Kuomintang’s Achilles heel: its name
The China Post news staff
November 10, 2007, 12:00 am TWN
While the KMT under Ma has made great efforts to highlight Taiwan’s own identity as completely independent of mainland China, as mentioned above, the one, last and most important thing for the party to do is to take the word “China” out of its full name, the “KMT of China.” Ma reportedly promised that he will consider the suggestion after he wins the 2008 presidency. But, it’s better do it earlier than later, because it will boost his reputation of loyalty in his attempt to win votes from native Taiwanese. It can be predicted that President Chen and the DPP will step up attacks on Ma over this issue as elections draw near.
Indeed, we can imagine how Ma will be embarrassed by such questions from native Taiwanese voters as: “If you love Taiwan as you claim you do, please explain to me what does the KMT of China mean?” “Does it indicate that the KMT belongs to China?” “Do you want to cheat us when you say you love Taiwan but actually your hearts are in China?” Such queries will have the effect of nullifying all the efforts the KMT has made to promote “Taiwan first.”
We may be asking too much of Ma in expecting him to change the name of the KMT at this moment. Some observers have pointed out that such a move may not attract enough “light green” voters as expected, but definitely alienate many “deep blue” ones. But it is also a fact that the issue of Taiwan independence appeals so strongly and directly to the feelings of native Taiwanese, paranoid with the nightmare of a long history of “oppressive rule” by “alien” governments, that it has become the most effective way of rallying support for the DPP. The incessant agitation of the sovereignty issue, combined with an unexpectedly and astonishingly tricky maneuver at the last minute before polls, may again help the DPP edge out the opposition in presidential elections.
Clearly, Ma needs enormous wisdom and decisiveness to solve this difficult problem. This may be what is demanded of a great leader at a turbulent time.