Self-righteousness showingIn an alarming turn of events, a group of first-term lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party (DP) asked the new party leadership to relay their opposition to appointing three of President Moon Jae-in’s nominees for cabinet positions. In a meeting Tuesday at the National Assembly, the first-term legislators confirmed their request to the party leadership to deliver their strong opposition to appointing all three when party leaders meet with Moon in the Blue House Friday.
The freshman lawmakers’ position carries significance as it was made public after the president again requested the legislature send him the required report on the three nominees by Friday. The three controversial nominees are Science and ICT Minister nominee Lim Hye-sook, Oceans and Fisheries Minister nominee Park Jun-young and Land Minister nominee Noh Hyeong-ouk. In a special address on Monday to mark his fourth year in office, Moon made remarks suggesting that he was committed to all three nominees. He said their appointments did not signify any kind of Blue House failure to screen candidates for appointments properly. Political analysts linked his comments to the need to rally support from DP lawmakers to press ahead with the appointments despite ethical lapses in the three candidates’ pasts. The only DP lawmaker against their appointment was Rep. Lee Sang-min, a fifth-term lawmaker. The action the political freshmen took under such circumstances reflected their idealistic hope that their voices would be heard in the Blue House.
Some news media reported that the DP’s new leadership already delivered the first-term lawmakers’ demand to the president. That is not officially confirmed. Yet Rep. Song Yong-gil, new leader of the DP and a fifth-term lawmaker, stressed that the ruling party must lead its relationship with the Blue House from now on.
Public opinion about the three nominees is negative. In a recent survey, six out of 10 people opposed their appointments. That reaction shows a profound gulf between a self-righteous president and his people. As the new DP leadership meets with the president on Friday — Moon’s deadline for the submission of the required report on their approval — we hope both sides iron out their differences. We look forward to seeing genuine presidential respect for freshman politicians if Moon does not want to see another election defeat in the future.