Step in the right direction
On Wednesday, opposition People Power Party (PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol disbanded his super-sized election campaign committee. With barely 60 days left before the March 9 presidential election — and about 30 days after his recruitment of Kim Chong-in, an octogenarian with alleged expertise in winning elections, as head of the campaign committee — Yoon made the stunning decision after Kim refused to go, citing a critical lack of “political judgment” from Yoon. In the meantime, Lee Jun-seok, the thirty-something head of the PPP, continued criticizing Yoon and a small group of his confidants after he stepped down as a standing committee chair earlier.
In a statement made on Wednesday, Yoon apologized for causing trouble with the campaign committee and failing to meet the public’s expectations. Yoon promised to scale down the “mammoth committee” and correct “any wrongdoings by his campaign.” Yoon also pledged to say “what the voters want to hear from me” instead of “what I want to say” from now on.
Yoon’s obviously worried about the dramatic plunge in his ratings from No. 1 to third place among presidential contenders. We believe he is now going in the right direction. His past remarks made voters wonder if Yoon, a former prosecutor general, really has the political leadership required of an aspirant to the presidency. He only talked about the past, showed insensitivity to public sentiment, and took action belatedly. Yoon was also attacked for adhering to advice from a precious few surrounding him. His appointment style cherishing loyalty over ability was a black mark.
Yoon must turn his reflection and regret into action. As he already employed an extreme prescription to address internal division, he must prove his leadership and skills to overcome stumbling blocks. He begged voters to give him some time so that he can show “a completely changed me.” But they will not wait long.
Another challenge for Yoon is to present a vision for the country. He needs to remind himself of the outgoing campaign committee chair’s advice that he should demonstrate a vision to lead the country if elected. Instead of sticking with such abstract terms as “fairness” and “common sense,” he must present concrete visions and policies that reflect the zeitgeist of the times. He must take action fast. The clock is ticking.