[EDITORIALS]A failure to inspire hopeTomorrow, President Roh Moo-hyun celebrates his 100th day in office. His first three months have been full of trial and error, confusion and mix-ups. His popularity, which initially was at a high of 80 percent, has fallen to the 40 percent level, an evaluation that needs no further explanation.
Mr. Roh has, of course, achieved some accomplishments. Recently, he demonstrated he was a realistic statesman in foreign affairs and the economy. His transformation during the South Korea-United States summit, and his recent remarks that alleviated concerns about his anti-business leanings are notable feats. His refusal to receive intelligence briefings and his barring domestic surveillance by the intelligence agency do not seem like political moves.
But the drop in public support was more pronounced in his first 100 days, compared to his predecessors, because the Roh Moo-hyun administration has failed to inspire hope. He has championed breaking from ceremony, format and language. But it is hard to find a definitive vision in policy or one for the government.
In his self-assessment of the first 100 days, Mr. Roh counted a growing public participation in politics, governance through an administrative system and a reformatting of the once cozy relationship between the government and the press. Such a self-congratulatory evaluation might be heard in a different tone from person to person, and it’s likely there may be a big gap in their evaluations.
The division over strikes involving independent truckers, Doosan Heavy Industries and the railway union, and the conflict in the educational sector over the implementation of a nationwide database system, have seriously challenged the effectiveness of a participatory government. A certain Blue House senior secretary is seen mediating just about every social conflict, decisions deemed irretrievable during the cabinet meetings were overturned by phone calls and the deputy prime minister, kept in the dark about the government stance on the educational database, flip-flopped in his decision.
Using unrefined and provocative language, he asked the press to exercise discretion in reporting his words. We just cannot agree to that. His overt compassion on corruption implicating his aides begs another question: Can he carry through his goal of reform and root out corruption? We hope for a more mature and stable governance, as promised by the president.