Kim’s mouth cost him electionKim Yong-min, a Democratic United Party candidate running in northeastern Seoul, was defeated by his Saenuri Party rival after he came under fire for raunchy jokes about women, the elderly, Christians and even U.S. officials.
Until the ballot counting, Kim showed confidence in winning the race. A recent poll conducted by the main opposition party even forecasted that his approval rating was rising despite his past jokes, consolidating his supporters.
Roughly 10,000 of his fans staged a large-scale demonstration in Seoul Plaza, central Seoul, to encourage Kim, who is a co-host of the popular liberal podcast, “Naneun Ggomsuda” (“I’m a Petty-Minded Creep), with two other hosts attending. His Twitter account was flooded with cheering messages by his 300,000 followers.
However, Kim was defeated by the ruling Saenuri Party’s Lee No-geun, 44.2 percent to 50.2 percent. Political sources told the JoongAng Ilbo that Kim failed to earn votes not only from middle-aged and elderly people who weren’t big fans, but also from female voters in their 30s and 40s.
Given the fact that there are lots of female fans of the liberal online talk show lampooning President Lee Myung-bak, it came as a shock to Kim. The sources also pointed out some moderate voters select a candidate based on his achievement and personality, not on his political ideology.
In 2004, Kim used crude language, told dirty jokes and suggested that Korea make a terrorist strike on the U.S. by sending a convicted Korean rapist-murderer to Washington to kill then-President George W. Bush and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and to rape and kill then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Kim issued an apology via a video message on his blog, but stayed in the race although DUP chairwoman Han Myeong-sook asked him to abandon his candidacy.
“The Nowon District is one of the regions in Seoul where lots of tiger moms are passionate about their children’s education,” a DUP official told the JoongAng Ilbo. “And they seemed to feel very unpleasant about Kim’s remarks.”
Rival Lee told reporters yesterday after the announcement of exit polls that “Kim’s foul language scandal definitely had a great impact on the race.”
After the election, Kim apologized to his supporters via Twitter.
“I will stay at home for a while and find a way to contribute to society again,” Kim said.
However, he also told the JoongAng Ilbo, “I lost [the election] by the joint attack by conservative media, Saenuri Party, and Protestants. You, the JoongAng Ilbo, shouldn’t write an article like that. How can you portray a person like this?”
A number of his fans resisted the DUP sentiment that blamed Kim for the party’s defeat.
“This is totally nonsense to say that Kim is blamed for the DUP’s defeat,” Twitter user BaSSistwalker, said.
By Yang Won-bo, Lee Seung-ho [firstname.lastname@example.org]