STAR-BULLETIN / 2004
Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, Sen. John McCain and Gov. Linda Lingle spoke at a press conference on Nov. 5, 2004, at Washington Place. McCain was in Honolulu to speak at a ceremony honoring retired Navy Rear Adm. Lloyd "Joe" Vasey, who served in the Pacific in World War II with the senator's father, John S. McCain Jr.
Lingle and Aiona out of step and out of touch with Hawaii
While local and national conservatives alike praised Gov. Linda Lingle's recent speech before the Republican National Convention, for most in Hawaii it is just further evidence of how out of touch she really is.
It is no wonder that Republicans in Hawaii are fleeing their party in droves. Like GenXers caught at a polka fest, they can't get to the door fast enough. Unable to field competent candidates in the upcoming election, they have left some 32 seats totally uncontested, and filled others with marginal conservatives who are out of touch with mainstream Hawaii.
Whether delivered by John McCain or Linda Lingle, the Republican message is simply the wrong tune - out of step, out of style and out of touch.
The de facto head of the Hawaii Republican Party, last week, was praising the failed administration of President Bush and Sen. John "Four More Years" McCain and working hard to defeat Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama.
Why on earth would they be doing this?
Party politics aside, there is no question whatsoever that the vast majority of Hawaii residents support Obama to be the next president of the United States. Opposing Obama is akin to cheering for Georgia at the Sugar Bowl and hoping for the defeat of the University of Hawaii Warriors.
Without a doubt, the candidate who will offer Hawaii the greatest direct benefits would be Obama. Clearly he would continue to visit his place of birth - our island home - to spend time with family and friends. The attention would serve Hawaii well, and our congressional delegation would surely benefit from having a Democratic president with strong Hawaii ties.
Lingle once called President Bush "the best president ever," so it is not surprising that she believes McCain "is a perfect person to elect president of the United States at this time," as was reported in the Honolulu media.
McCain has been quoted often in support of the Bush administration's decisions during the past eight years, and he voted with the president more than 90 percent of the time. Except perhaps for Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and now apparently Lingle and Aiona, few people will deny that the past eight years of the Bush administration have been an unmitigated disaster.
"Bush lied and people died" is more than a catchy slogan on a T-shirt - it is the truth.
Lingle, Aiona and the McCains of our country might look the other way in denial but the world community knows it is the sad and brutal truth.
The election of McCain would only perpetuate the policies - and errors - of the past. Our country, our world and our community cannot afford four more years of this downward spiral.
McCain and the Republicans don't support native Hawaiian recognition, and yet our Hawaiian lieutenant governor and our supposedly pro-recognition governor still insist on supporting them. And they oppose Obama, who has pledged his support for the full recognition of Hawaii's indigenous people.
In light of the Hawaii connection and the obvious strong support for Obama by their state's voters, the governor and lieutenant governor could easily have refused an active role in the Republican convention and the McCain campaign. The leaders of their party would have understood. No one in either party would expect the governor or lieutenant governor to campaign actively against their state's "favorite son."
The role they embraced at the convention was not simply an appropriate response to a party obligation; this was political pandering at its worst. Lingle and Aiona were stumping for candidates who not only oppose Barack Obama, but who oppose Hawaiian recognition, oppose a woman's right to choose, oppose sex education in our schools, oppose equal rights being granted to all people, oppose environmental regulation and oppose universal health care.
And why would our governor and lieutenant governor be doing this?
It has to be about the money because it can't be about the votes. Lingle and Aiona are more likely to lose votes in their next elections as voters recall their opposition of Obama and support of Bush/McCain.
While losing votes and working to reduce our state's political capital, Lingle and Aiona will gain national recognition and make points with national Republican funding groups. Both will likely do quite handsomely in the fundraising department during the coming run-up to 2010, and both are most likely betting the memory of the electorate will be short while the pockets of their mainland contributors will be deep.
Hawaii Senate Majority Leader Gary L. Hooser represents the 7th District (Kauai and Niihau).