[EDITORIALS]Warm words, positive resultsPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s approval rating has been climbing lately. It had peaked around the time of the April elections, then gone downhill, bottoming out around 20 percent not long ago. But since November, it has been rising; in the most recent survey, according to the Blue House, it reached 38 percent.
Between November and now, Mr. Roh hasn’t stirred up major political controversy, nor has he made any particularly stimulating remarks in an attempt to win support. President Roh was not trying to win any political battles during this period. All he did was try to be true to his duties as president.
He had shown he was working hard for Korea’s interests by going to the United States, Europe, Japan and many other Asian countries, and by meeting with his counterparts to try to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue. He also made a surprise visit to the Korean troops in Iraq. He showed the nation he could be relied upon.
The fact that simply doing his routine duties caused his approval rating to rise means a great deal. It proves that the people want a president who can change things slowly, without creating uncertainty. The Blue House’s analysis is interesting: It says the president’s poll numbers went up every time he mentioned the importance of being generous or tolerant.
The president had said, “Tolerance does not mean just forgiving another’s faults; it means that one accepts differences, embraces them and engages in discussion.” He also said that the Uri Party’s four reform bills could wait while other important issues are resolved. At a Blue House dinner with reporters on Tuesday, he made another notable remark: “I want a sound and warm relationship with the media.” He added, “I was uncomfortable with our relationship, but I am sure the media was more so.”
If President Roh’s comforting words have caused his poll numbers to jump, consider how many people will be consoled if his words are followed by changes in his actions. Reportedly, he hates hearing it said that “the president has changed.” So we are very cautious about saying that his recent remarks could be hints of a change in the direction in which he will steer the government. But let’s hope the president will realize that his gentle words can actually be a relief to the people. Let’s also hope that he meant it when he said, “I will be better in the new year. I will make people happy.”