Compare and Decide: Did Mufi blunder?
A political candidate should be concerned about the effectiveness of his campaign mailers when his opponent is circulating them as heavily as he is.
That’s the case with Mufi Hannemann’s “Compare and Decide” sheet that landed in local mailboxes over the weekend.
I didn’t find the piece especially offensive as mudslinging goes, just a bit juvenile and cartoonish in its Atomic Monkey approach to belittling Abercrombie as a haole hippie whose greatest accomplishment was winning a beard contest.
I can’t imagine it swinging many votes Hannemann’s way that weren’t his anyway, and it might turn off some undecided voters; hence the Abercrombie campaign’s aggressiveness in helping to circulate it.
Abercrombie got a story in the newspaper and good play on all three TV newscasts lecturing Hannemann that “this is not what a governor does; this is not what people want from a governor.”
He was particularly incensed that the mailer asked voters to compare the candidates’ wives, with no apparent point other than that Abercrombie married a haole and Hannemann didn’t.
Hannemann’s slim 2004 victory for mayor over the late Duke Bainum was due in part to a late attack by a conservative website on Bainum’s wife. It appears the Abercrombie campaign is guarding against history repeating itself.
I look further at the role of race in Hawai’i politics in my column in today’s Star-Advertiser, “Politicians need to get over the plantation-era bigotry.”