Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Whither the children?

Nearly 100,000 schoolchildren proved to be better at predicting the outcome of Tuesday's elections than the armies of professional campaign handicappers and "exit pollers."

The kids, taking part in an online election run the nonprofit Kids Voting Hawaii, favored George W. Bush for president, Mufi Hannemann for mayor and Daniel Inouye for U.S. Senate. While Inouye's re-election was a no-brainer, you have to give the kids credit for picking the president and mayor.

The youngsters did miss the boat on two congressional races, favoring Republican Dalton Tanonaka over Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Republican Mike Gabbard over Rep. Ed Case. But we really didn't need help in figuring out who was going to win those races. Abercrombie affixes himself so closely to Inouye during campaigns that it takes doctors specializing in separating conjoined twins to cut them apart afterward. Ed Case, referred to by election analysts everywhere as "the cute one," has enough popularity to win on his own. Except, apparently, with the state's youngsters.

What is happening to Hawaii's children? Veteran Democrats ought to be shaking in their rubbah slippahs. It's like Hawaii's raising a crop of little Republicans.

Don't be surprised if Democratic leaders try to raise our voting age to 21. Barely past Dr. Seuss's "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," these kids already are into "One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State." And if they had their way, Hawaii would be a red state.

Winston Churchill said, "If you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative at 40, you have no head." Judging from their voting choices, Hawaii children are shooting straight into middle age.

Democrats won't be able to keep these neo-con sprouts from voting when they turn 18, so they'll have to somehow twist them around to their way of thinking. The easiest way would be to establish the Hawaii Public School Children Association and force them to join. Having several hundred thousand little union members roaming the island would bring a tear to the eye of the late Gov. John Burns.

Democratic politicians knew Hawaii's public school system was having problems, but they never guessed it was turning out a legion of Bush supporters. Egad! Maybe they'd better start piping some Pete Seeger tunes into the classrooms and make the collected works of Ted Kennedy required reading.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com



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