Self-righteousness on displayThe controversy over the Blue House’s special inspection team members involved in a corruption scandal has taken an alarming turn. On Monday, Chairman of the Democratic Party Lee Hae-chan came forward to support Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk, who oversees the team. In a press conference marking the 100th day of his taking the helm of the ruling party, Lee denied any wrongdoings by Cho. “Secretary Cho has nothing to do with the scandal. As the case involves bad practices by special inspectors, and not by Cho, it is not a big issue.” He even asked, “If so, should I take responsibility for whatever problems our party members caused, including violations of the election law?”
Lee, a seven-term lawmaker, served as prime minister and education minister in the liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration. We are dumbfounded at such sophistry from the veteran politician. In fact, the scandal was triggered by those special inspectors who tried to step in to block a police probe into a bribery scandal involving people directly and indirectly related to them. As a result, all of the inspectors had to return to their original organizations. Though such an extraordinary decision by the Blue House well reflects the gravity of the issue, should Cho not be held accountable for the fiasco?
The inspectors in question are also suspected of enjoying free golf with people under police investigation. Nevertheless, Cho did not apologize or express any regrets. If he attempts to avoid responsibility for a shameful case displaying a critical lack of discipline in the Blue House, who should really be held accountable?
We are embarrassed that Democratic Party (DP) lawmakers are taking his side with such nonsensical remarks as “Don’t shake Cho no matter what!” or “Cho should be allowed to continue doing his job.” Rep. Ahn Min-seok, another DP legislator, went so far as to post a ludicrous message on Facebook: “Those who are vociferously calling for Cho’s resignation were collaborators with the former Park Geun-hye administration’s unprecedented abuse of power. If Cho — a symbol of the candlelight movement — steps down, that means the end of the democratic spirit in our society.” The post is a brazen insult to the millions of people who hoped for a better country by participating in massive rallies on Gwanghwamun square last year.
The ruling party is self-righteous and obstinate beyond the realm of ethics. The party must learn some serious lessons from the former administration that collapsed under the weight of such complacency.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 4, Page 30