David Shapiro
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By David Shapiro

Saturday, August 7, 1999

State politics

PROFESSIONAL wrestling promoters hype bouts matching their top stars to sell their pay-per-view events.

These matches rarely produce clear winners because promoters want to preserve the box-office power of both wrestlers. So they stage spectacularly ambiguous endings to give viewers their money's worth without making one of their stars a loser.

The bad guy, known as the "heel," throws a mysterious substance into the eyes of the good guy, known as the "babyface." The babyface protests, but the referee missed the dirty move. While both are distracted, the heel's manager slips him a folding chair. Out of the ref's view, the heel whacks the babyface silly. He tosses the chair out of the ring just as the ref turns around and puts a pin move on the unconscious babyface.

Before the ref's hand hits the mat for the third count, Babyface's friends come running out of the locker room and commence to beating the heel senseless. Bells ring, both grapplers are disqualified, the crowd goes wild with excitement and the promoter happily makes plans to match his star attractions for big bucks again. Wrestlers call this orchestrated chaos a "schmoz."

Hawaii politics has the look of a schmoz these days.

Gov. Ben Cayetano body-slams the Bishop Estate trustees by ordering former Attorney General Margery Bronster to investigate their excesses. Friends of the trustees in the state Senate respond with a flying suplex that knocks the damsel Margery out of the ring, along with Cayetano's budget sidekick Earl Anzai.

The crowd boos the Senate heels with fierce contempt and Cayetano takes advantage of the crowd's outrage by atomic dropping Anzai into Bronster's old job. Combatants mass in the locker room to rush into the ring for a free-for-all.

THE mark of a classic heel is a total lack of shame. Ousted Bishop Estate Trustee Henry Peters accuses the Democratic machine that has fed him fat for most of his adult life of persecuting him.

Sen. Marshall Ige, indicted for allegedly abusing his campaign funds, who were interned during World War II. Windward voters have major persecution in mind for him if the courts don't get him first.

Senate President Norman Mizuguchi, who double-crossed Cayetano on Bronster, now whines that Cayetano is playing politics by holding up Mizuguchi's baseball complex. Duh. There's always one heel who's a tad slow on the uptake.

It's remarkable that the governor has managed to cast himself as the babyface in all of this. To pull it off with that mug of his, he should get a Daytime Emmy.

It's also remarkable that the Hawaii Republican Party seems to have left the arena. This schmoz has been a battle over which Democratic faction will prevail. The GOP has yet to lace up its boots.

Republicans couldn't capitalize on the Bronster furor because one of their two senators, Whitney Anderson, had his own Bishop Estate conflict and voted against Bronster. GOP chairperson Linda Lingle is still sparring with Bronster over whether the attorney general issued a political opinion against Lingle in last year's gubernatorial election. She's been as relevant in this schmoz as the little fellow who mops up the sweat between matches.

If Lingle doesn't get over the last election and start bringing forth new Republican ideas and faces for the elections of 2000 and 2002, she's going to wake up in November of 2002 and find out that the Democratic schmoz did produce a loser after all: her.

David Shapiro is managing editor of the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at

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