Lingle: Out of favor, but not out of ambition

I agree with analysts who say that Gov. Linda Lingle’s low public approval rating is mostly the result of the crushing recession and its side effects such as furlough Fridays.

If you look at the eight-year fever chart of her popularity in the polls, it soared when the economy was up and sank when Hawai‘i’s economic fortunes dipped — just like Govs. John Waihee and Ben Cayetano before her.

I don’t necessarily agree with those who think Lingle’s standing with voters will swing back up once she leaves office and is out of the line of fire, which is a key factor in how credibly she could contend for Sen. Daniel Akaka’s seat in 2012.

We’re a politically contentious state and Hawai‘i governors, who are in the middle of it all, tend to wear out their welcome after eight years. And the lost favorability doesn’t always come back with the passage of time.

Waihee was interested in running for the 2nd Congressional District seat after Patsy Mink died in 2002, but polls showed that his favorability with voters was still so low eight years after he’d left office that the race wasn’t feasible.

Lingle, whose approval rating was a dismal 44 percent in the latest Star-Advertiser poll, would be trying the turnaround in only two years if she follows through on her expressed interest in looking at the Akaka seat.

A candidate’s approval rating is relative to the opponent’s, of course. Akaka’s favorability was solid when he defeated Ed Case in 2006, but it remains to be seen if it’ll hold up with his age even more of an issue this time.

It’s a delicate matter, but there are legitimate concerns that having two 88-year-old senators sets up Hawai‘i  for a punishing nosedive in federal spending here when they pass from the scene and leave Hawai‘i with no senator of any seniority.

If Akaka steps aside, Democrats who likely would run against Lingle such as Case and Mufi Hannemann are coming off big losses and have favorability problems of their own.

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9 Comments on “Lingle: Out of favor, but not out of ambition”

  1. WooWoo Says:

    Who tells Akaka to step aside? Inouye? He’s the same age.

    But let’s say he does. Mufi v Case? If Djou wins next week, Mufi v Case v Hanabusa?

  2. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Your comments today are an excellent follow-up to yesterday’s about the next generation of political leaders.

    The fact that Neil is old enough to be Obama’s dad and is physically old enough to be Brian Schatz’s grandfather is the principal reason I had originally decided to vote NOTA in the Primary. What changed my mind about voting was the Mufi “compare & contrast” mailer in late August.

    However, even though I will be voting for Abercrombie/Schatz next week I still have the same general concerns about these age issues.

    Fortunately, Brian is bright, well-educated and has both administrative and legislative experience so I am not as concerned now about what would happen if Neil had to leave office suddenly. After all, that’s what happened almost 40 years ago when Ariyoshi – in his mid-40s – took over when Burns resigned for medical reasons.

    As for Lingle’s political future, I hope that she focuses on national politics and goes away. However, after seeing Little Dan this past Sunday at a political rally, I can understand why she wants to take him on.

    I can only hope that 1) he’ll listen to people who urge him to retire and that 2) we Dems can find a qualified candidate like Brian to run for that seat.

    Assuming that the political pundits are on target about this election, the national swing to the Nutburger Right will make a huge difference here in 2012.

    Just the thought of having Sarah Palin be the President of the United States is enough to make me support Hawai`i’s secession.

  3. Michael Says:

    Ha Ha, sarah and linda as president and vice president. I don’t think democrats would have a chance of winning. Ha Ha.

  4. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Dave said: “…there are legitimate concerns that having two 88-year-old senators…”

    As the kids say, “d’uh, ya think?”

    It always struck me that knowing when to leave and turn over the reins to the next generation was a hallmark of actually caring for your constituency as opposed to self interest.

  5. zzzzzz Says:

    Isn’t this pretty much the point Ed Case was trying to make when he ran against Akaka?

  6. WooWoo Says:


    Sometimes in the world of politics, there is no worse sin than speaking the truth.

  7. Michael Says:

    The only legacy about lingle is she was female. First female in Hawaii as governor. she will be remembered for this quote, “Shoddy” and aiona now wants an audit. 44% is still functional till further breakdown of health. lingle can always become a grandmother.

  8. Kolea Says:

    Bringsto mind a Latin phrase I learned in freshman Econ:

    Ceteris paribus

    If it were true that “all other factors remained the same,” it would have made sense to elect Case at that time. But the other factors were significantly different and favored Akaka.

    On what issues did Case hold a better position? OK, Ed opposed drilling in ANWR, but Akaka was bound into Inouye’s pact with Ted Stevens, along with his vote. And Ed had opposed the corruption which pervaded theKioo Bishop Estate trustees. Not a Federal issue, but good for him on that one.

    But on the MAJOR ISSUES facing is as the country veered into a ditch, Ed was GROSSLY IN ERROR.

    Income inequality is at the root of our current economic crisis. The rich ARE getting richer and the rest of us (not just “the poor”) are seeing stagnant incomes (at best) or, more typically, a serious decline in our standard of living. The economic boom of the nineties was based upon expanded easy credit, underwritten (on paper) with ever-rising real estate valuations of our homes. The easy credit was necessary or middle-class consumption would have dried up.

    Oops, real estate and easy credit collapsed, taking with it discretionary spending and the jobs dependent upon consption.

    The solution to the deep cause is moving towards increased income equality, but Ed had. Record of siding with the large corporations and financial institutions against working and middle-class folks. Look at his vote for the bank-sponsored Bankruptcy Bill, holding consumers accountable to the banks, unable to declare bankruptcy, even in the face of catastrophic healthcare debt. Ed was wrong, Akaka was right.

    On the wAr in Iraq, Ed REFUSED to even consider withdrawing short of “victory.” in this, his position is identical to what Djou said in debate the other evening: we have NO CHOICE but to win in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    (OK, you guys are both butch, despite your lack of combat experience. Let’s keep killing and dying in pursuit of that elusive “victory.” I guess we can eventually win (or go bankrupt) even if each additional checkpoint killing or “wedding party” bombing drives another family into eternal enmity.

    If or when we get a younger candidate with the requisite judgment and values, it makes sense to retire Akaka and let the youngster start building seniority. But it has to be the right person. If Case could give the slighest sign he knows his earlier positions were wrong, I could support him. But so far, I have seen no indication he was able to learn from his POLICY mistakes.

  9. el guapo Says:

    It’s not that there was a recession, but how she dealt with the recession. Always seems to be in a reaction mode and does not get ahead of issues. The rail is not a surprise, so why wait until now to do an economic assessment? Furloughs, especially at DOE, were a disaster too.

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