[EDITORIALS]It’s called chutzpah

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[EDITORIALS]It’s called chutzpah

Lee Byung-wan, the Blue House chief of staff, said in a speech that the Roh Moo-hyun administration has come the closest of any administration to represent ingKorea’s democracy and constitutional spirit in its original form. He added that although the economy was doing well, people were still struggling in the aftermath of the financial crisis of the 1990s.
Implicit in his comments was the complaint that the public does not appreciate the efforts that the administration is making to solve problems that are nearly impossible to solve. Mr. Lee was proud of the work the administration has done, stressing that no matter which direction the next administration goes, it could not turn back the decision to set up a new administrative city in the central part of the country.
“Whoever becomes the next president will be a happy administrative president,” Mr. Lee said.
Because of the direction this administration is going today, it is difficult to visualize the next president saying that he is a happy president. Rather Mr. Roh’s successor will probably complain about the 20-trillion-won ($21 billion) national debt the Roh administration will have left behind in trying to build a happy administrative city.
The huge real estate bubble is another problem that the next president will find intractable. Even the idea of separating the economy from the livelihood of the public is a strange distortion of economics.
The self-admiration evident in boasting of being in tune with Korea’s constitutional spirit is too much to take. It was made in a gathering of Roh sympathizers, but it is surely far from what the general populace thinks.
There are larger numbers of people who think this administration has shaken Korea’s identity and historic traditions. It is questionable that ignoring North Korea’s human rights situation, polarizing society and then condemning those who disagree with them is the Korean way to constitutional democracy.
But the biggest question is ― why do administration officials keep saying these things? Even after its election romp on May 31, the Grand National Party has been properly modest. They know they did not win the election because they did well, but because the public turned against an administration and party that has done so badly.
The Blue House blames others and complains that the public is not appreciative.
So who appears to be on the right track here? Mr. Lee should stop boasting and get back to the people’s business.
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