Work less, think morePresident Lee Myung-bak must ask himself what went wrong from the beginning. When he was sworn in, he promised to create endless opportunities and reignite growth in this country. The people found hope in his words and trusted that he would make the country as successful as he.
After less than three months, however, the president’s approval rating stands at 29 percent and is unlikely to rebound. No president in the history of Korea has ever experienced such a sharp fall. The people worry about the president, instead of the president worrying about the people.
At first, the people thought the president was overly motivated and were understanding about his mistakes. Now they have run out of patience. The president must turn a corner in his governance. He should go through some serious self-reflection and listen to public opinion. He must reform personnel affairs in his party, the government and the Blue House.
The biggest problem lies with the president himself. He lamented the failure of the government to communicate with the people when handling issues concerning public health and food safety. But he must realize that he is at the center of this breakdown.
The president should listen to the people first, and should be thoughtful when he speaks. The citizens are not employees of a company of which he is the CEO.
But when some citizens agonized over the opening of our beef market, the president said first-class farmers wouldn’t need to worry about an open market, and that the rest was up to consumers. This makes sense, but his words still upset both farmers and consumers. While the people became increasingly agitated, broadcasters aired programs about mad cow disease, driving the situation to the point of public hysteria.
The president’s most serious political issue, his conflict with former GNP chairwoman Park Geun-hye, was caused because Park can’t trust him. The president also failed in personnel affairs. Although he pursues competence in politics, he employed incompetent people for his cabinet and the Blue House. He must clear suspicions that he just hired close friends for the positions.
The president has been working hard, with his team following unquestioningly. The Blue House and the government have been working like servants. The question is what they are working so hard for.
The president must work less and think more. He must look into his problems and reform government affairs.