The second installment of the presidential debate was not as riveting as the first one, but it still had plenty of good moments. This Facebook page provides a very helpful view of the debate — perhaps marking the only time in which Timeline has been put to a good use.
Some impressions and highlights:
– This time, there was a meaningful battle between the two leading candidates, Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in. Moon first opened fire by assessing that Lee Myung-bak administration failed in the pocketbook economy, as well as democracy, economic development and North Korea relations, and argued that Park, as a fellow NFP member, jointly holds responsibility. Park responded by pointing out that Roh Moo-hyun administration saw a dramatic rise in college tuition, real property values and household debt, and Moon’s policies were more of the same of the Roh administration.
– The Lee Jeong-hee show continued. After her scintillating TV debate debut, Lee pointed out in her opening statement that the NFP submitted a bill restricting the appearance of minor candidates on TV debates, and said NFP has “yushin style, Park Chung-hee style.” Lee also accused that Park did not pay taxes on the KRW 600 million that Chun Doo-hwan paid her, nor on the house that Park currently lives. (Park received the house for free in 1980, shortly after her father was assassinated.)
– To her credit, Park Geun-hye was better prepared against Lee’s attacks. When Lee asked Park about the details of minimum wage, Park responded: “I don’t think it is appropriate play this ‘Twenty Questions’ game, trying to play ‘gotcha’ if the other person doesn’t know something. We are here to discuss the big vision for the future, how to give hopes to the people and lead the country; this is as if a teacher is asking a student, ‘Did you do this homework?'” A very nice, dignified parry on Lee’s attacks.
– The more I watch Park Geun-hye, the more she reminds me of George W. Bush — and not because they both have fathers who were presidents. The similarity that strikes me is: I believe that both are quite intelligent, but boy, do they suck at talking. When Moon Jae-in delivered one of his better zingers regarding Park’s proposed expansion of healthcare (“How is it rational for the country to take care of heart disease, but not liver disease?”), Park responded with a stuttering non-sequitur that sounded like a restatement of her original position. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself:
지금, 그 가장 국민들이 어, 그, 이 이런 중증 으로 인해가지고 가정파탄까지 나는 그런 중증들을 먼저 그런 것부터 우리가 건강 보험에서 100% 어, 보장을 함으로서 어, 그, 그런 중병을 앓아도 병원도 못가고 치료도 못받는 이런 그 국민들이 없도록 해야되겠다 그렇게 시작을 하는 겁니다.
Park also pledged to “promote the underground economy” [지하경제를 활성화] to fund her welfare expansion — this is likely a mistake from the intended statement, “incorporate the underground economy (into the regular economy)” [지하경제를 양성화].