The Clayton Hee show always entertains

The drama over William Aila Jr.’s confirmation as director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources was classic Clayton Hee.

The Senate Judiciary chairman single-handedly delayed the vote on the popular Waianae harbormaster and Hawaiian activist, causing a flurry of letter-writing by Aila’s friends, family and co-workers in support of the nomination.

Hee attacked Aila’s character and integrity on the Senate floor because he didn’t disclose his commercial fishing license and signed off on O’ahu rail despite concerns about Hawaiian burials. Interest groups involved in those issues mostly supported Aila to be chief custodian of Hawai‘i’s  environmental resources.

When the emotional speechifying was done, Hee joined the other 22 senators present in voting unanimously to confirm Aila and then engaged in an extended hugfest with the nominee.

You have to like Hee for the passion of his beliefs and the showmanship he brings to Senate deliberations, but it can be hard to figure his logic and motivations.

Sometimes, he seems to just have a need to throw his weight around. In this case, there was speculation after his friend Neil Abercrombie was elected governor that he wanted the top DLNR job for himself.

Hee’s passions have brought him down in flames twice before as Judiciary chairman. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s learned to keep tightly enough bolted to the deck to hold onto the job this time.

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12 Comments on “The Clayton Hee show always entertains”

  1. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Hee should run for Akaka’s seat,just for the entertainment value.

  2. Kolea Says:

    Clayton Hee is not just amusing. he is also very shrewd. And, on occasion, he makes brilliant, eloquent speeches on the Senate floor, often on the right side of an issue!

    Which does not mean I am disputing much of what Dave is saying. BUT, when I hear people say they don’t understand why he behaves the way he does, or when his actions are simply attributed to “ego” or some sort of turbulent pre-disposition, I think people are missing something. Sometimes, his antics serve to misdirect our attention, our understanding. The public, and sometimes the media, pays attention to the surface phenomena. But behind the scenes, Hee is sometimes driving a hard bargain for a concession in exchange for his agreement.

    Hee sometimes overplays his hand. And his public image probably will prevent him from ever attaining the higher office I think he aspires to: witness his run for the congressional seat. But Hee is very smart within the legislative process and people “mis-underestimate” his intelligence at their peril.

  3. hugh clark Says:

    Intelligence or extreme ego? I met then Rep. Hee on Molokai as a foul-mouth dude on horseback. He has been on the edge ever since then as a trustee for OHA
    and a state senator with a bigger than real perona.

    In many ways, he reminds me of the late Tony Kunimura of Kauai. I do not see him as U.S. Senate material as others have recently proclaimed.

    For certain others have said I never got to appreciate him enough, to understand his dedication to things Hawaiian –a trait I usually appreciate. There are some finely tuned potentail senatorial folks out there, but Hee does not seem to me to be among them.

  4. manoak Says:

    He wanted something and the big hugs indicate that he got it. It was a mugging in broad daylight by the man behind the curtain.

  5. Alan R. Spector Says:

    I live in Senator Hee’s district so he is my Senator. While I haven’t been following the DNLR issue too closely, I was more than pleased by Senator Hee’s leadership on civil unions. His floor speeches were amazing…..actually probably better than what us advocates could do. And he handled the Senate Judiciary Public Hearing with ease and finesse……preventing it from turning into another 18 hour circus (like the 2009 Senate Hearing on HB444). He promised us he wanted to pass civil unions quickly and he kept his word.

    Mahalo Senator Hee.

  6. Cloudia Says:

    I thought we like humble Akaka-like politicos?

    Wait, Mufi, Neil, Clayton, Slom-

    Never MIND!

  7. Doug Says:

    Where the heck is Hipoli?

    Hipoli always has something acerbic to say about Clayton Hee… 🙂

  8. hipoli Says:

    I’m here. I just happen to be in complete agreement with Kolea. I have nothing but high praise for Hee’s work on civil unions and the McKenna nomination that I can’t ‘diss the man at this time. But check back next week. 🙂

    Plus, am I the only person who thinks there must be a real reason why Hee gave Aila so much shit?

  9. Hawaiino Says:

    It’s one thing to bust a guys balls, it’s another thing to publicly wonder, on the floor of the Senate, in front of family and friends, whether he had any.
    What kind of “deal” could Hee have driven, and won, and then still have felt the need to bit*h slap the nominee. “Proud cut” refers to a castrated stallion, now a gelding, which still exhibits characteristics as if it were whole.
    I wasn’t there,so I’m relying on the StarAdvertiser account. I am still surprised at how little his “quoted” remarks about another mans manhood have been remarked upon. Bad taste, poor judgement, and just plain chickensh*t.
    Sen. Solomon goes from promoting him (to replace Akaka) to reproaching him, in less than 48 hrs. I didn’t agree with the former, but I certainly agree with the latter.

  10. Craig Smith Says:

    The reason that Hee went after Mr. Aila is because Clayton wanted the director of Department of Land and Natural Resources or he really HATES Mr. Aila.

  11. Michael Says:

    “Only a genius can play a fool”.
    Michael Rapaport

  12. Teddy Freddy Says:

    The Clayton Hee Show is always entertaining? Like denigration and public personal put downs… is fun to watch? When is it too much?
    Vince Foster said of the Washington establishment: “Here ruining people is considered sport,”. According to a Hugh Syndey of Time Magazine “That was no overstatement. In some quarters ruining people is considered the road to power and wealth, a rain dance rewarding irresponsible minds and tongues.” Is the Hawaii political scene that much different?


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