Daily shorts Dec 19

What’s that you say? Oh, there’s a campaign going on…

The second TV debate went off on Saturday; I will post some analysis soon. In the meantime Ben Goren gives his impressions. How did the candidates handle the TaiMed scandal in Saturday’s debate? (more here.) China limits the broadcasting of Saturday’s exercise in democratic performance. A short overview of the debate from Reuters. Want China Times discusses how the debate tested Tsai’s morality. Taipei Times has a detailed overview of the third round debate in which the candidates were grilled by civic groups, although some consider that the candidates avoided tackling the tougher issues. Tsai discussed the need for new leadership and set out her vision for the future of Taiwan; Ma played the father figure, defending women (while attacking Tsai’s integrity!), children and youth; James Soong emphasised the concept of security at all levels of  society: “a state leader’s most important task is to keep the country safe.”

Tsai describes the continuing saga over Taimed as an attempt at “character assassination” while Ma claims he had nothing to do with it. Indeed, Ma says he will give up his re-election bid if it can be proven that he ordered special investigation probe. Do you remember the KMT ad in 2000 attacking Soong for making just such an empty promise? China Times editorial discusses the lack of integrity and responsibility shown in the TaiMed scandal and links it to Tsai’s inability to lead. Michael Turton has analysis of the scandal here and here and discusses the impact of the scandal on the latest polls.

Jerome F. Keating weighs in on the TaiMed scandal and suggests the KMT is resorting to old tactics. Parts II and III of his analysis here. Here’s a video of Tsai defending herself. The View from Taiwan has a video of the founder of TaiMed discussing the KMT’s smear tactics. Frozen Garlic discusses Ma’s strategy in the debate to continue to attack Tsai personally rather than discuss public policy and how the KMT has dominated the agenda of the campaign issues. Politics from Taiwan discusses the DPP’s decision to make aboriginal languages into national languages.

Shelley Rigger predicts that Taiwan will stick with Ma as the safe choice. The polls say she could be right. The latest Asia-Pacific Market survey poll puts Ma up 7 points. Apple Daily says polls largely unaffected by recent mudslinging. Latest poll from United Daily News also puts Ma ahead by 7, and similarly this China Times poll, which also shows results from the VP debates. The latest Liberty Times poll puts just 1%  between Ma and Tsai, narrowing from 2 points last week. Political scientists suggest that independent neutral voters and first time voters will determine the outcome of the election. Numerically its true, but we say this every election and then the turnout figures for these cohorts are too low to make that much difference. Here’s an overview of the recent Brookings event where “anxiety” appears to be the key word over the outcome of the election and the future of cross-Strait issues.

The DPP accuses the KMT of vote buying in Taichung county; now there’s a thing. In this Taipei Times interview with Lee Chin-lung, he discusses the need for better policies. The Financial Times blog looks at the support of prominent businessman for the Ma campaign; now’s there’s a thing. The Washington Post discusses how the eyes of the great powers are focused on the Taiwan election and its tight competition: yes, Taiwan’s four-yearly moment in the spotlight is upon us. To prove it, BBC News has a video providing an overview of the election and the issues that’ll affect its outcome. Meanwhile, Tsai slams Ma over the enormous financial assets the KMT has accumulated over the years (surely not?) and proposes creating 800,000 social housing units if elected. The DPP urges China to not interfere in the elections after recent comments from high ranking officials  on cross-Strait issues. Asia Sentinel discusses the looming election and the role of external interference.

The three candidates fleshed out their cultural policies recently and agreed on not extending the life of the three original nuclear power stations, although the candidates have opposing views on the life of the fourth plant. At his cultural policy discussion Ma is confronted multiple times by protestors. The KMT allegedly turned down Jimmy Carter paying a visit to Taiwan for the January elections (they also turned down the EU delegation of observers). After having their issues ignored during both the presidential and vice presidential debates, aboriginal groups want their policy issues to be addressed – “No one talked about such serious issues; the only thing Aboriginal they do is to greet voters in Aboriginal languages.” Taipei Times has an editorial on how Ma has alienated aboriginal groups and pushed them towards voting for his rivals. Howevefr, United Daily News has an article on why the current First Lady is much more respectable than any potential DPP ones—what can you say to that?

Tsai says the reason the KMT has been promoting such scandals is to draw attention away from the fact that it has nothing to offer. This editorial on how the KMT’s smear campaigns show how it is increasingly desperate agrees. Meanwhile, James Soong stands aloof. But not forgotten: Here’s Soong’s opinion of the  Taimed scandal. Asia News Network discusses how the striptease scandal has turned the campaign into a  circus without credibility; Haha, they must not have witnessed many campaigns then. And finally, a calendar of a KMT legislative candidate shows an incorrect timeline regarding the history of China; tsk tsk.

Mail me at jonathan.sullivan@nottingham.ac.uk, follow me on Twitter @jonlsullivan, or access my papers at http://jonlsullivan.com