[EDITORIALS] MDP's 'document politics'

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[EDITORIALS] MDP's 'document politics'

The code word that describes some of the conduct of the Millennium Democratic Party could well be "document politics." In almost every major issue or scandal arousing suspicion about the Kim Dae-jung administration, there has been a document with the names of MDP party officials associated with it. There were the documents that described a scenario for stifling the major media, and there was one that linked the issue of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's visit to South Korea to the presidential election. The public has been suspicious about the smell of malice and the cunning political strategies in those documents. Now a new document surfaces, attributed to somebody at a think tank of questionable integrity, that discusses the "impossibility" of Grand National Party candidate Lee Hoi-chang becoming president.

As MDP Chairman Han Hwa-kap said, documents such as this can be part of the normal political process. As a party that stands opposed to Lee Hoi-chang's candidacy, it has the right to draw up a strategy document that is based on logic and substance. The problem is that the document proposes to use intellectuals close to the party, public interest groups, the Internet and television documentaries to spread the logic. There is enough in the document to suggest that the author wants to use extra-party channels for its purpose. It is also unnerving that the document proposes to enlist the civic groups, academics and the friendly media that were in full cry when the government was out to get the hostile media.

The danger of document politics is in trying to turn around a bad situation by foul means. The "either you're with us or you're not" mentality, instead of a spirit of coexistence, leads to sly and no-holds-barred maneuvering. We saw such tactics in 2000 when the Grand National Party grouped journalists into two groups, friends and enemies.

The MDP must come clean about the source of the most recent document and how far up the leadership it went. The party cannot brush it aside as unofficial. Shedding the conspiracies inherent in document politics is a precondition to sound politics in a democracy.

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