Ok, this incident was really confusing; why would KMT legislators do something so potentially damaging to their own campaign efforts? It just didn’t make sense, so I did a little digging. Apparently, the legislative committee was questioning the head of First Bank about what part of its building the DPP was renting, the rates and so one, and the guy said “The first three floors.” The committee knew that they were also using the 13th floor, and said so, but the bank’s general manager said it wasn’t so.
Now, a week before that, or two weeks ago, the DPP had similar concerns about Ma’s campaign office, which is rented from the city government, so a group of DPP city councilors went to Ma’s campaign HQ to investigate, and were allowed to, but they found nothing suspicious, and the issue was quickly forgotten.
So these four lawmakers said to the general manager and the Minister of Finance, which is the authority concerned for state bank properties, “Come with us and we’ll take a look.” When they got there, they took the elevator to the 13th floor, but were blocked from getting off. So they went down to the 3rd floor, where they were not only blocked from getting off the elevator, the staff cut the power and kept the elevator there for half an hour while the DPP called up a mob of people to come and gather downstairs.
After half an hour, they were allowed to go down to the first floor, where they found a large group of hostile people, and it seems one of the legislators called the police. The crowd attempted to beat the legislators and seriously damaged the police car that arrived on the scene when after they got inside.
Afterwards, the press had a field day with the story. The party whip resigned his position, and the Finance Minister stepped down as a result. Ma issued a formal apology and condemned the violence, but Hsieh took umbrage at Ma’s statement. “It wasn’t violence,” Hsieh said. “Can you say a girl slapping a man trying to rape her is committing an act of violence?”
For a while I wondered if this was our Bizarre Event, but it didn’t seem to be the case, as it was too small in scale and effect, and if the DPP had truly planned it, they wouldn’t have needed to keep the legislators at the campaign headquarters while they called people over. Also, Hsieh is continuing to attack Ma over an alleged green card. We only have three days left, so look for a slew of allegations flying back and forth, some of which are bound to be entertaining, at least. I’m guessing someone is going to “reveal” some scandal or document soon. Let’s just hope we don’t have any more violence.
So far, this election itself is almost a bizarre event. I still maintain that Hsieh could have run a much better campaign had he taken a page from Obama’s campaign and exercised his considerable charisma in convincing people of his own merits rather than continuously harping on Ma and his family. Ma has been remarkably restrained in returning the attacks, but then again he has been promising everything under the sun to everybody and his dog, promises that seem impossible to keep even under the best of circumstances. In my opinion, neither candidate has made it clear that they are up to the monumental task the next leader of Taiwan faces. This election is the closest I’ve come to being an undecided voter in many years. And we have three days left.
So fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls. Something tells me it’s going to be a bumpy night.