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.