Posted October. 12, 2011 00:01,
Na Kyung-won, the ruling Grand National Partys candidate for Seoul mayor, has a few things in common with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who ran with John McCain for the Republican Party in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Both are prominent female politicians in their countries and are raising a child with Down`s syndrome.
Na met Palin Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Knowledge Forum at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul`s Gwangjin district. Their dialogue began with welfare policies, a major issue in the Oct. 26 by-election in Seoul.
Na said, I believe in `honest welfare` in which welfare policies are expanded within the limits of fiscal conditions. This will not gather male votes, however. If I say money should go to what is most urgent and to those in most need, people will think I`m against welfare.
In response, Palin said that when implementing welfare policies, the government should first consider if it can financially support them, adding that spending money in areas of need is fair.
The two also shared their opinions on the crisis of party politics and progress of civic groups. Since 2009, Palin has led the Tea Party movement, which opposes the creation of a big government through tax hikes.
Na asked Palin about the relationship between party politics and civic group activities, saying, A civic activist is running in the Seoul mayoral election. As such, we need to keep an eye on how (civic groups) voice themselves.
On this, Palin said the Tea Party will not follow government policies unilaterally but intervene in policymaking processes to fulfill the party`s responsibility to the people and exercise their rights. She added, however, that parties should not desert their principles and beliefs.
They also talked about their roles as mothers as well as politicians. Palin gave birth to her fifth child in 2008 though she knew the baby would be born with Down`s syndrome, a disease Na`s child also has.
Mothers are responsible. Like managing households thriftily, they can manage a country well, Na said, adding, Passing on less debt to future generations is important.
Palin chimed in with Na, saying mothers check prices to fit a budget even at supermarkets and handle family disputes wisely.
Na added, Conflicts are erupting in countries around the world and mothers are good at working through conflicts. Disputes break out in households, but mothers resolve them well.