Lingle made smart move with GOP
Among the many reasons we are living in a great political year is the fact that our own beloved but most isolated spot on the globe, Hawaii, is a player.
The new kid in the national political firmament, Gov. Sarah Palin, is the latest to find a Hawaii link. Adding to that Palin attachment is Hawaii's Gov. Linda Lingle, who has become a valuable surrogate on the national stage.
Yes, we all know about Barack Obama's birth and education in Hawaii, how his values were shaped by our own island culture.
We learned that in 1979, Navy liaison officer John McCain, a former POW and the married father of three, met Cindy Hensley for the first time in Honolulu. The pair had drinks at the Royal Hawaiian and according to McCain's own account fell in love.
As for Palin, according to Associated Press reports, she first went to the University of Hawaii at Hilo after graduating from high school in Alaska in 1982, but according to a biography, left after a few weeks. Later that year she registered at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, but left after her freshman year.
Lingle knows even more about Palin because she was attending a governor's conference on energy in April when Lingle says Palin, pregnant with her fifth child, went into labor.
Lingle told a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Palin substituted for the keynote speaker, delivering first a speech on strategic energy policy and then dashing back to Alaska to deliver her son.
Although Lingle is playing the part of stalwart supporter and now speculates that Sen. John McCain and Palin could win Hawaii in November, it is about as likely that the GOP will seize control of the Hawaii Legislature this fall.
What is likely is that Lingle will come out of the race a winner. Lingle has expressed some real enthusiasm to be a campaign surrogate this fall on the mainland. Her speech at the GOP could go on the road and with a few more personal notes could help.
If McCain and Palin win, then Lingle would be due major help from the national GOP if she decides for higher office in 2010.
Even if McCain and Palin lose in November, the GOP will still have to remember Lingle as a loyalist, who campaigned for a woman, who was far out of sync with both her own and the state's political values. And also she backed a presidential nominee who also disagreed with several of Lingle's own political objectives, such as the native Hawaii sovereignty bill.
Win or lose, Lingle on the national campaign trial should pay off for Hawaii's GOP governor.