ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 26th, 2012 at 7:35 am

Ahn Cheol-soo Quits Korea’s Presidential Race

It seemed pretty predictable that Moon Jae-in wasn’t going to back down from his Presidential bid and it just makes you wonder why Ahn Cheol-soo bothered to run in the first place if he was just going to back out?:

The millionaire software mogul who was widely seen as a top contender in South Korea’s presidential election in December unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy on Friday, throwing his support behind the candidate of the main opposition party who has championed more engagement with North Korea and “balanced diplomacy” with Washington and Beijing. South Korea’s diplomatic policy is currently weighted more toward the United States.  [New York Times]

For those who subscribe to the Korea Economic Reader I thought Tom Coyner made some good points on this issue today:

The current liberal debacle appears to have been similar to watching a slow motion train crash.  In fact, at the last minute, the train was able to come to a halt before a complete crash.  But let’s not fool ourselves.  Before the wheels stopped turning, substantial damage was done.

Consider last week’s television debate.  By all accounts, the faceoff seemed more like a squabble between Twiddle-Dee and Twiddle-Dum – on downers.  There was little, substantial disagreement other than each of the candidates proclaiming they were better able to implement the generally agreed upon reforms.  Gallingly, neither candidate bothered to explain how many of these good ideas would be financed.

So it has come to pass that Ahn blinked first, but in a way that maintained his integrity.  He is not joining forces but only supporting Moon Jae-in.

Looking at the two candidates, it may have been preordained that it would have to be Ahn to back down.  Moon had fewer options.  Mr. Moon is and was simply a politician.  Ahn, on the other hand, is a medical doctor, a software mogul and a dean of Korea’s most prestigious university.  In other words, in spite how passionate Ahn may be, he has more than three respected occupations to resume.  Moon has just one, and if he had acquiesced to Ahn, his solo career would have been set back.

Like North Korea that plays aggressively with a bad hand of cards in diplomacy, Moon and his supporters had few if any options other than to insist on leading the liberal cause.  As a result, they were forced to focus solely on one feasible outcome.  Ahn was like the U.S. in the sense he and his followers have had almost too many options, regardless of this current focus.  As much as his clique wished to come out on top, they knew they could walk away and win some other day.  [Korea Economic Reader]

Yes so Ahn will walk away, but we will see if Ahn does live to fight another day because 5 years is a long way off until the next election and it seems like he should try to run for a smaller office in order to build up some more political support within the liberal base before trying for President again.  I would think that there are many liberal politicians upset with Ahn’s Presidential candidacy because of how the bickering between him and Moon Jae-in greatly damaged their bid to win an election that should have been theirs for the taking in the first place.

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  • Eddie Cantor
    3:21 pm on November 26th, 2012 1

    Who and what convinced him to run? Well, let’s start with his ego, and the fact that he is probably surrounded by “yes men” who will say anything to stay on his payroll. Combine that with some media pals who probably told him what he wanted to hear because they would also love to quit their day jobs and follow him around for bigger money. Yes, there are media figures who don’t ask hard questions because they want to keep open a possibility of landing a cushy PR job with wealthy individuals and large companies, and so on.

    What he discovered is that politics is a game best left to those with fewer scruples and more balls.

    What I don’t understand about Ahn is why a man who has gained so much wealth and status through his successes in the free market system has emerged as such a vocal opponent of that same system. Obviously he never would have had a chance to do what he’s done under the Kims in the North yet he has aligned himself with those who actively support propping up the communist regimes with financial support. For someone who seems like a shrewd businessman, why does he support dumping more money into that lost cause (North Korea’s current leadership)?

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:28 pm on November 26th, 2012 2

    One of Ahn’s supporters threatening to jump!|home|online

  • Teadrinker
    3:39 pm on November 26th, 2012 3


    Or maybe he recognized the voters’ need for a candidate who isn’t motivated by greed and thought he could fill that void.

  • Stephen
    4:37 pm on November 26th, 2012 4

    Not sure if the bickering has damaged the “liberals” chance of winning. Ahn hopefully brought the “liberals” closer to the center and away from the looney tunes on the far left of Moon’s party.

    Korea may finally get a more centrist president instead of oscillating between the chaebol lovers and the pinkos.

    If Moon can demonstrate to middle-of-the-road voters that he will implement policies that they want/need then they will turn up to the ballot boxes.

    If he can’t, expect the usual pigs to put their snouts deeper into the trough just as they are doing under Le Rat

  • Teadrinker
    5:05 pm on November 26th, 2012 5

    Not so sure about that.

    Remember, Roh was as out there as can be and he was just as corrupt as the conservatives have proven themselves to be.

  • Kagura 4-2 INF
    8:01 pm on November 26th, 2012 6

    #4, the two sides could have fielded a unified candidate. Ahn Cheol-su could have been given a lesser post that would have nearly guaranteed his votes went to the Mun Jae-in camp. As it stands now, Ahn Cheol-su has quit the race *out of nowhere*, and while he has weakly endorsed Mun Jae-in, some of his votes went to Park Geun-hye. They are finally starting to compile polling data and Park Geun-hye has a solid lead over Mun Jae-in, far more than Park Geun-hye had over a theoretical Mun-An coalition.

    The race is close and not over yet, but Ahn Cheol-su screwed this up for his side. Which is fine by me……….. from an international relations point of view, I don’t think Korea needs a liberal candidate in office.

  • Infidel Links, 11-27-12 « Infidelworld
    4:33 am on November 27th, 2012 7

    [...] Ahn Cheol-soo Quits Korea’s Presidential Race (ROK Drop) [...]

  • Eddie Cantor
    2:46 pm on November 29th, 2012 8

    3- What issues did he discuss? None, except himself. He’s an egomaniac, first and foremost.


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