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[Editorial] Lessons From the Republican Party and Obama

Posted February. 01, 2010 07:38,   


Republican lawmakers of the U.S. House of Representatives invited President Barack Obama to a policy conference Friday. At the GOP House Issues Conference that lasted for 90 minutes, Obama criticized and expressed his regret over the party’s policies. Republican lawmakers, however, observed proper decorum.

The Republican Party invited Obama to show the American people that it is not a party of “no” but a party of policy that can discuss with everyone with an open mind. For his part, Obama might have accepted the invitation to as an opportunity to explain his policies to the people and refute the opposition party’s criticism. Whatever the political reasons of both sides, Korean politicians should learn a lesson from President Obama and House Republicans, who willingly came together to discuss contentious issues.

In Korea, too much tension exists between the president and opposition parties and between the ruling and opposition parties. They keep stressing the importance of communication, but nobody takes the initiative. Insisting on a “debate to the end” like picking a fight is not a sincere attitude to begin dialogue.

Main opposition Democratic Party Chairman Chung Sye-kyun put forth a week ago a “new Democratic Party plan” aimed at wealth distribution and economic growth. He suggested the same plan eight months ago. Nevertheless, his party, which dominated parliament for 10 years, has yet to present itself as an alternative party capable of taking power though two years have passed since it lost power. Rather, it continues to stand against every policy the ruling party pursues. The progressive Democratic Labor Party, which marked its 10th anniversary Saturday, is struggling because the majority of the country’s workers have turned against the party due to its pro-North Korea stance. Though its approval rating once reached 18 percent, the progressive party is having trouble fielding candidates for the local elections in June.

Opposition parties are not only to blame for the backwardness of Korean politics, but they must learn from the U.S. Republican Party, which invited the president to its policy discussion. Korea’s opposition parties could make the same attempt over the revision to the Sejong City project. The ruling Grand National Party is more to blame in this instance, however, because its members have failed to communicate with one another over a matter that could determine the nation’s fate.

The Korean people’s main concerns are job creation and economic recovery. Both the ruling and opposition parties must show different attitudes at the extra parliamentary session that begins today.