"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The KMT in Taiwan vs. the GOP in the USA

The tactics of those on the wrong side of right
A story in Friday's Taipei Times helped to bring together several ideas which I'd read on US political blogs. The Taipei Times story was about a Taiwanese official's difficulties in getting his driver's license properly labeled:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday called on the Japanese government to correct the nation's description on its alien resident certificates and other related documents from "China" to either "Republic of China" or "Taiwan."

Tsai Ming-yao (蔡明耀), deputy secretary-general of the ministry-affiliated Association of East Asian Relations, made the appeal at a press conference in response to a media inquiry.


When staying in Japan Tsai said he had complained to the Japanese government when the nationality column on his driving license was marked "China." But the Japanese vehicle office told Tsai he had to choose either PRC or China, saying that they were the only two options allowed in the country's rules and regulations..
What the hell kind of "choice" is that? Let's see how that looks through the filter of this post on the Crooks and Liars blog from earlier this year:
Lest we forget FOX did this a few weeks ago with a poll about MoveOn "taking over" the Democratic Party. The misleading way FOX asks questions reminds me of this exchange from "Family Guy":
Lawyer: Mr Griffin, which of the following two phrases best describes Brian Griffin: Problem Drinker or African-American Haberdasher?
Peter: Uh, do I-I guess problem drinker, but that's uh-
Lawyer: Thank-you. Now: Sexual deviant or magic picture that if you stare at it long enough, you see something?
Peter: Well, sexual deviant, but that other one's not even, eh-
Lawyer: Thank-you.
See the problem? No? Well, where are you from -- the moon or Mars?

But back to the Taipei Times article (continuing directly from the first quoted section):
"Of course, I didn't go for PRC," Tsai said, adding that the government would continue to negotiate with Japan in order to come up with a solution that was acceptable to both sides
Hmmm... "a solution that was acceptable to both sides." Where have I encountered that before? Oh, yeah. It was in a This Modern World comic by Tom Tomorrow:

Tom Tomorrow's ''This Modern World''
Click image to view the whole thing.
(If there's an ad, wait for it to finish,
and click "Enter Salon.")

I can almost see the "compromise" now.

But wait, there's more!
What Digby said about the Republicans (but she could've been describing the KMT) was this:
I first noticed the right's successful use of phony sanctimony and faux outrage back in the 90's when well-known conservative players like Gingrich and Livingston pretended to be offended at the president's extramarital affair and were repeatedly and tiresomely "upset" about fund-raising practices they all practiced themselves. The idea of these powerful and corrupt adulterers being personally upset by White House coffees and naughty sexual behavior was laughable.

But they did it, oh how they did it, and it often succeeded in changing the dialogue and tittilating the media into a frenzy of breathless tabloid coverage.

In fact, they became so good at the tactic that they now rely on it as their first choice to control the political dialogue when it becomes uncomfortable and put the Democrats on the defensive whenever they are winning the day. Perhaps the best example during the Bush years would be the completely cynical and over-the-top reaction to Senator Paul Wellstone's memorial rally in 2002 in the last couple of weeks leading up to the election.

With the exception of the bizarre Jesse Ventura, those in attendance, including the Republicans, were non-plussed by the nature of the event at the time. It was not, as the chatterers insisted, a funeral, but rather more like an Irish wake for Wellstone supporters — a celebration of Wellstone's life, which included, naturally, politics. (He died campaigning, after all.) But Vin Weber, one of the Republican party's most sophisticated operatives, immediately saw the opportunity for a faux outrage fest that was more successful than even he could have ever dreamed.

By the time they were through, the Democrats were prostrating themselves at the feet of anyone who would listen, begging for forgiveness for something they didn't do, just to stop the shrieking. The Republicans could barely keep the smirks off their faces as they sternly lectured the Democrats on how to properly honor the dead — the same Republicans who had relentlessly tortured poor Vince Foster's family for years.

It's an excellent technique and one they continue to employ with great success, most recently with the entirely fake Move-On and Pete Stark "controversies." (The Democrats try their own versions but rarely achieve the kind of full blown hissy fit the Republicans can conjure with a mere blast fax to Drudge and their talk radio minions.)
Sound familiar? As with China's constant counterfactual claims about "being provoked," the KMT in Taiwan seems to have a similar policy in place. With their minions on the multitudinous pan-blue blab-fests at their behest, any mediocre event can be turned into weeks', months', or even years' worth of noise. Just look at Jaw Shaw-kong's latest for a perfect example.

Rage inducers: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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