I hope this is a crazy post

I’m starting to get very concerned about PFP Vice Presidential candidate Lin Ruey-shiung’s 林瑞雄 citizenship.  Some people are concerned that he has both ROC and American citizenship and that the CEC will therefore rule that the PFP presidential ticket is ineligible.  Lin has renounced his American citizenship, but there are still people who think the matter is not resolved.

I would not be too concerned with this, except this story seems to not be going away.  In fact, it almost looks as if the blue media seem to be preparing the ground for a very controversial CEC ruling.  I keep hearing stories about how someone said that someone they know went through this process and it took six months before the friend of the friend got the official document from the US Department of State proving that the friend of the friend was no longer a citizen, and so Lin’s case can’t possibly be resolved by the time the CEC has to rule on whether Lin is still a citizen and therefore the CEC will have no choice but to rule the PFP ticket invalid…  These stories are in the newspapers, and they have been a staple of the blue talk shows for the past week.  Someone just will not let this idea die.

I’m terrified of the idea that someone in the KMT is actually trying to push this agenda before the CEC, and that the CEC will vote along party lines.  In the disaster scenario, the PFP ticket would be disqualified.

As the conspiracy theory goes, the KMT and the PFP both have reasons to want this to happen.  The KMT wants Soong out of the race so that his supporters will have to vote for Ma.  That part is simple.  Less obvious is the argument that Soong would actually like this to happen.  The theory here is that Soong doesn’t really want to cause Ma to lose the presidential race, and he certainly doesn’t want to be humiliated by ending up with 2% when all his supporters eventually decide not to waste their votes on him in a very tight race.  However, Soong is in too deeply to withdraw now.  Moreover, he has to stay in for the sake of his legislative candidates.  Without Soong, the PFP will have no presence in the campaign and become an afterthought (see: TSU and NP).  If, however, the PFP ticket were disqualified, Soong could play the martyr.  He would have all the media attention for a week or two, and he could complain about how unfairly the PFP had been treated.  Of course, the only way PFP supporters (and all good citizens concerned that democracy had been subverted) could express their outrage would be to vote for the PFP’s legislative candidates and party list.

If the PFP ticket were actually disqualified, I think a few things would happen.

The most important thing would be another kick in the groin to Taiwan’s democracy.  A large number of citizens would be horrified and take this as proof that the parties will do anything for power, including manipulating the basic ground rules of the game.  Most of the anger will be directed against the KMT, but there will also be those who see it as an indictment of all politicians.  This would be the worst development for Taiwan’s democracy since the contested 2004 election.

While the most important effect would be to damage Taiwan’s democratic system, there would also be more immediate partisan effects.  The PFP legislative campaign would get a tremendous boost, as laid out above.  However, I don’t think the KMT would benefit.  Sure, some people who are now planning on voting for Soong would vote for Ma.  However, other PFP supporters would feel so disgusted or violated that they wouldn’t be able to cast that vote for Ma.  Some might vote for Tsai, but I wonder if more might just cast invalid votes or stay home.

However, I don’t think that the PFP voters would constitute the main effect.  The group that might be most affected is the group of people trying to decide between Ma and Tsai.  There are many people who might end up voting for Ma if the election is framed as a vote on economics, ECFA, stability, or relations with China.  However, if the election is between a KMT that blatantly subverts democratic norms and [who cares who the other choice is!], they will choose the other choice.

In sum, if the KMT tries to disqualify Soong, they will most likely not reap any benefits.  They would deservedly be punished both by PFP voters and by swing voters (between KMT and DPP).  And the KMT would only be the second biggest loser.  Democracy would be the biggest loser.

I really hope that I am imagining a monster in the closet that simply doesn’t exist.  Maybe there is no guiding hand encouraging all this media discourse.  Maybe this will just blow over.  Maybe rational heads inside the KMT are trying to make this issue go away.  Hopefully the CEC will issues a three sentence press release saying that Lin’s citizenship question has been satisfactorily resolved and that the PFP ticket is eligible.  The best outcome would be for someone reading this post five years from now thinks I am a nutcase conspiracy theorist with a runaway imagination.


[update: Dec. 8, 2011]  The CEC has announced that their investigation of Lin’s citizenship shows that he has already renounced his American citizenship and his candidacy faces no legal obstacles.  I’m relieved to be a nutcase.

10 Responses to “I hope this is a crazy post”

  1. Bandit Says:

    if you see smoke coming out of your closet,its more than likely because the monsters are preparing the BBQ.
    regards from the Bandit

  2. Lihan Chen Says:

    I think your concerns are real. Remember that in Taiwan’s politics, never say never again…

  3. Carlos Says:


    There are even wilder conspiracy theories starting to hit the blogs, which is a bit disheartening.

  4. Little Flea Says:

    i do believe Soong has ‘0’ reason to run against KMT, because running against KMT equals running against China, which is an absolute ‘NO’ for someone in Soong’s position. So, it only makes sense for Soong to work out with Ma with a perfect strategy which could very well be Frozen Garlic’s conspiracy theory.

    Little flea

    • Lihan Chen Says:

      Even on the surface that Soong has no reason to run against KMT, he has every reason to have KMT on his side if Ma turns out to be vulnerable. It appears that the pro-unification signal he sent works both ways as well. The other factor might be Lee Deng-Hui’s health.

  5. M Says:

    Didn’t he triumphantly produced the proof that he had renounced his US citizenship when he registered?
    Seems that the New Party Chairman was the the main person making a fuss about this – of course if Lin hadn’t completed the process of renouncing his US citizenship then according to the law he would have been rightfully disqualified from running. Since he showed the proof, there has been hardly a mention in the blue media about his citizenship and I can’t see him being disqualified now.

    • frozengarlic Says:

      I hope you’re right, but they were still talking about this on TVBS two nights ago when I flipped through the talk shows.

      • M Says:

        They are portraying Lin as a slightly deranged old man now…if anything were to happen to President Soong he would be the man in charge! Think it will be fairly easy for the KMT to marginalize the Soong-Lin ticket. Soong could end up doing as badly as his run for Taipei City mayor and the PFP with no party list seats. So why did he insist on running? Why wasn’t he able to strike a deal with the KMT that would have kept him out of the race?

  6. Echo Says:

    Little Flea: “i do believe Soong has ’0′ reason to run against KMT”
    Lihan Chen: “Even on the surface that Soong has no reason to run against KMT, he has every reason to have KMT on his side”

    Looking back at the rivalry history between Soong and Ma, and knowing the facts on how Ma’s group grilled people against Ma (look at LDH, CSB, and prominent and talent people inside the KMT), Soong has to run, otherwise he will be sent to the prison or sue to death if Ma wins the election again.

    The situation is: being incompetent himself, Ma has to get rid of anyone who is capable, and use those who are as incompetent as him and who are not so welcome by the people. It’s the golden rule for weak leader to keep the power.

  7. Okami Says:

    Might Song have just picked him in order to get disqualified and become a martyr? Sometimes losing is your best option as any married man knows.

    It’s his best option to strike back at Ma while protecting himself and reaping all that sympathy for his party.

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