Two-faced scoundrelsTwenty-three legislators who have defected from the Uri Party registered yesterday as a negotiation group of the National Assembly under the name, “a group for a new party.” Their mass defection had no basis in faith or belief. It made Korean politics seem even dirtier. Still, the reality is that they are now the third-biggest force within the National Assembly. They will be given an office and they might have the casting votes for bills that are pending debate.
Their first action was to throw brickbats at President Roh Moo-hyun during a weekend workshop. Lee Kang-rae, a legislator who was a key member of Mr. Roh’s camp during the 2002 presidential race, said that Mr. Roh does not have what it takes to be president. Ooh Che-chang, another legislator, growled at the president, saying, “Mr. Roh sold out all reform-minded politicians and democracy activists.” Uri’s former chief policymaker, Kang Bong-kyun, and former Uri spokesman Jun Byung-hun, along with many other fellow legislators, attacked the president. Meanwhile Mr. Roh said on Friday that Uri defectors should retire from politics. This is feeble mudslinging by both sides; it lacks dignity and does nothing for our beleaguered country.
The attack by the Uri defectors against the president is two-faced. These scoundrels said nothing when they were in the Uri Party because they were trying to stay in tune with a president in power. Now that the power of the president is ebbing they are like hyenas falling on a wounded lion. We hear that remaining Uri members are also joining the criticism against Mr. Roh. Do these former and incumbent Uri legislators think they are free of any responsibility for Mr. Roh’s shortcomings? If so, they are mixing cowardice with wilful ignorance.
It is not proper for the Uri defectors to criticize Mr. Roh. They must share responsibility for his failed administration. The Uri defectors said that they have the same stance as Mr. Roh on everything except his proposal for a constitutional amendment. So what is the point of their defection? Is it only because they wanted to level criticism against the president? They say that they will soon start the drive to build a new party, seeking an alliance with other politicians. But we wonder whether they can take this initiative when they do not have a clear identity. They have to make clear their stance on proposed reforms of private schools, pensions, real estate and the judiciary. We hope that they will tailor their positions to fit the needs of the public, but we are not optimistic.