Moon’s rise might not be over

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Moon’s rise might not be over

There are three questions that Grand National Party supporters often ask me these days:
“Could a terrorist attack occur on presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak?”
“Are the rumors true that the governing party could reveal some decisively damaging information on Lee near the end of the campaign season?”
“Is it true that a third potential candidate has appeared in the governing party camp?”
Among these three scenarios, the least likely to occur is an attack on Lee.
Based on the current Constitution, the presidential election could go on regardless of any accident or mishap happening to a candidate, but should an attack occur on Lee, the Dec. 19 election would most likely be postponed.
Even if the election is held as scheduled and another candidate is elected, that candidate would face serious challenges in defending the legitimacy of his presidency and would not be able to withstand the ensuing uproar.
The second scenario of certain damaging disclosures against Lee is a possible one.
The governing party has been in power for ten years. It would be strange if they didn’t have an “X-file,” or a secret file, on Lee.
The real question is whether the contents of the X-file would be damaging enough to shock the people into voting against Lee, rather than against the governing party for resorting to below-the-belt partisan politics.
Even now, there seem to be many in the governing party who are considering this scenario.
The possibility of a “third candidate” is also real.
Recent moves within the governing party all point to this possibility.
At the beginning of its primary, the United New Democratic Party leadership seemed to obviously favor Lee Hae-chan.
Han Myeong-sook and Ryu Shi-min, two primary candidates considered as “pro-Roh,” bowed out of the race to support Lee, a development that many had expected.
However, even this was not enough to warm the people up to Lee.
As much as the party leadership favors Lee, it seems to disapprove of the leading candidate, Chung Dong-young.
Of course, had Sohn Hak-kyu been the No. 1 candidate from the beginning, the leadership’s target would have been Sohn instead of Chung.
Many of the left-wing politicians in the governing party disapprove of both Sohn and Chung.
The pro-Roh forces also look down on these two.
However, Chung, with the support of the Honam region and a well-organized campaign, soon rose to become the public’s favorite primary candidate, and this is when the internal attacks on Chung began.
All blame for the failure of the party’s primary race was thrown on Chung. The police investigation on a sideline organization supporting Chung is seen as no coincidence by many.
Had Lee been crowned the candidate of the new party, the “Moon Kook-hyun wave” could have been dismissed as a light breeze.
Both the pro-Roh forces and the left wing would have acquiesced to Lee’s candidacy.
However, with Lee’s victory drifting further out of sight, attention has turned to Moon.
Moon, an independent candidate, surfaced on the political radar when Lee Myung-bak was chosen as GNP candidate.
An Internet news portal site, Oh My News, started zooming in on Moon’s candidacy, and one broadcaster even designated him as the governing party’s alternative candidate.
With the recent failure of their party primary, many progressive figures and civic groups are giving their attention to Moon.
Already there are those within the new party who are preparing to move to Moon’s newly created party.
What would happen if five, 10, 20 members bolt from the United New Democratic Party to support Moon? Public interest in Moon as a presidential possibility would definitely go up.
The final winner of the United New Democratic Party primary could find that his hard-won victory was for nothing.
Moon, having advanced from the semi finals without even competing and without any injuries, could possibly ask the United New Democratic Party candidate to join hands with him.
His anti-jaebeol policies and his assurance that he is the only candidate who can beat Lee Myung-bak’s paradigm of economic growth could very well appeal to progressives who have felt a deep disappointment with the Roh Moo-hyun government. To them, Moon could be the one last hope.
Politics is much like an organism that lives and moves. Anything is possible, but at the same time, it is conceivable that nothing will turn out as expected.
As of now, nothing is proven about Moon’s political capability or past. Chung with Honam backing is still a force to be reckoned with. The presidential race is far from being over.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kim Du-woo
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