Tag Archives: president

Tainted Presidential Medal of Freedom

It's sad that the first thought that comes into my mind after hearing about six people receiving the Presidential Medal of Honor is to wonder how horribly they must have screwed up. After George W. Bush awarding the medal to several major screw-ups, the automatic reflex is to think that he likes people screwing up America. I know it's stupid to automatically think that the medal recipients must have done something really bad (no doubt most of the recipients did some really good work). I blame Bush.

South Korean government woes

I wonder if South Korean president Lee Myung-bak will be able to get his government back on track? His record might indicate that he's a great businessman, which is probably the reason he got elected, but so far he seems to be terrible as a politician. Will he be able to get back some of the public confidence, or will he continue to be as unpopular or even more so as the previous South Korean president at the end of his term?

It's as if his administration had no one to do any sort of sanity checks on their ideas. It would have been really easy to see that a lot of their plans regarding the grand waterway project or English education would have been strongly opposed or deeply unpopular, but there seemed to be a lack of effort to sensitize the public or rival political parties with them. And while the public's reaction over the beef importation crisis seems to be rather over the top, the administration was so focused on getting the free trade agreement passed that they completely missed public sentiment over the issue.

Now all of his cabinet is offering to resign, which at least is an indication that they realize how bad the problems are. The only question is whether their successors will be able to do a better job, and whether the problems are with the current administration or are they the kind that are endemic with the current situation in South Korea, so that anyone would have been faced with similar problems.

A president's fall from grace

The drop in the approval rating of South Korean president Lee Myung-bak from about 50% to 20% in a little over three months is rather impressive. Elected with the largest margin of victory among South Korean presidents, he's becoming unpopular really fast.

Considering all the political blunders he's made, it's no surprise. One of the first declarations from his administration was their intention to make English an official language for education (and not just for English classes), which would not sit well at all with a Korean-speaking public that already spends too much money on English education. Then he persisted in his plans to build a grand canal throughout Korea despite strong opposition. Trying to strip the power base of a popular political rival within his own party did not go well at all, either. And now the American beef import crisis, which is causing a surge of resentment.

It's almost as if he wants to be unpopular.