Wasting Away Money in Non-sequiturville: Hau Lung-bin and the Carpetbaggers

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Saturday September 19, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

A characteristic of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) carpetbaggers is their sense of privilege and entitlement and the belief that after gaining high positions via loyalty, they can in turn use such positions to reward carpetbagger friends. Hau Lung-bin, the current Mayor of Taipei fits this carpetbagger profile. He has had no strong political background to justify his being mayor; however his father, Hau Pei-tsun came to Taiwan as a general under Chiang Kai-shek. Hau Pei-tsun later served as Premier, ran as a Vice Presidential Candidate and was a key suspect in the Lafayette Frigate Scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars of bribes, inflated prices and most likely murder. That supposedly made Hau Lung-bin, whose education was supported by the KMT, a good mayoral candidate.

Following this line of reasoning, many are not surprised at the cost overruns and extra expenditures involving Taipei city business projects. In turn, as Taipei is getting set to host the Taipei International Flora Expo (Nov. 6), it is no surprise that scandals involving inflated prices and corruption are now surfacing. What is surprising, however, is the list of non-sequiturs and absence of logic that Hau, President Ma Ying-jeou, and the KMT use to defend these scandals and over-spending.

The Expo scandal along with the scandal over the Xinsheng Overpass broke as Hau Lung-bin has been preparing to run for a second term as mayor. This brought the first non-sequitur. Under these circumstances, Hau could not appear to take the blame, so three of his senior aides (Lee Yong-ping, Chuang Wen-ssu and Ren Shiao-chi) resigned. All well and good, but then Hau emphasized that these resignations had nothing to do with the scandals. Say what? If the three resignations had nothing to do with the scandals, why should they resign? Further, if they had nothing to do with the scandals, then who did? Who should be the person or persons to resign? Hau?

The second non-sequitur and lack of logic came from KMT Secretary-General and snake oil salesman par excellence, King Pu-tsung. King praised Hau for his "nimbleness" in handling the resignations and scandal. Say what again? If there is no justification for the resignations and if the guilty party for the scandals has not been named, what is the nimbleness involved? Has Hau in true carpetbagger fashion nimbly hoodwinked the public once again?

Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan's president followed with the third non-sequitur. Ma in his usual fashion laid the whole fault of the scandal and corruption at the feet of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ma stated that the DPP should support the Expo as they did the Kaohsiung World Games; to criticize the corruption "shames the country." Say what again for a third time? Supporting the Expo does not mean that the DPP or anyone should support corruption in the Expo. Further, how does criticizing corruption bring shame to the country? Is not the aim of good government to eliminate corruption everywhere including in matters like the Expo, the Xinsheng Overpass reconstruction and all the other reconstruction projects in Taipei?

The usual KMT pundits twisted and turned on pan-blue television programs and entertained the public by giving all sorts of reasons and attempts to justify the inflated prices, corruption, cost overruns etc. No one however wanted to simply call a spade a spade. Mayor Hau then summed it all up with the final non-sequitur and smoke screen. In order to be totally fair and objective, Hau said he would have all the scandals and corruption investigated not by the prosecutors whose job it is to do such, but by KMT stalwarts hand-picked by Mayor Hau himself. After all, if carpetbaggers are to be judged, they should be judged by other carpetbaggers as well. That makes sense doesn't it?

For more on carpetbaggers check the Aug. 19 posting.