Grow Up, Mr. Lee

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Grow Up, Mr. Lee

At a recent gathering, Lee In-jae, the leader of the Millennium Democratic Party, who is strongly favored to be selected as the party''s candidate in the next presidential election, is reported to have said, "If I''m not picked to be our party''s candidate, you''ll all be sorry."

Mr. Lee has a record of being unwilling to submit under any circumstances. Before the last presidential election, he hoped to be the Grand National Party candidate, but he promised to toe the party line no matter who was picked.

That promise was quickly forgotten when he was not chosen, and he split from the party and ran on his own. His excuse for not keeping his promise was that he had more support among the people than did Lee Hoi-chang, the man who did become the party''s candidate.

He seems to be saying similar things these days. In recent popularity polls Mr. Lee has come out on top among Millennium politicians but may be concerned that under the rigid one-man-rule of the party he may not get to be its candidate, popular or not.

Maybe this is what he had in mind when he said, "We used to think that it was enough for the party to choose a candidate, because people would vote by party, but now you need popular support even to be a candidate."

Whatever the case, his recent statements are inappropriate. If the party decides on a different candidate for strategic or other valid reasons unrelated to popularity ratings, it shows complete lack of loyalty for a member who feels slighted by that decision to just pack it all in and bolt. Besides, as we have seen in past elections, popularity polls are very fickle.

If his statement is intended to justify his earlier revolt against the party''s rule on presidential candidates, he is mistaken. If Mr. Lee wishes to salvage his image, he should show himself to be a man of high ethical and political caliber instead of giving us a repeat performance or trying to justify his earlier snit. Making indiscreet remarks and reacting precipitately is no benefit to Mr. Lee or to the people.
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