Lee’s fresh startThe Grand National Party has nominated Lee Myung-bak, the former Seoul mayor, as its presidential candidate.
The real campaign starts now. Lee must start his campaign afresh as if he was back in the starting blocks.
He must form a new camp. He must employ rival contenders from the primary and those who worked for his rivals. He must go beyond the Grand National Party and find talented people from across the country. He should make people who have been tainted with corruption step back. It is the duty of a strong presidential candidate to hire people from many different fields.
He must reexamine his pledges. During the campaign for the party primary some of his pledges, including building a waterway across the Korean Peninsula, have turned out to be flawed. To fix mistakes is nothing to be ashamed of ― if he hesitates to fix things that he knows to be wrong, he will miss an opportunity.
If he puts people in a bad position in order to save face he will not be demonstrating the qualities required of a leader. If his pledges are only aimed at gaining votes, he will be no better than the incumbent administration which used to use the transfer of the capital as a strategy to gain votes. He must study all his pledges thoroughly.
His most urgent task is to clear suspicions that surfaced during the campaign for the party primary.
What’s important is to convince people. His rivals will attack him over the issues, much more than his rivals within his party did in running for the party primary. His denial is not enough to end the suspicions. His claims and denials might have been enough in court but they are not good enough to answer the electorate’s suspicions. In the campaign for the presidency, he is the only one who can take responsibility for clearing suspicions. Any lies, however small they may be, could be crucial enough to make him lose the election.
The Grand National Party must learn a lesson from its previous defeats in the last two consecutive presidential elections. Back then, Lee Hoi-chang’s camp was too confident that they would win and they were arrogant. People in his camp were busy fighting over which positions they would take after Lee was elected, instead of working hard to gain votes.
Lee Myung-bak must be modest and also he must check if there is anybody around him who behaves as if he was already in the Blue House.
If the people in Lee’s camp act as if they are already in power and fight over the spoils of victory before the battle is won, the party will lose once again.