[Viewpoint]A fool’s game

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[Viewpoint]A fool’s game

Emotions can be poisonous. Just ask Kim Seung-youn, chairman of Hanwha Group, who is suffering now due to his use of violence for vengeance. Things might have unfolded in a different way if he hadn’t seen his son come home covered with bloody wounds, or if his aides had waited a day before they carried out orders from an enraged Kim, who said, “Find the culprits immediately.”
With less than five months before the presidential election, words and deeds that are hard to understand are currently rampant in the political arena. That is happening despite the fact that it is obvious politicians’ words will boomerang back at them. They are competing with each other to see who can do the most foolish thing.
At the moment, the Grand National Party is engaged in a serious emotional confrontation. The campaign camps of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye are staging a fierce life-or-death struggle. The attacks from each camp, meant to find faults with the rival candidate, may be a piece of cake compared to the attacks that will come from the rival parties during the general election.
When the candidate who wins the primary enters the main race, he or she will be exposed to a much fiercer offensive. Grand National Party supporters won’t have to worry about the aftereffects of the primary if the winner quickly shows broad-mindedness and does not act arrogantly toward the loser. The problem is that they are too caught up in their fight. What does the Grand National Party hope to accomplish by making an internal fight public? Was going to court the only way to stop the negative campaign? The excuse they made was that there was nothing they could do to defend themselves because the other side was suing them. As a result, we are in an unprecedented situation in which prosecutors are investigating presidential candidates. The prosecution should not be blamed. The two candidates, Lee and Park, brought it upon themselves.
Kim Jae-jung, Lee’s brother-in-law, filed a suit due to controversy over the ownership of a plot of land in Dokok-dong. He might console himself by thinking the lawsuit stopped Lee’s fall in the approval ratings, but the move gave prosecutors a chance to look into Kim’s bank accounts and their links to other related people’s accounts. An officer of the Financial Supervisory Service said, “Once an account is opened, nobody can stop it. Starting to trace an account is like opening Pandora’s Box.” I was embarrassed when Lee’s camp encouraged the prosecutors, saying, “Let’s wait and see their investigation results,” when the investigation on the leakage of an abstract of Lee’s resident registration was likely to hurt candidate Park and her camp because of their presumed involvement in the matter.
Are they saying they are against investigations disadvantageous to them, but for the ones that are advantageous? There is no strategy, logic or consistency. Park’s camp is just the same. Obtaining a residential registration abstract of someone without his or her consent is a violation of resident registration law. No matter how much rushed they were, they should not have illegally tried to obtain materials for an attack.
Park’s camp should have joined Lee’s camp in complaining about the National Intelligence Service after it was revealed that the agency’s task force investigated details about Lee’s personal property ownership and other private matters.
It was not proper for Park’s aides to say, “The true nature of the problem is that the suspicions about Lee must be verified.”
Acting that way raises suspicions about Park, who said, “I give foremost priority to the party and regaining political power.” If Park wins the Grand National primary and advances to the main race and her rival candidate exposes critical material about her past that is leaked through the intelligence agency, she will not be able to defend herself.
Letting prosecutors interfere in a party primary election is something only a fool would do. The proper step is to withdraw the lawsuits they’ve filed against each other.
How can they say they will regain political power when their political wisdom tells them to make legal appeals into such simple matters as the party primary?

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kim Du-woo

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