With Ahn, it’s all about the timing

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With Ahn, it’s all about the timing

Politics is a nasty business. No matter how much you dislike it, you can’t avoid it. For example, the law has to be changed to adjust the tax rate, and it involves all kinds of discords and clashes. And the members of the National Assembly, whom we, the voters, have elected, are in charge of the legislation.

This process is politics. Just like air and water, the existence of politics may not be so obvious, but in the end, it rules the lives of us all. Therefore, too little or too much politics leads to problems. We can maintain health by eating the right amount of food. Similarly, voters need to consume the right amount of politics. That’s the way to secure a bright future for the nation.

A presidential election is the single most important political event, so we need to be vigilant. But the 18th presidential election is developing in a peculiar way. Voters are not very interested in the policy promises or ideologies of the candidates. The conservative and the progressive are contending in a tight race, but voters are not very interested in their rivalry. Because conservatives have turned left in certain areas, Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in have few differences in policy direction.

But there is a more fundamental cause. The presidential election has turned into a politics of “timing.” Not just the voters but also the candidates were on the watch for Ahn Cheol-soo’s timing, even though he shied away from endorsing Moon at the ceremony of disbanding his camp yesterday.

Everyone thought the timing of Ahn’s endorsement of Moon would be a critical turning point. In the Park camp, insiders even said Park should lead Moon by at least 7 percent in order not to be affected by Ahn’s timing.

Ahn has always been clever with his timing. He published “Ahn Cheol-soo’s Thoughts” on July 19 and made a television appearance on “Healing Camp” on July 23. Three days after Moon Jae-in received the Democratic United Party’s nomination, he announced his presidential candidacy on Sept. 19. Then, the opposition candidate merger began to be discussed. On Nov. 6, he had a one-on-one meeting with Moon and agreed to merge. As the tug-of-war got intense, Ahn announced Nov. 23 that he would drop out of the race. Now the question is when he will reignite his political passion and take another step toward a colossal reform of old politics.

After all, Park and Moon are responsible for letting Ahn sway the election. Many voters loathe the existing political parties. They don’t expect the two major parties to initiate reform. Those who raved over Ahn have not yet given up hope. Both the winner and loser of the presidential election would end up being a symbol of old politics. The voters would be voting for the leader of despair, not hope. Then, Ahn’s timing politics will begin again. It is a peculiar election, indeed.

* The writer is a new media editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kim Jong-yoon

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