For Akaka, Senate race is about Time
ED CASE must live a charmed life. He's running for the U.S. Senate against veteran senator and all-around nice guy Dan Akaka but had to feel like his hands were tied because he couldn't really come down hard on one of Hawaii's favorite sons. We all know Akaka isn't the most exciting guy in the world, but anyone running against him would have to show him respect or face the wrath of voters. So how do you rough up such a revered opponent in a political campaign? Well, if you're Ed Case, you sit back and let a major national news magazine do it.
Coming out of left field, not to mention the left wing, Time magazine this week calls Akaka one of the five worst members in the U.S. Senate. Think about that. Think of all the knuckleheads and weirdos in the U.S. Senate: philanderers, miscreants, reprobates, liars, schemers, loafers, hypocrites, cheaters and extortionists and the gentleman from Hawaii is deemed to be one of the worst of the lot? Please. Akaka is none of those things listed above. He's an honorable man. But he's managed to become the first U.S. senator in the history of the republic to be branded bad simply because he is boring.
He is. He's boring. Akaka is like the milkman of the Senate. He goes to work each day. He makes his rounds. But stays quietly in the background. He doesn't pull any babies out of burning buildings or geriatric cases from the paths of buses. Time magazine's biggest indictment against Akaka is that he is a lawmaker who apparently never makes laws. (Frankly, I think we could use more of those kind of lawmakers.)
I'M A FAIRLY informed person but to be honest, I can't think of anything Akaka has done during his 143 years in Congress that is noteworthy. See? I don't even know how long he's been there. I think he was elected to the House during the Roosevelt administration and became senator under Eisenhower. Or maybe it was Lincoln. Who knows?
And yes, as a lawmaker he's been more of a fireplug than a firebrand. But that's just his style. If the Senate were a beauty contest, Akaka would be Mr. Congeniality.
But I'm sure he's chaired many important Senate committees. Even a potted plant gets to head a Senate committee after several decades of perfect attendance. I believe I heard he chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Senate Subcommittees. Or maybe it was the Investigative Bipartisan Committee on Toothpick Safety.
I vaguely recall Akaka did something laudable in 1973, saved an endangered beetle in Arkansas or something.
How unlucky does a harmless veteran Democrat have to be in order for Time magazine to attempt to shed its image as a member of the vast left-wing media machine by labeling you the worst senator in the country in the middle of your reelection campaign?
And how lucky is fellow Democrat Ed Case? All he has to do now is sit back and try to not to gloat while his aides see to it that a copy of Time magazine finds a way into every home in Hawaii. He has to outwardly appear to be shocked and hurt that Time magazine would savage such a venerable personage as Dan Akaka while, inside, you know he's yelling "Yeah, baby!"
Akaka, meanwhile, has got to find a way to toss in a three-pointer at the bell. He needs to pass some really big non-toothpick-related law that will endear him Hawaii voters. I'm thinking about the Give Everyone In Hawaii A Thousand Dollars Act of 2006. Talk about an Akaka Bill.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org