I’ve been following Lien Chan’s non-campaign for chairmanship of the KMT with much ironic relish, and today events took a new turn. One of Lien’s chief opponents is the pretty but feckless mayor of Taipei, Ma Ying-jeou. Today the Taipei Times, among other local newspapers, reported that Ma’s father supports Lien Chan.

In an embarrassing development for Ma Ying-jeou, Ma Ho-ling urged Lien to run for another term as chairman.

Ma Ho-ling said that his son “has no experience” in party operations, and that only Lien could unite the pan-blue camp.

In response, Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said that he respected his father’s opinion, but planned to continue with his campaign for the party chairmanship.

The other candidate, Wang Jyng-ping, a popular Taiwanese KMT stalwart, is widely perceived as a threat by many of the party’s Old Guard

While Lien has said on numerous occasions that he has no plans to run, supporters have argued that only Lien can unite the KMT. They contend that a contest between KMT vice chairmen Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) will only end up dividing the party.

Lien Chan has lost two elections, and his supporters seem to be suffering from historical amnesia, forgetting that “uniter” Lien Chan broke the KMT the first time he ran for President. Remember folks? The KMT split into two parties, spinning off James Soong and the PFP and taking many unreconstructed mainlanders with it, in opposition to Lien. A few years I had the sneaking suspicion that Lien Chan’s bumbling incompetence was actually Lee Teng-hui’s tool to destroy the KMT, but it is pretty clear that the KMT is capable of doing that all on its own.

I think many outside observers would agree that the photogenic, Harvard-educated Ma or the dapper, widely-admired Wang would make far more effective presidential candidates than dour, ugly Lien Chan. But Wang is a Taiwanese, and after the Party’s experience with Lee Teng-hui, it seems few of the mainlanders are ready to support a Taiwanese. Thus the Old Guard KMT, who seem to support Lien Chan, are nursing a rather bizarre fantasy:

Only if Lien continues as chairman, they say, will the KMT be able to win the 2008 presidential election.

Let’s see, Lien has lost two elections in which he was the favorite. Meanwhile the DPP grabbed six million votes in 2004, up from 2 million in1996. There seems to be something wrong with Lien’s leadership, guys. Like maybe, it doesn’t work.

This thought was reflected today in the report that many of the Taipei neighborhood bosses had contributed to erect a giant sign saying “Grandfather Lien, Don’t Run Again!” The sign was a parody of the welcome sign that Lien met when he went to the school in China.

The National Assembly began meeting today. Have to visit David’s blog to check that out….