Abercrombie, Hannemann grapple over campaign tactics

Not surprisingly, the Neil Abercrombie campaign for governor today was  all over an admission by rival Mufi Hannemann’s campaign that a city employee and campaign volunteer was behind the “Atomic Monkey” website that crudely disparaged Abercrombie.

Hannemann campaign spokesperson Carolyn Tanaka said Keith Rollman, a senior city IT adviser, was asked to take down the site because “given his volunteer status with the campaign, it was pointed out to him that this type of website could be misconstrued.”

That wasn’t good enough for the Abercrombie campaign, which released a statement that said in part, “This is typical of a Mufi Hannemann campaign. The Mayor’s campaign is launching into distortions, attacks, and denials. When he’s caught, it’s never his fault; he even blames his supporters. Voters can expect more of this from the Hannemann campaign in the months ahead.”

The statement accused high-level members of the city administration and Hannemann campaign, including chairman Dean Okimoto, of promoting the offensive website on Facebook, Twitter and other online venues.

Separately, the Abercrombie campaign circulated a June 18 letter Okimoto published in Pacific Business News entitled, “It’s time to take the high road.” Here is an excerpt worth re-reading:

Politics, by its competitive nature, it is hard-nosed. But does that mean it has to be nasty? Can we debate the issues and not the personalities? It’s tough to do when personalities are often intertwined with issues, when we vote based on the perceived integrity of the individual, as much as for his or her stand on an issue.

Does that make everything fair game? Or do we need to establish “absolutes,” like borders of civility, in campaign strategies? If we do, it is a shame, because our real “absolutes” — our principles, our integrity and character — should have kept us far from those borders in the first place.

As a friend and strong supporter of Mufi Hannemann, I know that he has every intention of keeping to the high road during the upcoming race for governor, even though people are expecting a knock-down, drag-out fight.

The real tragedy is that there is a need for borders in the first place. Our principles are like anchors that keep us on course and our priorities in order. With them, we have no need to talk about rigid borders of behavior or an arbitrary line in the sand.

As has been said many times before, we cannot control what others do, only what we do and how we respond to others. It’s those actions that paint a pretty clear picture of who we really are.

Should we say anything goes? In my mind, it could be more revealing than a fight under the”Marquess of Queensbury” rules.

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42 Comments on “Abercrombie, Hannemann grapple over campaign tactics”

  1. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Let me repeat what I wrote a week or so ago to Keith Rollman: What more can I do to get you to resign from the Democratic Party?

    Not even the local tea-baggers act as badly as he does.

    Again ro Keith: The GOP would love to have you on their team. Please please join them so that your actions can be appreciated both publicly as well as behind closed doors.

  2. Keith Rollman Says:

    The AtomicMonkey.Wordpress site was my personal blog. It was not, as stated by Neil, a Hannemann campaign strategy. Several weeks ago the PR agency for Mufi expressed a concern that others might try to associate it with the Mayor so I took it down (over two weeks ago). As far as I know Mayor Hannemann never even saw it and certainly didn’t have anything to do with it.

    Assertions to the contrary by Abercrombie are simply speculation.

    Blogging is today’s choice for the expression of first amendment rights. I have been writing and drawing cartoons for some time (about 40 years). One depicing the demise of Neil’s pony tail and comparing it to a gecko snaping off it’s tail to get away ran in the Star Bulletin in 1997. I believe Dave was the editorial page editor who liked it. I have known and disliked Neil before Hannemann was out of High School.

    Now I face the problem of having to defend my work, now that is no longer available for people to judge it for themselves. I must rebut what Neil says it was rather than what it really was. Why didn’t Neil complain while it was up and running? Atomic Monkey was parody, plain and simple. You might not like my syle of humor, but blogs are not intrusive media…you have to seek them out. I remember Neil when he HAD a sense of humor and dressed up as superman to run for the U.S. Senate…in fact it was in AtomicMonkey.

    Almost everyone BUT Neil thought AtomicMonkey was pretty funny. It was certainly tame and tasteful by today’s internet standards…no obscenity or profanity, and contained a invitation to correct anything that was factually in error. Abercrombie never accepted that invitation or disputed a single fact for over three months, chosing only now to complain and try to exploit this as an issue. Why not talk about his offshore drilling votes instead? We all know the answer to that.

    It isn’t the Neil’s thin-skined and oportunistic response that bothers me the most, it’s the reactionary mob mentality that he is trying to incite in this loyal followers about this horrible idea of a average citizen using his first ammendment rights to express his opinions. For example Capitol -ist/WassupDoc is ready to get the pitchforks and light the torches, but I am willing to bet never even saw the Web site in question. Another person, who obviously is operating without any facts, recently sent me an email accusing me of spreading “vicious rumors.” Really, posting commentary on a political candidates public record is “spreading vicious rumors?”

    Dave’s been doing it for years and gets awards for it (posting comentary, of course).

  3. Keith Rollman Says:

    One other clarification:

    Abercrombie’s reference to individual, like Dean, who looked at AtomicMonkey’s facebook page as “promoting” the site is a misnomer. They were just looking at it, same as several other well-know individuals Abercrombie chooses not to mention.

  4. hipoli Says:

    Well, in a twisted way, maybe Keith just did us all a favor.

    Between the stupid cry-baby letter about the convention leaking to Dave to Keith’s attempt to poke holes through his stupid-ass website.

    Are we done now, boys? Got your digs in?

    NOW can both candidates, and all their sidekicks, just stick to a clean campaign now?

    You two are smart men. You two are educated, seasoned, experienced men who neednt behave like teenagers in a cafeteria!

    We all know you two hate each other. If I could, I would do what our old high school security guard used to do – lock you both up in the cafeteria, alone, and let you beef it out. Then at least this stupid-ass freak side show would be done. You two are just really behaving so poorly.

    Above all, cant you see that the more you gut each other, the more Duke will become an attractive candidate? I swear if that man gains in the polls because you two, I will be even more pissed.

    Please, be responsible with your responsibility to the rest of us. BOTH of you!

  5. charles Says:

    I’m afraid the noise level will increase not decrease.

    I will say this. See how candidates campaign and that will give you an insight as to how they would govern.

  6. 1986 Says:

    You guys are working a seven week old story:

    Mufi site alleges Abercrombie’s chief fundraiser at center of Harris’ “pay-for-play” scandals (May 18)


    Mufi’s Atomic Monkey Exposed: Website calls Abercrombie a “flailing gasbag”, wife “a witch”


    AtomicMonkey responds: “Some of us work for the City…we proudly stand by description of Abercrombie as ‘flailing gasbag’” (By Kieth Rollman)


    Mufi Site: Abercrombie’s brain in a glass jar controlled by Cayetano


    Could force Hannemann out of race: Admits AtomicMonkey site produced by Mufi campaign worker


  7. hipoli Says:

    Thats exactly my point, Charles. Thank you very much. My exact fear is that because of all this nonesense, Duke’s hanging out, looking more and more dignified and, dare I say, smart – and we all know he’s certainly neither.

    I cant believe these two want to be Governor and yet they are allowing themselves and their campaign supporters to behave so poorly.

    First, it was ‘Mufi didnt play by OUR rules, waaaa’ – run to Dave.

    Then its “Neil’s in bed with oil and caused the BP Oil spill, waaaa.’ – run to the media.

    Now its “Mufi’s still a big bully, waaaa.’ – run to the media.

    Whats next?

    Seriously, boys, shut up, grow a pair (hell, I’ll lend you mine), and run your races with some class and intelligence, please.

    Thank you,
    The State of Hawaii.

  8. Scott Goold Says:

    Aloha Keith ~
    I have never seen your site nor met you … yet the point I believe you’re missing is the Hannemann campaign appears to have been the group to ask you to take down your site.

    You claim you have First Amendment rights. I agree! Yet the people for whom you volunteer and support politically are asking you to suspend your rights.

    Why then do you support this campaign and particular politician? As both a web developer and political activist, I would switch teams if I was treated this way. I believe this tells YOU – as well as the rest of us – a great deal about this candidate.

    As hipoli points out, someone needs to grow a pair. Why did Hannemann cower?

    Had I been the candidate you were supporting, I would have laughed about this issue and said, “It’s his right to express his political opinion.”

    I think you’re volunteering for the wrong team on this one.


  9. Kolea Says:

    Maybe I’m biased in favor if Neil, but I have tried, in my realworld life, to forge good working relationships with Mufi’s people.

    But it has been mostly as a result of the negative behavior of obvious Mufi flunkies (that’s the word we’ve agreed upon, isn’t it) on a few blogs (here, DePledge, and Ian Lind’s), that I have been sucked into the escalating, negative dynamic.

    And contrary to Hipoli’s attempt to assign blame equally, I disagree. It is Mufi’s team that is taking the low road much more frequently. Part of the reason is because Mufi has so many “exempt employees” who serve at his pleasure. There is a fiction that these people are campaigning on their own time, but what does that mean for a salaried employee?

    And is there any reporter with enough cojones to request the time cards of the specific city employees we all know to be the main culprits?

    I was surprised when Dante Carpenter went public with his criticisms of Mufi’s conduct at the recent Democratic convention. Not because the accusations of Mufi’s blind self-centeredness were false–THEY WERE NOT– but because I thought it would have been more diplomatic for the Party chair to have remained silent.

    But once it was raised, it deserves more consideration than Hipoli’s dismissal. Mufi scheduled a party with free food and drink to conflict with the Friday night deliberations over the platform, resolutions and rules. All other groups and candidates scheduled their events on Saturday night to avoid just such a conflict. But Mufi is too important to be bound by the same considerations governing the affairs of lesser beings.

    His online operatives would rather damage the party than admit Mufi misbehaved. We are told the party has been taken over by “radicals” and haoles who have alienated the AJA traditional base of the Party.

    Undoubtedly Mufi’s campaign is eager to paint Neil and his supporters as haole long-haired potsmoking hippy homosexual-living extremists, but Neil has a lot of AJA supporters, both among party activists and in his campaign.

    It is Mufi’s “bully” tactics that have become apparent by the posts of his operatives and which expose pretty well the nature of the man’s political style. The tactics of these underlings are not the random acts of over-enthused individuals. This is the campaign at work.

    The fish rots from the head. We are witnessing Mufi’s essence at work.

  10. WooWoo Says:

    I’m no fan of Mufi’s, but I have to agree with Keith that (from what I recall on about a 10 minute stroll through the sight a few months back) that it was well within the bounds of tasteful satire. I also understand why the Mufi campaign had to do what it did.

    The stakes are too high, the history runs too deep, and the animosity is too real for these two to keep this thing civil. Never mind keeping the punches up above the waistline, these guys will be chewing ears off in a few weeks.

  11. ccpp Says:

    I think most consider Ronald Reagan to have been a great President of the United States and I would think most would agree Reagan is NOT an intellectual giant…

    Prior to this blog I never heard of Atomic Monkey and the first thing that came to my mind was Atomic Monkey was a cartoon character on the Cartoon Network. Then I did a search and found information on Rollman’s Atomic Monkey website on the Hawaii Free Press website. You guys are nasty. After the hatchet job done on the late Cec Heftel years ago (not sure when cause this was a little before my time) I doubt Hawaii voters take kindly to these kind of personal attacks on political opponents. However, I don’t consider Malia’s Zimmerman expose on the late Duke Bainum’s wife was not a personal attack as Malia laid out a FACTUAL story based on court records and in the age of the Internet it was a fatal mistake for Bainum and his former campaign manager Weiner NOT to admit there was an issue with his wife and her court problems but they were working to resolve it. After reviewing Malia’s story on the Internet and then watching Bainum’s outright refusal to address the accusations and his extreme defensive posture at the last minute I changed my vote from from Bainum to Mufi.

    I think it is GOOD that Mufi & Neil’s TRUE nature come out in this election as reflected by Rollman’s attack on Neil and Neil’s counter attacks against Mufi. You are right that Aiona is looking more attractive to be the next Governor of the State of Hawaii cause the last thing Hawaii needs right now is out of control, egotistical, back-stabbing politicians who will do WHATEVER it takes to get their way. Aiona might not be able to prove theorems in partial differential equations but he was a State judge. Right now Hawaii needs a Governor who is honest, straightforward has integrity and does not have a hidden agenda in every decision that he/she makes. We need a Governor who will set an example for his/her employees and will not tolerate workers who play dirty politics or accept employees who steal or bilk the system for their own personal gain as long as they don’t get caught.

    I would agree with you I have concerns that Aiona has not conveyed that he can keep his deep religious views out of his ability to govern a State and that WILL require him to distance himself from religous entities who EXPECT him to make governmental decisions based on his religion. I hear him talking about how he wants to reform the DOE and that is okay, but as his campaign gets further along and it becomes clearer that Mufi’s rail project is NOT affordable for the State of Hawaii and billions of dollars will NOT be automatically infused into our economy from EITHER the Feds or from our visitor industry, I would like Ainoa to speak out against Mufi’s rail project and instead offer alternatives to our transportation problems and how he will provide productive work for our construction industry. He has time but if he wants to become the next Governor of the State of Hawaii, he can let Mufi & Neil attack each other with their henchmen but he also has to “come alive” and GET moderate repubs & demos to support him and he can do that with an anti-rail stance without coming off as being anti-union or anti-jobs. In fact all of the NON-rail gov’t union & private industry workers who will be negatively impacted with this 6++ BILLION rail project is just looking for a reason to vote for a candidate that will stop Mufi’s rail in its tracks. Of course gov’t union workers will NEVER publicly support Republican Aiona, however as Larry Price has said on his radio show, we still have voting system where citizens vote in secret behind a closed curtain.

  12. hipoli Says:

    ccpp: Cut the Bullshit. Get to the Issues.

    Hows that for a campaign theme they should both adopt?

    And on the next episode of Men Behaving Badly….

  13. Michael Says:

    If it were a “cafeteria” fight, I choose Neil over mufi.
    Neil would hit eye level
    and hanneman gives head shots.
    hanneman getting low blows would cry foul.

  14. Kolea Says:

    I just re-read Dean Okimoto’s letter. Dave is right, it deserves more carefull scrutiny than I had given it before. The closing paragraph is rather provocative:

    “Should we say anything goes? In my mind, it could be more revealing than a fight under the ‘Marquess of Queensbury’ rules.”

    Remember, this is Mufi’s official campaign chair speaking.

    Hipoli, there’s your answer. Mufi’s campaign thinks fighting fair is for wimps.

  15. WooWoo Says:


    I see what you’re talking about, but I’m not sure that that statement was intentional, or just that the Hanneman campaign lacks a good editor. For example:

    “Our principles are like anchors that keep us on course and our priorities in order.”

    Well, obviously anchors don’t keep you on course, they keep you from going anywhere… or maybe Dean meant, “Our principles are like anchors, and the sooner we cut the anchor loose the quicker we get into Washington Place!”

  16. hipoli Says:

    Cut the Bullshit. Get to the Issues.

    Everyone say it with me — and maybe both campaigns will hear us?

  17. Kolea Says:


    This is not bullshit. How a politician relates to people who disagree with them is more revealing than some stand on an “issue” which is likely to be forgotten as soon as it is convenient.


    I did not see that meaning during the first go through. In fact, I thought Dean was just making a routine, “Ma and apple pie” tribute to “fair play and may the best man win.”

    But I don’t think so. You don’t know my history, but I have butted heads with the “Democratic Machine” folks for decades, despite my being an active Democrat. Or maybe BECAUSE I have been an active Democrat unwilling to go along with bullshit.

    The Party structure has been pretty internally democratic since Richard Port was elected chair back ib the waning days of the Waihee administration. But in the Ariyoshi and, yes, early Waihee days, the Party was dominated by the Governor’s people and control was exercised through “exempt employees.” (You have seen similar people controlling the local Republican party for Lingle in recent years).

    Cayetano, for all his faults, was pretty good at NOT trying to dominate the Party. Inouye’s “control” of the Party over the years has also been fairly loose, more concerned with fundamentals than in micro-managing.

    Mufi’s operation is the most top-down, brain dead “machine” opperation of self-interested robots I have seen. At least with Waihee, Ariyoshi and (undoubtedly) Burns, you were talking about people who were philosophically Democrats and the differences may be related to the power of self-interest of certain special interests, but that generated distortions from a Democratic network.

    Mufi is the least “Democratic” major figure in recent Party history. (Ed Case shares some Democratic values, has some Republican-like values, but Ed does have principles. And he is an individual, unable to order around an army of syncophants to do his bidding.)

    Mufi’s quote in the Mormon Times that he “tells” his employees to pray is indicative of his antipathy to democracy.

    So, yeah, I believe Mufi’s campaign thinks “fair play” in politics is boring and not the point. The point, in his view, is to win by whatever means work.

    Mufi’s operation is worse than

  18. jaded Says:


    I can’t imagine Elise Yadao and/or Carolyn Tanaka not scrutinizing every piece of information coming out of Mufi’s campaign so Dean Okimoto’s statement has got to be intentional.


    I’m sure you’ve been around long enough to know that sticking to “the issues” sounds great in theory but never practiced in political campaigns because most voters really don’t vote on the issues.

    The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them.

  19. Michael Says:

    “The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them”

    Hard to deal with one who uses their head to break coconuts with. I am sure Neil knows to use a Nut Cracker.

  20. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    The only reason Mufi is a “Democrat” is that’s the only way he could be elected to office. I first met him back in 1986 during the campaign for the First Congressional District seat vacated by Cec Heftel in his run for Governor. Despite being fairly sophisticated about US politics, I was stunned at how he mean & nasty he ran his campaign.

    In retrospect, he was one of the first to use campaign tactics now quite commonplace in most major elections in this country. By the time the technology caught up with his morals, He was going after Jeremy Harris and later Duke Bainum using the media in ways no one ever dreamed about in the mid-eighties.

    The other day I testified at a City Council hearing on the Hannemann Administration’s opposition to one of the three Charter amendments passed in 2006. Although the reasons given back then sounded good, what they really meant was that the power to rule over the City would be watered down by taking away the decision-making from the Mayor. All three amendments passed with significant majorities.

    That didn’t stop Mufi from gutting it four years later.

    Make no mistake – were Mufi living in Texas or Utah or maybe even in California, he’d be a Republican.

    If he were living in North Korea, he’d probably be trying to pass himself off as Kim Jong Il’s adopted son.

    What an image that would make – probably Mufi would have to get down on his knees so as to not tower over Da Big Cheese with the goofy haircut.

    Mufi is intelligent and he understands what needs to be done to make Hawai`i a better place in which to live, work, and play. What stops him from being the right person to lead this state is his huge ego and his failure to understand that he cannot rule over the rest of us.

    That’s why he should have been born in a country led by dictators so that he could fit in without having to put up with folks like Kolea – and me.

  21. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Whoops!!! That didn’t stop Mufi from trying to gut it four years later.

  22. KrazeeEyez Says:

    Hannemann didn’t know about this site? What a bunch of rubbish. Rollman has a long history of doing the Honolulu Mayor’s dirty work. Had Hannemann seen this site with his own eyes? Who cares. The point is that Mufi (1) knows good and well what Rollman is doing, and (2) is a horrible judge of character when it comes to making political appointments. I don’t want either of these traits in a Governor. And as for Okimoto, I’ll but Mufi’s PR people made him publish the letter to pave the way for Rollman’s site getting pulled–to make it look like they’re being cleaner than they actually are (does anyone actually believe Mufi is going to be clean? it ain’t in his nature.).

  23. hipoli Says:

    “This is not bullshit. How a politician relates to people who disagree with them is more revealing than some stand on an “issue” which is likely to be forgotten as soon as it is convenient.”

    Kolea – I could care less what their personalities are or arent. When they are politiking vs. when they are running the joint are two totally different animals. Proof? Lingle. Who she was running sure wasnt who she became as Governor, and we all know she had her share of major beefs when she ran.

    Cant you all see whats going on is all a bunch of b.s. distractions so we dont pay attention to the fact that either they dont have much to say, arent saying much, or what they dont want to tell us because they know it’ll piss us off. Pay attention, people! This is way too important a time to be dic*ing around in their drama-filled history of hate for each other. Its kinda like Clinton when they came up with “Its the Economy, Stupid.”. We know both camps read this blog – so lets get this message straight, lean, and between their eyes so they cant say they didnt get it:

    Cut the Bullshit. Get to the Issues.

  24. Kolea Says:


    “It’s not you, it’s me.”

    It must be that my thinking is distorted. Probably because when I was a “tween”I gorged upon books like “We Were There at Valley Forge” and “Profiles in Courage.”

    I just happen to believe in equality and democracy. To the point of a fetish. So to me, whether a political leader allows dissent or acts like a petty dictator may be the most important “issue” of all.

    Neil has his flaws and I am well aware of (some of) them. But when we disagree–and we sometimes do, I can argue with him, even to the point of both of us yelling.

    Mufi’s people are all “Yes men.” They carry out orders and loyalty to the chief is Number One.

    I guess we should judge Mussolini by whether he “made the trains run on time”?

    (Of course, he didn’t. And neither will the Samoan Duce).

  25. Kolea Says:

    BTW, I had no problem with Keith Rollman’s website. If a campaign is going to run a negative “whisper campaign” against the opponent, I would prefer that they have a website where all the slanders, half-truths and (sometimes) legitimate criticisms can be found. If Keith wants to serve as Mufi’s Eric Ryan, let him. Once the site is known to be connected with the campaign, it allows people to decide if the negativity reflects badly on the candidate sponsoring it.

  26. Michael Says:

    Sounds like someone is having a Cow!

  27. hipoli Says:

    Basically youre saying everyone around and supporting Mufi are bought and paid for? You really want to say that? Thats just not true, Kolea. Mufi has his base loyal and committed staff, just as much as Neil does, and broadly painting all of them with dollar signs on their okoles is just not true or nice. I know many people who have followed Mufi for a long, long, long time. Keeping that kind of loyalty takes so much more than money. Watch those attacks, Kolea.

    And Keith’s AM site, to me, is no different than your camp slipping Dave Dante’s cry-baby “Mufi’s a Bully” letter. Talk about negativity reflecting on the candidate?

    All Im saying is lets bring it on, folks. Lets debate, dialog, yell, and if we are going to tear into each other, lets do it over more substantive and concrete issues that will show the voters where each of the candidates stand on important issues. You know, its kinda sad that I can name Aiona’s top 3 ideas (albeit ignorant – but hey – at least someone over there is trying) on education. I think Mufi’s is ‘I’ll work with the superintendent’ (really? thanks. and….) and Neil’s is ‘I’ll create a Dept. of Early Childhood Education’ (really? with what money, please? And what gets cut for it, please?).

    I am craving more than this on a whole range of topics, arent you?

    Job creation? Dont just tell me its important and you’ll do it. I want to know how you’ll do it. Over-dependence on tourism? What other ideas can take us off that boob? Construction industry support ideas that are grounded in the reality that, hello, we live on islands. Healthcare implementation in this State? I want to hear that you’ve read the sucker (advantage – Neil) and its implications to the State. Homelessness – not a city issue? Then what would you do as Governor that you didnt think fell to the Mayor (to me – advantage – Mufi – if he played it right)? What are multi-level solutions for a multi-layered problem? Drugs, alcohol, obesity, and diabetes continue to be huge social and health challenges in Hawaii. So what? Prisoners in Arizona? Good or bad, and if not there then where? Departments like DHS, DBEDT, DOH, DPS – that have varying degrees of bad word-of-mouth -can you identify first, what they do and what will you do to manage whatever problems better. Dont say “ill audit, then figure it out” (Mufi) when you have all this time to be learning, thinking about it, and communicating problem solving ideas. Our elderly population have major, major heartbreaking challenges here in Hawaii (advantage – Mufi) – what are some ideas short and longer term solutions to long term care challenges.

    In short, how will you manage this State better? Not “I can, just believe me” – but HOW?

    In the world of blogs, FB, and everyones talking – if the candidates gave substantive information to toss around out here, then perhaps they would elevate that discussion past the petty immature gutting Im seeing here on-line and out there on the media-front.

    Can we please, collectively, expect and demand these seekers-of-the-highest-office-in-Hawaii to bring the level of intelligence and dialog past the 5th grade, because honestly, guys, thats what it feels like right now. And I fear it will only get worse as we get closer to the primary.

    I mean this constructively to both candidates. Hopefully, its received as such.

  28. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Did my post get pulled or did I forget to ship it out before leaving the site?

  29. Andy Parx Says:

    “As a friend and strong supporter of Mufi Hannemann, I know that he has every intention of keeping to the high road during the upcoming race for governor”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…. and with a straight face no less.

  30. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Unfortunately, I accidentally erased my initial post when I went to get the following citation. I thought I’d be opening up a separate window, but clearly I didn’t.

    Then I discovered that I went to an earlier blog and posted this comment there. Now I am in the right place.

    Please take the time to read it this weekend as we celebrate the 4th of July. Although written for a national audience, the critical points the author makes are just as applicable here in Hawai`i.

    As soon as I finished reading it yesterday, I sent off a copy to our Blog Host.


  31. charles Says:

    hipoli, you are forgetting the ironclad rule of elections: just win, baby.

    If any candidate believed that by running on issues and distributing long analytical polemics on every conceivable issue would win the day, believe you me, that’s what you would see.

    Lee Atwater was just another in a long line of attack dogs who proved that the red meat of campaigning (and winning)is delivering body blows to the other guy.

    We can decry it, scream and gnash our collective teeth, but at the end of the day, all any candidate wants to do is win. If he or she is able to win by raising the policy bar or by gentle civility, that’s gravy.

    I remember back in 1992 when Paul Tsongas ran for president and he, like you, believed that people needed to know where the candidate stood on the issues.

    In the New Hampshire (if memory serves me right) primary, he mailed out a wonderful treatise titled “A Call to Economic Arms” to every voter. It was 72 pages long.

    Needless to say, he was crushed in that race (for a number of reasons) but a point was made for future candidates. On the one hand, don’t insult the intelligence of voters; on the other, voters don’t vote for candidates based on the issues.

    My hunch is that less than 5% of the voters in that primary actually read, understood, and debated the points that Tsongas was making.

    You, sadly, are the exception and not the rule; hence, the race to the lowest common denominator in campaigns.

  32. hipoli Says:

    Besides showing both your age (again) and your wisdom (again), youre depressing me, Sir Charles.

    Pathetic and frustrating for those of us who want so much more for all of us.

  33. charles Says:

    hipoli, don’t be disappointed, disillusioned or disenchanted. As Joe Hill said, “Don’t mourn, organize!”

    But walk into the swamp with your eyes wide open and your hip boots on.

    I remember years ago (yes, showing my age) going to a presentation by political consultant Martin Frost. He boiled down his talk to two points:

    1. Raise money.
    2. Don’t screw up.

    That’s it.

    In order to win, he said, “We recruited pro-gun, pro-life, veterans, etc. to run in districts that embrace those values.” In other words, fundamental values are not fundamental but malleable and only a part of the equation to winning elections.

    Al Gore in his book, The Assault on Reason, wrote:

    To the extent that money and the clever use of electronic mass media could be used to manipulate the outcome of elections, the role of reason began to diminish.

    Do we capitulate to this? Is it really just about winning an election?

    Lincoln talked about this “attachment of the people” and how easy it is to lose this if government becomes unresponsive and dysfunctional. Gore affirms this sentiment and says, “Voters are often viewed mainly as targets for easy manipulation by those seeking their ‘consent’ to exercise power. By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation.”

    That, young lady, is the contemporary dynamic of electoral politics.

    Don’t capitulate to this as that would be a mistake. But to ignore it would be a mistake as well.

  34. Keith Rollman Says:

    I watched the entire John Adams marathon on HBO yesterday, and came to the conclusion that our founding fathers played hardball politics on a level that would make us blush today.
    It got me thinking about what I’ve learned about local politics over the past forty years and how some of the commentary on this blog reenforces that.
    One thing, probably not unique to Hawaii, is the shrill overreaction or “fleeing octopus” response.  If your opponent brings up any legitimate faults in your public record you must scream that you are being “smeared by dirty campaigning.” Always refer to the Cec Heftel incident (an actual smear).  Bypass logic and facts and play the emotional card immediately and hope for sympathetic reporting from the phony guardians of propriety.
    Another reoccurring theme is the careful construction of negative mythology. Sometimes it takes years for your faction to “win.”  Fasi used to say, “a lie left uncontested becomes the truth.”  Hannemann, for example,  is a “bully” because his political opponents keep saying he is. Therefore you get bonus every time your social media team drops the”b” word on Mufi. When asked for proof, you can refer back to all the made up evidence that’s already been laid down.  There is a veritable litany to choose from already documented by Abercrombie, Bainum and Kobayashi…none true.
    For instance, if your signs and banners get vandalized, blame your opponent.  If they are not, vandalize your own, and THEN blame your opponent.
    The internet is a powerful new force for both good and evil as it applies to political campaigns.  The online versions of the dailies lost complete control of their online environments, or as I used to call them the “libel and slander happy hour.”  I have seen more mean spirited , character assassination going on here than anywhere in the country.  Stuff far worse than anything that ever appeared in AtomicMonkey (which incidentally never contained anything I wouldn’t have shown my mother and kids.)
    The common thread, again not unique to Hawaii, is the staggering level of hypocrisy on display. Some of the commentators on this blog shamelessly drop negative innuendos about race and religion, impugn people’s character without evidence, simply make up “facts,” and display partisan manipulation of events that the old editors of Pravda would balk at.  All the time while preaching about the alleged moral shortcomings of their political opponents. 
    It all boils down to what  Charles said.  The point is to “just win.”  The rest is standard background noise.

  35. hipoli Says:


    Lets go with lesson number one on these blogs. We always let Charles have the last wise word. He clearly very obviously knows more current political ins and out, Hawaii political history, and is just smarter than all of us. Even you. We always let Charles have the last word, Keith.

    As for what you wrote, my first reaction is to be flabergasted and disgusted that you are representative of Mufi’s campaign. But them I remind myself that you are doing the one thing that everyone else isn’t-you’re putting your name to it. So, yes, there sure is a lot of crap being said online by a bunch of anonymous people, myself included. So I give you street cred for being open, direct, and standing up for what you see as supporting Mufi.

    That said, I do hope there’s a way to point out each others flaws and weaknesses in a more civil and mature way than ‘atomic monkey’ and some of the other BS that we have already endured.

    And it’s only July.

  36. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    It would be interesting indeed to take a poll here to see how many people are standing the Mufi or Neil or Duke camp.

    Actually, Paul Manner is looking mo’ betta’ as the days & weeks go by.

    However, if the election were this Tuesday, this Democrat will be voting NOTA.

    Still, I might be able to be convinced to vote for Neil by the time September 18 rolls around if it looks as if Mufi might pull off a win.

  37. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Whoops!!! …are standing the in Mufi or Neil or Duke camp.

  38. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Whoops again!!! …are standing in the Mufi or Neil or Duke camp.

  39. Michael Says:

    Da Rail runs in a field of Cow Pies.
    Reason they had to move it!
    The Bull wouldn’t let them any closer.

  40. Keith Rollman Says:


    I’m not sure how any reasonable person could be “flabergasted and disgusted” by anything I’ve written in this blog. Unless you really don’t like John Adams,

  41. WooWoo Says:


    You know what about the John Adams series stuck in my head? We need more school choice. The founding fathers were not the product of a monolithic school bureaucracy. If King George had instituted a public school system, there would have never been an American Revolution.

  42. neilfile Says:

    Clearly they were well educated…

    “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.”
    — John Adams, second US president

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