Yao Li-ming: Ko campaign seeks to move beyond Blue and Green

Yao Li-ming, the recently-appointed campaign manager for Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je, appeared in a radio interview Saturday in which he was asked why the campaign has reached out to Shih Ming-the and what role if any Shih might play in the election. Yao said that Shih has a very large body of supporters, but that does not mean “we are going to approach Mr. Shih or Mr. Whoever” to ask for endorsements in the campaign. At the same time, he added, “If Lien Chan happens to say he is willing to support Ko Wen-je, I will go see him.”

Yao also declared that he will not take a position as a Deputy Mayor or anything else in the Taipei municipal government if Ko wins the election. “My profession is that of university professor,” said Yao, who is currently an associate professor at Chinese Culture University.

Yao pointed out that for many years now a sizable number of people in Taipei have been very dissatisfied with the KMT and its policies in the city. They are looking for a change in leadership, and Yao said he is working to convince these people that they should support Ko Wen-je. He said he is asking them to look at Taiwan's political development in the framework of history and to think about not just whether one particular person will be elected or defeated. Instead, he said, they should look back over the past three to four decades and view the trends in both the Blue and Green political parties over the years.

Yao said that some people say he is Green, while others maintain he is Blue. That shows, he said, that he is actually in an area beyond the limits imposed by labels like Blue or Green. He notes that he never criticized Chen Shui-bian or Ma Ying-jeou before either took the oath as president. Once each had been in office for a while, however, he became relentless in his criticism of corruption and poor governance. "This has nothing to do with Blue or Green,” he said, “and everything to do with right and wrong."

Yao added that if Ko Wen-je is elected mayor and there are problems with corruption in the municipal government, "I will be very vocal about it – in the future that part will never change."

Political pundits see Ko’s decision to take on Yao as his campaign manager as a gambit to snare the votes of people who ordinarily vote Blue but are not committed to supporting Sean Lien in this year’s election. One analyst has said, however, that the move could backfire and Ko will find out that while some voters may be suffering from amblyopia and unable to distinguish clearly between the two leading candidates, in the end it may turn out that they are not colorblind – on election day they will still line up to cast their votes for the Blue candidate whoever he or she may be.