Daily shorts Nov 5

Sanctimonious quotes from KMT women regarding the “politicization of children” during the DPP’s piggybank campaign. To wit, Chao Li-yun delivers her anguished verdict that “labelling children with political labels [sic] and ‘contaminating’ their innocence with politics is heart-rending. Could this also be seen as a type of bullying?” Continuing on, probably dabbing her wet cheeks, she explained how “many parents were saddened to see children appear at DPP fundraisers as Tsai’s electioneering tools”.

It is similarly sad when elderly partisans throw down in fisticuffs, as in this report of ad-hoc hospital waiting room campaigning gone wrong. A fight resulted when one old geezer “declined [the other’s] request to support Tsai,” because he could not vote for “one who wears a skirt”. (I wonder if this reflects a demure euphemism on the part of the journalist.) Typically, the local KMT politico called on Tsai to make a public apology, the local DPP rep issued some platitude about keeping calm, and everyone went home for tea.

A reasonable KMT piece about Soong’s campaign strategy and his (surrogates’) attacks on both blue and green. This piece includes a brilliant line, which they should copyright now otherwise I’m going to steal it and work into every article I write from now on. Ready? “Being a palace kongfu master, Soong is an expert of intrigues and machinations”. I imagine it is 100% accurate but its also fantastic-can’t you just picture Soong dressed in all black, skulking clandestinely around palace courtyards with scheming eunuchs and poisonous concubines? You can’t? Does this help?

The best case scenario for Soong is that the DPP and KMT attack each other, while he attacks them both while not suffering any attacks in return. This is not as implausible as it sounds, given that close rivals fight more intensely and there is generally nothing to gain from attacking a no-hoper. The key development will be if Soong’s campaign gains traction to the extent that he shows 15% in the polls. Since there is some debate about from whom Soong will be taking votes, neither KMT nor DPP could risk Soong getting that many votes. In this scenario, it is likely that Soong would be fired on by both parties, as happened in 2000 (when he was the clubhouse leader). In 2000 his accumulated capital (financial and social) enabled him to withstand dual attacks and, importantly, people knew he was in with a chance of winning. On this occasion Soong has none of these advantages, but then again, his motivation is probably not to win outright, but to gain leverage with the KMT to use post- election.

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

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