, probably would not be a serious challenger.)  All of the other hopefuls probably don’t see this as a desirable state.  For example, Sun Daqian will be almost perfectly positioned to run in 2018.  He also has lots of connections in Zhongli City…

I have no idea what the story is between Zhongli City mayor Ye Buliang 葉步樑 and his deputy mayor Lin Xiangmei 林香美.  Both of them wanted the nomination.  In the KMT’s polls, Ye came in first, Lin second, and Chen Xuesheng was third.  When the KMT nominated Chen, one of the reasons Jin Pucong 金溥聰 gave was that if he had nominated either Ye or Lin, the other would have run as an independent.  In the event, as soon as Chen was nominated, Lin announced she was running, and Ye announced his immediate and enthusiastic support for Chen.  There must be a fascinating soap opera that we don’t know about.  At some point these two were close enough allies that Ye chose Lin as his deputy mayor.  At any rate, Chen Xuesheng paid the price for their enmity.

I was first exposed to Taiwanese politics in Nantou County in the early and mid 1990s.  During this time, the local DPP exploded from relative harmony into a war of Peng Baixian 彭百顯 against everyone else (most notably Zhang Junhong 張俊宏, Lin Zongnan 林宗男, Cai Huanglang 蔡煌瑯).  It took me a few years before I finally accepted that not only were they not on the same team, they hated each other passionately.  From this, I learned never to overlook the divisions among one’s purported allies.

Let me reiterate, I have no insider knowledge of what happened in Taoyuan this time.  These scenarios all came out of my twisted brain.  There is no evidence for any of them.


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