[EDITORIALS]Fire the rascalsPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s approval rating hovers barely over 10 percent. That is a natural thing, considering that the administration’s policies have miserably failed amid surging real estate prices and with the people in enormous pain. The ultimate responsibility lies with President Roh, but the presidential secretaries share the responsibility for creating confusion and chaos in managing the administration.
It has been pointed out that ministers expressed their intentions and plans but had to change them overnight because of influence and interference by Blue House officials who were once democracy activists as college students. These secretaries went beyond their duties and did more than streamline management; they made puppets of ministers. Although these secretaries are not competent, they forced others to design and implement policies charged with their ideology and have not taken any responsibility for the failures.
On Thursday, even the governing Uri Party members demanded changes in the Blue House secretariat. The Blue House chief of staff, Lee Byung-wan, said he had a plan to do that anytime if needed. We hope that was not just rhetoric.
Mr. Lee has failed to check presidential secretaries and has not tried to clear up the chaos in personnel affairs and policies. When the president cried out for keeping housing prices in affluent southern Seoul under control, Mr. Lee bought a house in that area. There is nothing wrong with that, but he should have corrected the policy that had been designed with a hostile attitude toward people living there.
Kim Byong-joon, the head of a policy planning advisory commission who made a provocative remark on heavy taxes; and Kim Soo-hyun, a Blue House aide for social policies who is responsible for the government real estate policy; should take responsibility.
Jun Hae-chul, the presidential secretary for civil affairs, is a core figure in personnel policies based on ideology.
Park Nam-choon, the presidential secretary for personnel affairs, has led the fight for his favorite as the new chief justice at the Constitutional Court. As Uri members pointed out, these two should step down as well.
There were 405 people on the Blue House staff at the end of the Kim Dae-jung administration. The number is now 531, the result of former student activists creating jobs for their comrades. The duties and the number of positions at the Blue House should be reduced to avoid chaos and confusion in managing the administration.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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