Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Verbal sparring

There are two big brawls going on right now in the Korean political arena. One is between the president and others in the progressive camp, the other is between presidential hopefuls in the conservative camp.

In one corner, a customer tries out the brand-new coat called the "flexible progressive," produced by the president in his rebuttal to some progressives’ calling him neoliberalist. She is unsure how it is different from all of the past products. Next door, behind the "self-declared moderate" coat, former Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak and the former chair of the Grand National Party (GNP) Park Geun-hye engage in vicious smear campaigns to vie for the GNP’s nomination. (Hankyoreh, 2007)

Here's the link to a story about the recent exchanges between the Roh Moo Hyun and different progressive camps. Roh has recently accused progressives of not being 'flexible' enough when it comes to neoliberal reform. In the excepts from this exchange published in the Hankyoreh, you can see that members of the KDLP do quite a good job at unpacking Roh's vocabulary.

The exchange between Pres. Roh and a KDLP representative is particularly quote-worthy:
If the President continues to label himself as a flexible progressive while accepting the current "flexibility" of the labor market or the strategic flexibility plan for U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, it means that Korean collaborators with the Japanese during the colonial period were actually ‘flexible nationalists,’ more so than the independence activists at the time, the lawmaker said.

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