There have been two big news stories in recent days that have the potential to fundamentally alter this year’s elections. First, the TSU’s petition for a referendum on ECFA was rejected by the reviewing committee. The DPP has declared all-out war. I don’t know exactly what this means (and so far it isn’t very much), but if the DPP gets too radical, it could marginalize itself. On the other hand, there isn’t exactly a groundswell of support for ECFA. The DPP simply shouldn’t overplay its hand.
Second, Jason Hu has trouble with organized crime in Taichung. This is the kind of development that could derail his re-election campaign. It isn’t a big enough story to do that yet, but if we keep hearing new angles to this story and we are still talking about it in two or three months, all bets are off. Public safety and local elections are a nightmare combination for the KMT. On the other hand, 2010 doesn’t feel much like 1997 in several ways. In 1997 there had been public anger building about organized crime in politics for several years. The Bai Xiaoyan case simply focused that anger. And when Chen Jinxing stormed the South African embassy one week before the election, the public could hardly help but think about public safety and organized crime when they cast their votes. (Aside: If you don’t know the history of 1997, this paragraph is probably very confusing.) The current case will have to grow a lot before we approach those levels.
I feel like Mr. Obvious today.