Yesterday marked the 100th day of the popular protest against his beleaguered administration. For a faint-hearted leader, or one with some sense of proportion, quitting would still provide a graceful exit. Call it capitulation to public pressure, but it is not shameful for one to know when to concede defeat.
Samak is certainly an exception. Defeat is not in his political lexicon. The man has no grace, as his political track record shows. Combative and spoiling for a fight to the end, no matter how many dead bodies might eventually lie at his door, the outspoken politician views himself as somebody who can do no wrong.
Thaksin Shinawatra, now trying to seek political asylum in England, has chosen his proxy or nominee quite well. After Samak, it will be difficult for the disgraced fugitive to find someone who would be willing to allow bloodshed in the streets just to remain in power.
Thaksin might not have that kind of stomach if it comes to street killings following political confrontation and violence. Samak has got first-hand experience from the October 6, 1976 bloodbath, when he was the prime mover right from the start. It still does not disturb his conscience that blood is on his hands.
Samak has been unable to work at Government House. All activities have been on hold. He can still work at the Ministry of Defence and stay under the protection of the armed forces. It's ironic that a loudmouthed, brave-faced politician should seek refuge in his own country while holding the top executive position.
The attempt by anti-riot police with batons and tear gas to crack down on protesters resulted in many head injuries over the weekend. This shows that Samak is willing to go to any lengths to preserve his power.
Never mind the number of casualties or the public condemnation. Equally worrying is the likelihood of economic trouble following the nationwide strikes by railway, waterworks and other public utilities staff. Provincial airport shutdowns have also affected domestic and international flights.
More industrial action, including power outages, have been threatened. But Samak is unfazed. He put in place senior police officers with strong links to Thaksin, known for their eagerness to inflict revenge on behalf of their friend who is now running away from an arrest warrant.
Samak's headstrong stance, toughness and ruthlessness can never be underestimated by the public, especially his adversaries. He has declared time and again that he will never quit under pressure or threats, believing that he came from the election and holds a public mandate.
If he still has some sense of shame, Samak should realise that his good fortune has run out. Being a proxy of Thaksin does not allow him to claim a full public mandate. He knows that but will never accept it.
Members of the People Power Party would be happy to see him go so that a real proxy of Thaksin can take charge and do whatever the boss commands from afar. The party is rife with internal rivalries and partisan conflicts, and Samak is a temporary choice.
Yet, there is growing apprehension that if this arrogant man eventually goes down, he will drag everybody down with him. Samak will not lose any sleep over that for sure.
What are the options now that Samak refuses to step aside? The risk of violent confrontation becomes possible now that House members under the People Power Party are mobilising supporters to hold rallies in various provinces. There could be a flashpoint if they move to Bangkok and have a head-on collision with anti-government protesters led by the People's Alliance for Democracy.
The growing tension is due mainly to the determination of the government to flush out demonstrators from the Government House compound and the likelihood of violent confrontation. If that happens, Samak will not even blink.
There could still be an unpleasant surprise for Samak. He could end up in the same position after blood was spilled in the streets, his hands soaked with it, in 1976. What happened then? He was unceremoniously booted out of power in a military coup staged by the same group of generals who had put him in power. Why? They were fed up with him and his excesses, the silencing of the press and the banning of political activities.
Samak will not want to end up the same way, though he can still live with the current degree of disgrace and public condemnation. But is he really in charge as the man who calls the shots now that the military reshuffle list is finalised?
By the way, it does not have to be a coup. Terse advice from a tough voice would suffice.