Hawaii calls, but will Obama come home?
If there is part of the image of Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama that needs buffing it is as commander-in-chief.
Candidates campaign in poetry, govern in prose and run the military by counting how many boots you can put on the ground.
So far Obama gets an A in eloquence and inspiration, but he has left many frustrated with a lack of specifics about how he would deal with a military that many fellow Democrats, including Rep. Neil Abercrombie, say is broken and needs to be fixed.
Obama has already assembled a group of distinguished retired generals to advise his campaign and in April he called for expanding the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000. But the military conservatives want more specifics.
For a moment last week it appeared that Obama and the military would be coming together in the most unlikely of places: Honolulu. But, if you think about it, this city is the perfect backdrop for a military speech.
It is here that foreign bombs attacked America, it is here that America entered World War II and it is here that America sharpens the point of the spear with ships, submarines, airplanes and soldiers ready to strike across the globe.
Originally the idea surfaced in a New York Times article quoting unnamed Obama campaigners saying that the Illinois senator would come to Hawaii to deliver a major speech at Punchbowl.
Punchbowl, more correctly known as the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, would be a wonderful backdrop, but it won't happen. Political campaigning is not allowed in national cemeteries period. Officials at the cemetery said they have not been called by the Obama campaign. Mercifully, we are spared seeing politicians using Arlington as a backdrop of saber-rattling and that's why Punchbowl hasn't become the photo-op of choice.
That should not stop Obama from finding his way to Hawaii on Memorial Day to trumpet a strong military.
There are other spots for Obama to launch a military speech besides Punchbowl. Who would not understand the symbolism of speech on military preparedness from the deck of the battleship Missouri. A zoom out from the Arizona Memorial to the surrender deck of the Missouri marks the beginning and end to World War II, and a speech there would not be misunderstood.
A trip to Pearl Harbor by Obama serves two more purposes. First he gets quality time with both his grandmother and Sandy Beach. If he wins in November, Obama will get more time with tutu, but there is no way the Secret Service will allow him near Sandy Beach.
And if Obama wins, it will be good for the national media to start learning the difference between mauka and makai.