The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: 2012 Korean presidential election

If at first you don’t succeed, get a White House petition going

A “Yun C” in Great Neck, New York has apparently got a White House petition going calling for a recount of the Korean presidential election vote.

Or at least that’s what it seems to be. Read it and try guessing what it means.

The petition reportedly began on some Korean sites in the United States. Korean-Koreans have been participating, too, as word spread via SNS and sites like Daum’s Agora. And it wouldn’t be the Chosun Ilbo without a quote from disapproving netizens who note the absurdity of folk who are “incessantly anti-American” trying to drag the United States into this problem.

Young people angry, call for end to senior welfare benefits

In a story placed very prominently on both the Chosun’s and Dong-A’s websites, Yonhap warns that Park Geun-hye’s election may have sparked inter-generational tensions, with young folk expressing with discontent with online petitions calling for an end to welfare benefits for seniors.

On the day after the election, a netizen started an online petition at Daum’s Agora calling for an end to seniors being allowed to ride the subway for free. So far, that poll has garnered 9,150 signatures.

The netizen who started the petition argued that since old folk don’t like national welfare, the free subway rides for seniors system should be abolished. Perhaps then they might come to appreciate what welfare is, he said.

In signing the petition, another netizen commented that it was only logical that until the generation that truly supports welfare can get free subway rides, the elderly generation—which is ungrateful for welfare—should not be able to ride for free. Another netizen commented that since old people opposed free child care and half-priced tuitions, free subway rides and old-age pensions should be abolished, too.

Yet another netizens began an online petition to abandon basic old-age pensions. He argued that it’s clear old folk are people of means as demonstrated in the election, and that the time had come to collect those benefits from the people who call welfare “populism.” He said they had tried to persuade older voters that we should all live together, but these efforts had rewarded with accusations of being “commies.”

In the comments, supporters argued that those who cursed free school lunches for children as “commie” had no right to enjoy welfare benefits, and that old folk should be prepared to take responsibility for their vote; young people shouldn’t have to take responsibility for it.

Agora is a bastion of progressive netizendom, so there were many calls for restraint from those worried about generating a generational clash. Just a few noted that since they, too, would be old one day, they would also receive old-age benefits in the future.

At another major humor website, there was pretty opened discontent with the way older voters voted heavily for Park Geun-hye. One netizen said after the election that there were a lot of stupid old people, and that people in their 20s—40s knew the society in which we live better than the elderly. Another netizen declared he would no longer respect the elderly, for they had ruined the nation for his children and grandchildren. Other said they would no longer give up their seats to old people on buses and subways. And then there were the folk who said simply that they wanted to kill all old folk.

Some professor told Yonhap that inter-generational tensions began five years ago, and five years from now it would become a “war.” These tensions would increase as the economic criss begins in earnest and young people and old people fight over limited government resources.

Another professor said since Park’s victory was razor thin, their could be a lot of disappointment in the election result. Because inter-generational tensions regarding major social issues could express themselves at any time, the new administration needed to put forth policy active alternatives.

Marmot’s Note: I can’t imagine he’d be much of a Moon Jae-in fan, but Mark Steyn certainly could appreciate voters taking responsibility for their votes.

Anyway, I think I can see why an article like this would appeal to the Chosun and Dong-A—not only are young people lazy and entitled, but they’re unappreciative of the sacrifices of the older generation. And rude to boot!

More presidential election post-mortem analysis

– Ye Olde Chosun—or at least the two companies it hired—broke down the Twitter numbers over the last three months and discovered something interesting—contrary to popular opinion, which holds that the Korean Twitterverse is a bastion of left-wing/progressive opinion, most (62.6%) of the tweets (including retweets) that mentioned “Park Geun-hye” and her dad Park Chung-hee in the same tweet were positive, while the overwhelming number (90.1%) of tweets that mentioned Moon Jae-in and his former boss, Roh Moo-hyun, in the same tweet were negative. Tweet mentions also roughly mirrored the election results.

– The conservative press is piling on United Progressive Party candidate Lee Jung-hee. According to experts, a sense of insecurity among voters in their 50s and 60s was a major factor in Park’s victory, reports the Chosun Ilbo. North Korea’s missile launch and suspicions that late President Roh tried to abandon the NLL were among the causes of this insecurity, but Lee’s rhetoric during the debates also helped drive older voters to the polls. In sum, older voters felt attacks on Park Chung-hee were attacks on them. The Chosun also suggests that the opposition siege of the NIS agent also led to blowback.

The Dong-A Ilbo also pointed to Lee’s rhetoric as a factor in mobilizing the conservative vote. It also notes that her party may now become the wangtta of the progressive movement.

Now, how much of this is true and how much of this is self-justifications of the conservative media’s pre-election coverage, I leave up to you.

Some of the names being bandied about within the SNP for chairman of the presidential transition team include Public Happiness Promotion Committee chairman Kim Jong-in, former Kim Dae-jung chief of staff Han Kwang-ok, National Future Institute (or something like that) director Kim Gwang-du, and former Deputy Prime Minster in Charge of Economic Affairs Jin Nyum. A lot of folk from the Honam region, including several former Kim Dae-jung administration officials. Some other names being talked about are SNU professor Song Ho-geun and former People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy co-chair and former Beautiful Foundation head Minister Park Sang-jeung, who recently seems to have undergone a conversion to the (moderate) right.

– That a lot of former DJ folk might be included in the Park administration shouldn’t be surprising. In the Jeolla provinces, there seems to be some resentment that a) the current DUP movers are former Roh guys from Busan/Gyeongsangnam-do and b) that the DUP takes them for granted, or as former Democratic Party heavyweight Han Hwa-gap (from the Jeolla provinces) put it while announcing his support for Park Geun-hye prior to the election, “The current Democratic Party just needs the Jeolla provinces for votes; it doesn’t do anything for the Jeolla provinces. As long as the Jeolla provinces support the Democratic Party, it’s a Democratic Party colony.” Now, the Jeolla provinces still voted heavily in favor of Moon Jae-in, so make of that what you will.

– Something interesting about the Seoul Education chief elections—according to exit polls, voters in their 20s broke in favor of the conservative candidate. According to the Chosun, this is because voters in their 20s are the first generation to have been schooled after the legalization of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) in 1999. To sum up the Chosun, voters in the 30s (who voted for the progressive candidate, the former chief of the KTU) remember KTU teachers as hardworking, friendly and passionate, while those in their 20s remember them for their excessive political and ideological activity.

– The good folks at podcast Nakkomsu are currently facing complaints from the NIS, Park Geun-hye’s brother and the Saenuri Party. Jesus. See this for some background.

– Last, but not least, Russian-born entertainer Larisa kept her pre-election promise. In a theater in Daehangno, she did the horse dance nude. And the Dong-A Ilbo, bless their hearts, were there to photograph it.

Park Geun-hye: The Old Folk Strike Back

The JoongAng Ilbo examines the role older voters—who make up 40% of the electorate—played in putting Park on top.

In particular, the JoongAng noted that polling data prior to the election tended to skew progressive since most polling is online, favoring younger, more Internet-savvy voters. In the words of one consulting company head, the “hidden conservative vote”—I guess something akin to Nixon’s Silent Majority—wasn’t being reflected in the polls.

The result was that older voters—watching the online polls—turned out en masse Wednesday out of a sense of crisis to vote for Park Geun-hye.

In particular, security issues—the North Korean missile launch and allegations the Roh administration wanted to abandon the NLL—may have played an important role in Park’s better-than-expected performance in Gyeonggi-do and Incheon, where districts close to North Korea or with lots of military facilities voted heavily in favor of Park.

The JoongAng also cited some other victory factors, most notably Park’s own personal “brand,” which allowed her to win as a ruling party candidate despite the current administration’s approval rating of just 25.6%. Also helping was Park’s strong support in her home region, her double-digit performance in Honam (a first for the conservatives), a unified conservative movement and disorder and mistakes by the opposition.

Ye OIde Election Map


Taken from here.

Park Geun-hye did manage to get double digits in Jeollanam-do and Jeollabuk-do, although her 7% performance in Gwangju was less than LMB’s 9%. The 13% in Jeollabuk-do was a tad disappointing, too, as the Park camp had internally been hoping for 20% or more.

North Koreans disappointed with Park victory

Reporting from North Korea, China’s official CCTV says most of the North Koreans it talked to were disappointed with Park Geun-hye’s victory.

North Korea’s official media, on the other hand, has yet to issue a position on the election results.

CCTV thinks the glum mood in Pyongyang is because North Koreans believe Park will treat the North much as Lee Myung-bak has.

Anyway, the North is expected to say, well, something about Park’s victory soon.

Meet the new bosses

The JoongAng Ilbo looks at some of the folk who are likely to play major roles in the Park Geun-hye administration.

The two men at the center of Team Park are Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan and former lawmaker Kim Moo-sung.

Choi was the first head of Park’s campaign team, but when Park’s numbers began plummeting due to historical issues, he took responsibility and resigned. As the Chosun Ilbo notes, though, he’s been taking separate orders from Park since, and he’s considered “one of the most influential of the influential.”

Kim and ran a very effective campaign as Park’s “field general.” He’s an interesting figure—he was passed over for nomination by the GNP/SNP not once but twice. The first time was in 2008, when he was one of several Park loyalists who were virtually purged from the party ahead of the general election. He ran in his district in Busan as an independent, won, and rejoined the party. Then this year, he was passed over for nomination again. Rather than leave the party and possibly cause a split, he fell on his sword and stepped aside. This is credited with keeping the party intact, leading to the SNP’s surprising victory in the April general election.

Some other names you’ll probably be hearing a lot in days to come are Yu Jeong-bok, Hong Mun-jong, Seo Byeong-su, Lee Ju-yeong, Yun Sang-hyeon, Lee Hak-jae, Lee Sang-il and Gwon Yeong-se.

At any rate, Park plans to name the head of her transition team by Dec 23 and fill out the rest of the team by the 26th, or at the least by the end of the year. One of the biggest gripes Park’s people had with Lee Myung-bak early on was that LMB filled his transition team out largely with his own people. Park is expected to include a lot of academic types and experts in her transition team. She’s also expected to include politicians from outside the Yeongnam region and perhaps even opposition figures. In particular, don’t be surprised if a non-politician gets named as the head of the team.

Oh, and the “keywords” of the incoming administration include taetangpyeong (basically, overcoming factionalism), citizen unity, 100% Republic of Korea, economic democratization, coexistence, era of citizen happiness, strong security and diplomacy of trust, and proper historical understanding.

Korea gets its first woman president

Moon Jae-in is conceding, which means Park Geun-hye is the president-elect.


– The Asia Gyeongje is pointing to three major reasons for Moon’s defeat:

1) The DUP couldn’t answer why voters should vote for Moon. They ran against Park, not for Moon. Hard to pick up centrists and independent voters like that.

2) Moon Jae-in’s campaign team was a disaster.

3) Tepid support from Ahn Cheol-soo.

– Yonhap notes that not only is Park the first woman president, she’s the first presidential candidate to get over 50% of the vote. This is largely thanks to the absence of any popular third-party candidates.

Unless you live in the Honam region or Seoul, you voted for Park Geun-hye.

– According to exit polling data, women broke slightly for Park Geun-hye, while men broke slightly for Moon Jae-in. Voters 50 or over broke for Park (with voters over 60 heavily breaking for Park), while voters under 50 went for Moon.

– Not to pile on, but the SNP won the Gyeongnam gubernatorial race (not surprising, considering the opponent), and conservative Moon Yong-lin wil be the next Seoul education chief.

– The Hani notes that the surprising result of this election—with a conservative winning despite high voter turnout—might reflect changes in Korea’s demographics, which is to say, there’s a lot more older voters now.

– Enjoying a nice Chilean cabernet as I go through the post-game analysis. Wife is watching “Upside Down.” Saw “Dredd” earlier this evening. Not a bad film, even in 2D.

– Yonhap has a good summary of how the Gyeongnam gubernatorial race went down.

– Teachers, break out your “love sticks”—the new Seoul education chief is already talking about changing the students human rights ordinance, blamed by conservatives for making classrooms unmanageable.


The sun still rose this morning. Well, that’s promising.

More presidential election stuff

– The Hani has an interview with a “former high-ranking NIS official” who claims the NIS has three teams of agents (76 folk in total) dedicated to waging comment war battles on behalf the LMB administration. Color me skeptical, but I suppose it’s possible.

– Is the Park Geun-hye camp giving the foreign press a hard time over using the word “dictator”? That’s what the DUP is claiming, anyway:

Foreign journalists in South Korea are reportedly unhappy with the Saenuri Party’s tactics. Shin Jae-yeon, deputy spokesperson for the foreign press for Democratic United Party challenger Moon Jae-in, said foreign reporters had talked about being repeatedly contacted by Saenuri members questioning why they had used certain expressions.

“The reporters are taking these as attempts to control the foreign press by denying the legacy of the dictatorship,” Shin said. “It’s extremely upsetting to them.”

– Something interesting I read this morning—several government ministries released press statements after the third presidential debate refuting statements made my Moon Jae-in during the debate. Not sure how I feel about that, actually.

– Korean novelist and Twitter star Lee Oisoo wants you to vote. I could deal without the gloom, but here it is anyway:

– The WSJ offers a pretty good look at the election and why this year’s campaign season seems so underwhelming. Part of it is the candidates themselves, part of it’s resignation, and part of it is greater democratic maturity.

And on the election front…

– So, the NIS agent/SF Giants fan who’d been kept virtual prisoner in her own home by DUP members accusing her and other NIS psych-op agents of running an online slander campaign against Moon Jae-in has turned her computers over to investigators. She herself, however, has yet to appear for questioning, citing poor health and psychological trauma. The DUP has also turned over its evidence to prosecutors, although prosecutors are saying the DUP’s evidence amounts to virtually zippo.

With the agent turning over her computers to the authorities, the DUP is now raising suspicions that she has already deleted all the evidence. Hey, could be true, I suppose.

– Park Geun-hye thinks the DUP are being a bunch of meanies in regards to the NIS agent and the campaign in general. On the stump in lovely Uijeongbu (I don’t mean that sarcastically. It seemed a lot nicer last time I was up there), Park said in a democracy, the process is just as important as the result, and that people must stop thinking that anything goes as long as they can seize power. See, she’s learning.

– On the stump for Park Geun-hye in Daegu, actor Gang Man-hee demonstrated his rich experience in historical dramas by saying that Ahn Cheol-soo was a gansin (disloyal subject), and that gansin should be killed. Lovely.

– I know TK has suggested it here before, but even the head of a defector group in Seoul is suggesting North Korea might be pulling for Park Geun-hye. You know, political dynasties looking out for one another. Personally, I think it’s a load of crap, but you never know.

Park still leading in polls even after Ahn backs Moon

The Dong-A Ilbo has a round-up of the polling data.

All told, Moon has closed the gap somewhat since he got Ahn’s full support, but Park still leads by 0.6—6.8 percentage points, depending on the poll.

Thursday will be the last day the media can announce poll results, so the poll prognosticators will be out in force this week.

Ahn throws full weight behind Moon… I think.

Former presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has decided to really back Moon Jae-in:

Moments after Ahn Cheol-soo ended his multi-week circus of flip-flopping and committed to the campaign of Democratic United Party (DUP) candidate Moon Jae-in, Woo Sang-ho, Moon’s spokesman, was caught grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“This is s whole new ballgame,’’ said the beaming lawmaker, whose expression was notably gloomier earlier in the day when the union between Moon and Ahn seemed irrevocably damaged and conservative candidate Park Geun-hye’s lead in opinion polls looked to be widening.

While the clock ticks louder toward the Dec. 19 vote, Woo was confident that the endorsement of Ahn, the computer software millionaire popular with both liberal and conservative voters, could prove enough to nudge Moon ahead of Park.

And that’s certainly possible—the Hani’s analysis of several media polls indicate that Moon polls a lot better when Ahn’s helping him out.

Just how enthusiastically Ahn will actually support Moon, we’ll have to see. Judging from Ahn’s recent statements, he’s got a lot of reservations about Moon, particularly in regards to national security. I have to think Moon’s concerned about his political reliability with gameday right around the corner.

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