Posted tagged ‘Republican Party’

Sam Slom moves to the fringe

April 26, 2011

Sam Slom, the only remaining Republican in the state Senate, seems to be dipping his toes deeper and deeper into the “birther” conspiracy about President Barack Obama’s Hawai‘i birth.

Slom says he’s not a true “birther” because he personally believes Obama was born here, but increasingly he’s been feeding into the “questions” about Obama’s birth being raised by loose cannons on the GOP fringe such as Donald Trump.

In a radio interview on WABC in New York reported April 24 by WorldNetDaily, Slom said questions about the president’s birth remain “a legitimate issue.”

“My particular point of view – and why I haven’t identified myself as a ‘birther,’ per se – is that [Obama] probably was born [in Hawaii] and that the real issue is not the birth certificate, but what’s on the birth certificate,” Slom told (Aaron) Klein.

Asked what that could be, Slom said, “It could have to do with what his name is on the birth certificate, who is actually listed as his father, the citizenship of the father.”

He continued, “My belief is that there is a birth certificate, he was born here, but that there is information that for reasons known only to him he doesn’t want released. If it were just the birth certificate, that would be one thing, but it’s his school records, it’s employment records. … Why would anybody, let alone the president of the United States, spend millions of dollars in legal fees to keep that hidden?”

People in Hawai‘i — including most Republicans — know this is nonsense, and it’s difficult to imagine that having the highest ranking Republican in the state government spreading it is gaining the sputtering local GOP any credibility.

The state of Hawai‘i has given sworn certification that Obama was born here in the form of the same certificate of live birth that anybody requesting a Hawai‘i birth certificate receives. A Republican state administration and governor who campaigned for John McCain have vouched that there is nothing amiss in the president’s birth records. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has said it’s good enough for him.

It does no credit to Slom or his party to join in harassing a native son and our first black president about the circumstances of his birth in an insulting manner that no other president has ever had to deal with.

***

On a lighter note, thanks to Georgette Deemer for pointing out via Twitter a satirical piece from the Borowitz Report questioning whether Trump is as all-American as he claims:

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – A threat to the fledgling presidential campaign of Donald Trump emerged today, as a group of activists charged that Mr. Trump is not eligible to hold the nation’s highest office because his hair does not originate from the U.S.

The group, who call themselves “Balders,” claim that the hair-like substance that crowns Mr. Trump’s head is from a foreign country, which would mean that the candidate is less than one hundred percent American.

Check it out. I have to admit it may be funnier than my “flASHback” line demanding to see the death certificate for the electrocuted mongoose Trump wears on his head.

Charles Djou climbs back in the saddle

April 11, 2011

Just three months after he all but swore off elective politics in a pouty exit from his brief stint in Congress, former Republican golden boy Charles Djou seems very much back in the game.

In January, he lashed out at the “Democratic machine” that wrested away the U.S. House seat he held for a few months and handed it to Colleen Hanabusa, saying, “Currently, I have no plans to run for any political office ever again.”

But his plans seem to have changed as he keeps himself visible giving speeches, sending out tweets and writing op-ed commentaries, such as yesterday’s in the Star-Advertiser urging Hawai‘i to modernize its civil service system.

He struck a similar theme in a recent speech on the Big Island, where the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald reported:

Djou said the state is stuck in a plantation-era, 1950’s model of big government, big business and big labor unions. National government, other state governments and private businesses, meanwhile, are changing rapidly to focus on specialization, reduced size and transparency, he said, noting advances in communications technology is aiding that transition.

“Hawaii’s way of doing things is a very 20th Century way of doing things,” Djou said.

Djou, who has returned to law practice, hints he might be interested in running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Akaka if former Gov. Linda Lingle decides not to carry the GOP banner, but more likely he’s looking at another run for the House — especially if Hanabusa or her fellow Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono go for the Senate seat.

In either case, he’s one of the few Hawai‘i Republicans articulate and marketable enough to credibly contend for the state’s higher offices and the local party is no doubt happy to have him back in action.

The road doesn’t get easier for the Hawai‘i GOP

November 9, 2010

Hawai‘i  Republicans need to do some careful thinking about their path forward after their devastating losses in the general election.

Failing to share in a strong GOP showing across the country, local Republicans lost the governor’s office they’d held for eight years, lost their best chance at winning a congressional seat in 20 years and scored only a minimal gain in the Legislature despite considerable effort.

Many in the party are disheartened that during eight years of the Lingle administration, with control of state patronage and the leverage it provides to groom future leaders, the party has few fresh marketable candidates.

The GOP caucus in the state House is down to eight from 19 the year before Linda Lingle was elected, and its numbers in the Senate have dropped from a high of five during the Lingle years to one.

The only potential Republican candidates with any heft are Lingle and the three who lost the big races this year — James “Duke” Aiona, Lynn Finnegan and Charles Djou.

Lingle will almost certainly run for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka’s seat in 2012 with heavy support from the national GOP as it fights to take control of the Senate, but there’s no clear way back in for Aiona, Finnegan and Djou if they have interest in trying again.

There were only a handful of legislative races where Republicans came close enough to have reasonable hope of making it over the top against entrenched Democratic incumbents next time.

The barriers are philosophical as much as practical; the GOP is unlikely to gain ground unless the local party settles sharp internal divisions over whether it should turn more moderate or conservative, and how cozy the party should get with religious groups.

Hawai‘i Democrats make a stand

November 2, 2010

As the rest of the country moved sharply to the right, local voters made a strong statement that Hawai‘i remains as liberal and Democratic as ever.

We stood behind Hawai‘i-born President Barack Obama as his policies were repudiated elsewhere, we elected an unabashedly liberal governor by a wide margin over a solid GOP opponent and we were one of the few states to turn a Republican congressional seat Democratic.

After bitter primary fights in most of the top races, Hawai‘i Democrats came together in an impressive show of strength that gave them a clear mandate to lead the state into the future.

While it was a night of tough losses for the Republicans, at least they put up a fight in most races after the debacle of 2008 when they failed to contest 40 percent of the legislative seats.

And they deserve credit for showing the courage of their convictions by running on their Republican values instead of fudging party philosophy, as successful Hawai‘i GOP candidates have often done in the past to compete in a Democratic state.

But now Republicans have to face the reality that after hearing them loud and clear, the great majority of Hawai‘i voters simply don’t share their economic beliefs and are not comfortable mixing religion and politics on social issues.

We’d benefit from a vibrant two-party system, but at this point in our history, Republicanism is not a brand that sells in Hawai‘i and the party is going to need some new ideas to return to relevance here.

GOP wins cheap shot contest

October 31, 2010

Supporters of Neil Abercrombie and James “Duke” Aiona are circulating a lot of garbage about the opposition online, but the Republicans win the prize for the most odious piece of opala officially issued by the candidates or parties in this campaign.

A Republican Party ad in today’s newspaper calls Abercrombie “a loud-mouthed hippie” and includes a 40-year-old photo.

The dubious facts and offensive tone are reminiscent of the “Compare & Decide” mailer that helped sink Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the primary — and I have a sneaking suspicion that it shares some of the same origins.

GOP chairman Jonah Kaʻauwai was boasting about it in advance on a Republican-friendly website that features National Enquirer-style headlines throwing everything from Nazis and slavery to marijuana and birthers at Abercrombie.

Between this cheap late hit, the GOP’s use of a pilfered photo of Colleen Hanabusa doctored to make her look like Darth Vader and Kaʻauwai’s screed that Abercrombie and Hannemann weren’t righteous enough for the body of Christ, there are legitimate concerns that the current Hawai‘i Republican leadership just doesn’t know where the boundaries are.

***

UPDATE: B.J. Reyes at the Star-Advertiser has an interesting blog post noting that the GOP altered the Bob Rosehill letter in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that the ad was purportedly taken from. While Reyes doesn’t specify the changes, he links to the letter, in which Rosehill actually called Abercrombie “a loud-mouthed, haole hippie.” (Emphasis mine)

GOP’s Ka‘auwai raises national eyebrows

September 2, 2010

Republican Chairman Jonah Ka‘auwai’s Bible-laced message to local churches attacking Mufi Hannemann and calling James “Duke” Aiona the only “righteous” candidate for governor is getting play in mainland publications, including the Huffington Post, thanks to an excellent report by AP’s Herbert Sample that smoked anything appearing locally on the story.

Ka‘auwai also got himself and Hawai‘i unflattering national attention when MSNBC’s Keith Olberman named him the day’s “worst person.”

Olberman took particular aim at Ka‘auwai’s contention that Aiona would be Hawai‘i’s first “righteous leader” since Lili‘uokalani, calling it an anti-Semitic slap at our current Jewish governor, Linda Lingle.

I thought the charge of anti-Semitism was a stretch. Ka‘auwai wasn’t just putting down Lingle, but every previous Democratic and Republican governor in Hawai‘i, most of whom were Christian.

It’s getting difficult to pin down whether the local GOP is standing behind Ka‘auwai’s statement or not.

Aiona has criticized it as divisive, and when I asked Ka‘auwai a couple of days ago about the “righteous leader” assertion, he said, “This letter was sent out as a private email to Christian Pastors not intended for publication. Upon reflection, I can see that some of my words carry implications which I did not intend. I did not intend to make a broad-brush judgment about all of Hawaii’s Governors, Republican or Democrat.”

But in a subsequent interview with KITV, he defended it as effective in reaching the conservative Christian audience it was aimed at.

And GOP executive director Dylan Nonaka told KITV that despite Aiona’s attempt to distance himself,  “Obviously, it would not have been done if there wasn’t some benefit.”

Governor’s race goes to church

August 29, 2010

Republican Chairman Jonah Ka’auwai has launched an aggressive push to counter Mufi Hannemann’s courtship of Christian conservatives who support Republican James “Duke” Aiona.

In a lengthy message to the Hawai’i Christian Coalition, endorsed by coalition state chairman Garret Hashimoto, Ka’auwai accused the Hannemann campaign of acting “unethically, immorally, and far below reproach” in its efforts to get church-goers to pull Democratic ballots in the primary and support Hannemann over Neil Abercrombie.

The message is full of biblical references and exposes the strong religious undercurrent of the governor’s race that has received little public attention as Aiona and Hannemann battle for the Christian vote. The Ka’auwai message is being well-circulated online and could spotlight the issue for a broader audience. (You can read the full message here.)

Ka’auwai’s message, addressed to “Pastors and Brothers/Sisters in Jesus Christ,” accused Hannemann and his surrogates of making appearances in churches to persuade worshippers “that Christians should vote in September 18th’s primary election on the Democrat ballot for Mufi Hannemann to retard the chances of a Neil Abercrombie win rather than supporting Duke Aiona through both the primary and general elections.”

“For the Body of Christ to think Duke Aiona will lose to either Neil Abercrombie or Mufi Hannemann in the general election is not a church operating in FAITH but operating in FEAR,” Ka’auwai wrote. “The Hannemann campaign’s strategy is a trap of lies and baited deception and is being fueled by that very FEAR! DO NOT BE DECEIVED!!!”

Other excerpts:

When Ken Wong (of the Hannemann campaign committee) or Mufi approach or call you, you must probe, uncover their plans of conquest that have no righteous intent and rebuke them for trying to use your church as a platform for their deception and your personal influence to further unrighteousness.

Duke will win because the Church has been behind him the entire time operating in the POWER and the AUTHORITY of the NAME OF JESUS! We are the HEAD and not the tail; we are the VICTORS not the victims! If Duke Aiona does not win it will be the burden of the Body of Christ to bear so rather than preparing to have to deal with either Mufi or Neil winning the Church, we should be preparing for Duke to WIN. Neither Mufi Hannemann nor Neil Abercrombie is righteous and a vote for either in the primary or general election is succumbing to fear and advancing unrighteousness!

***

Galatians 5:22 tells us the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Has anyone seen that kind of fruit through Mufi Hannemann? Ask Ken why he endorses a man whose fruit shows no signs of righteousness or being controlled by the Holy Spirit. At many levels, Mufi is worse than Neil.

***

Duke Aiona’s Campaign for Governor is the Body of Christ’s opportunity to operate in the AUTHORITY and to be proactive. The Primary Election is the first step to bringing back a righteous leader to the highest office in this State which has not been seen since Queen Lili’uokalani. Over 100 years ago! With more than 400,000 Christians in the State of Hawaii, WE are responsible no matter what the outcome of Duke’s race because we have been given the POWER and the AUTHORITY in the NAME OF JESUS!!!!

Ka’auwai makes an exception to his warnings against crossovers in House District 33, where he urges Christian Republicans to take Democratic ballots and vote for civil unions opponent Gary Okino against Rep. Blake Oshiro, the author of HB 444.

UPDATE: Duke Aiona issued the following statement:

“While faith is a central part of my life, I’m running for Governor to serve all the people of Hawai‘i – regardless of their religion.

“The goal of our grassroots campaign is to connect with every citizen in every community of this great state, and Chairman Ka‘auwai’s personal comments are seen by many as divisive.

“Our campaign is focused on families, friends and neighbors of all backgrounds, and we’re going to continue to reach out to all the citizens of Hawai‘i.”

I also asked Jonah Ka’auwai for clarification of what he meant when he said Aiona would be Hawai’i’s first “righteous leader” since Lili’uokalani. He sent this response:

“This letter was sent out as a private email to Christian Pastors not intended for publication. Upon reflection, I can see that some of my words carry implications which I did not intend. I did not intend to make a broad-brush judgment about all of Hawaii’s Governors, Republican or Democrat.”

Carlisle and GOP agree: He’s not a Republican

August 27, 2010

There’s a strange feud going on between the Hawaii Republican Party and mayoral candidate Peter Carlisle, a former Republican who quit the party when he began looking at the nonpartisan race for mayor.

After Carlisle made passing reference in a Midweek interview to a supposed GOP poll that showed him well ahead of Kirk Caldwell and Panos Prevedouros, Republican executive director Dylan Nonaka issued a harsh statement that there was no such poll, that Carlisle could have made up the numbers and that Prevedouros was the only Republican candidate.

(A subsequent Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now poll showed Carlisle with an even bigger lead than he claimed in Midweek.)

When Carlisle diminished his previous ties to the Republicans in a TV interview, it was party chairman Jonah Ka’auwai’s turn to fulminate, noting that the former prosecutor chaired two GOP conventions and emceed a major fundraiser.

Ka’auwai griped that Carlisle “never believed in the principals of our party, especially the principal of fiscal accountability.”

There’s no question that Carlisle was involved with the GOP for a couple of years and flirted with running for Congress under the party’s banner, and that there were sore feelings when he ditched the party after deciding to run for the nonpartisan office of mayor.

But you have to question the GOP’s judgment in working so hard to turn a race voters have said they want to be nonpartisan into a partisan contest — especially when its candidate is running a distant third in the polls.

You’d think the Republicans would have more important priorities, like trying to keep the governorship and congressional seat they hold or improving their pathetic numbers in the Legislature.

Enough GOP demagoguery on NYC mosque

August 19, 2010

I hope I’m not speaking too soon, but I’m glad Hawai’i Republicans — especially U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona and state chairman Jonah Ka’auwai — haven’t joined in the GOP’s Muslim bashing over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 ground zero in New York City.

After President Barack Obama supported the right of American Muslims to practice their religion just like anybody else, Republican congressional candidates around the country rolled out what AP called a “boilerplate attack” accusing Obama of being insensitive to the families of the 9/11 victims, who are divided on the issue.

It’s the worst kind of political pandering that refuses to recognize a difference between law-abiding American Muslims and radical terrorists — just as some in our country once refused to differentiate Japanese Americans from those who bombed Pearl Harbor.

Some of the most incendiary rhetoric has come from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has said among other things: ”There should be no mosque near ground zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. … America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.”

Is he seriously suggesting that we should live under the rules of the Saudi constitution rather than the U.S. Constitution and that it’s going to destroy our civilization to practice the religious freedom our country was founded on?

If the Republicans say it’s an issue of sensitivity, why not apply that to what comes out of their mouths?

I certainly don’t expect Hawai’i Republicans to leap to Obama’s defense on the issue — even top Democrats have kept their distance — but I hope they continue to respect our state’s religious diversity and refrain from joining in the demagoguery.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hit it right when he said that freedom of religion applies to all: “We would betray our values — and play into our enemies’ hands — if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else.”

For a cool-headed look at some of issues in the mosque controversy, see this AP fact check.

Djou a true test for GOP

August 9, 2010

Republicans have had little success in Hawai’i’s big political races in the last 50 years and the few who have succeeded, such as Pat Saiki and Linda Lingle, did it by downplaying party affiliation and stressing moderation.

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou is trying a different way by wearing his conservatism on his sleeve in his run for re-election to a full term against Democratic state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa.

It’ll be an interesting test of whether the mainland-style Republican brand can sell in Hawai’i even under the most favorable conditions.

Djou won the special election to fill the last few months of Neil Abercrombie’s term against a Democratic vote that was split between Hanabusa and Ed Case.

Still, the 40 percent of the vote he pulled was impressive and if he holds that in the general election, he doesn’t need that many disgruntled Case voters to get over the top.

The customary political move in this heavily Democratic state would be to moderate himself to win over Case’s constituency of moderate Democrats and independents.

But he’s done the opposite, seeking out opportunities to be visible in promoting the Tea Party line on economic stimulus, financial reform, tax breaks for the wealthy and extension of unemployment benefits — giving Democrats a clear record to shoot at.

Whether you agree with him or not, you’ve got to give Djou some credit for having the courage of his convictions.

Lingle broke new ground by winning as a Republican. If Djou pulls it off, his new ground would be winning as a Republican who unabashedly acts like one.


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