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[Editorial] President Roh Is Still Obsessed with His Own Idea

[Editorial] President Roh Is Still Obsessed with His Own Idea

Posted August. 19, 2005 03:04,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said yesterday at his first meeting with political editors of major media companies since his inauguration that he feels his position is very different from that of the general public on current political issues such as his proposal for a coalition government. He even added, “I bear responsibility for this.” He made a similar remark on August 16. He expressed his frustration to his aides in Cheong Wa Dae that his sincere message doesn’t get across to people, saying that “I’d rather be a ‘vegetated president.’”

He also commented about the “leadership crisis” in our society, saying, “If a society lacks political capacity, it fails in one system after another.” He indicated that we are in a society where there is no effective communication and where a viable democracy can’t function properly.

After talking about all these subjects yesterday, he brought up the same agenda again--his proposal for a coalition government--which he said is very different from what Korean people have on their minds. He even said sarcastically, “The Grand National Party seems to have rejected the idea because they believed that they had nothing to gain. They could have politically upgraded themselves if they had refused the idea based on convincing logic.”

The president’s obsession with his own idea seems to have gone too far. The media and opposition parties have pointed out problems and loopholes in his proposal for the coalition government numerous times. The Grand National Party even said that they don’t want to talk about it any more because they’re tired of it.

He went on to talk about another idea of his own. He said that there was no serious fault for which the government should be held responsible regarding the alleged wiretapping of the NIS under former president Kim Dae-jung. But the former president’s aides said that this remark could only confuse people.

Again, failed politics are now attributable neither to the minority government nor to the election system. Rather, it is because the leaders of the ruling party lack efficient leadership and have relied not on the blueprints for the future but on amateurism and populism in managing national affairs. Furthermore, the president’s tendency to pass the buck to others in almost all problems ranging from the minority government and economic difficulty to the leadership crisis rules out any possibility for improvement in the situation.

What people want from the president is simple. They want him to put aside the logic of political wrangling and to concentrate on improving the quality of lives of people. According to a recent survey conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institute (KSOI), as many as 66.5 percent of those surveyed answered that the first priority of the government should be economic recovery. Only 5.6 percent answered that the government should focus on resolving social conflicts, including regional animosity, which the president cited as the reason why the coalition government is needed. Don’t test the people’s patience any more. Koreans are already frustrated enough with what the president has said.