Posted tagged ‘Republican Party’

Do or die for Hawai’i GOP

July 26, 2010

State Republican Chairman Jonah Ka’auwai is making some good moves in trying to dig back from the GOP’s disastrous 2008 legislative elections, when the party failed to field candidates in 40 percent of the races and ended up with an irrelevant minority of six of 51 House seats and two of 25 Senate seats.

Ka’auwai recruited candidates for nearly all open seats this year, an important statement that Republicans will fight to retain their status as a major political party in Hawai’i.

Just as important, he recognized that he can’t win ’em all and set a reasonable goal of doubling up this year to 12 House seats and four Senate seats and building from there in future elections.

Reasonable, but still daunting in a state in which nearly every legislative district leans Democratic. And the Republicans start with a handicap after two of their safest seats were put into play when Sen. Fred Hemmings retired and Rep. Lynn Finnegan left the Legislature to run for lieutenant governor.

But there’s a lot of voter discontent after the crushing recession, which tends to favor the out party, and the GOP has some energy going after U.S. Rep. Charles Djou’s victory in the special election to replace Neil Abercrombie.

Republican House and Senate candidates have hot-button issues to work with in the economy, civil unions and the 36-percent pay raise incumbent legislators took for themselves while demanding sacrifices of everybody else.

If the GOP can’t make gains this year, its future is grim as a credible political force in Hawai’i.

Politics by cheap attack

July 13, 2010

In a continuing attempt to discourage organized anonymous attack politics, I’ve been checking on a new group that’s popped up on Facebook called “Hawaii Residents Against Mufi.”

It’s run by an anonymous creator who goes by the alias “Anyone But Mufi” and says it’s “dedicated to preventing Mufi Hannemann from becoming Governor in 2010.”

It has 17 members, including state Republican chairman Jonah Kaauwai.

I sent the following message to the anonymous creator: “Would you please let me know your name so I can interview you about your ‘Hawaii Residents Against Mufi’ page and how you justify this anonymous character assassination that is dragging down politics in Hawai’i. How is this different from the Atomic Monkey site that the Hannemann campaign is taking heat for? If you want to take a stand, fine, but why not have the spine to back it up with your name?”

I received a response that refused to give give the creator’s name, saying, “This is strictly an opinionated page. If Mufi found out my real identity, he would bully around and make sure that no one would hire me for future employment.”

That’s the same lame excuse I used to get when I tried to track down similar anonymous anti-Hannemann sites during the 2008 mayoral race and transit referendum.

So I queried Kaauwai through the Republican Party, asking, “Could you please tell me who ‘Anyone But Mufi’ is so I can interview him? I’d also be interested to know how you justify lending your support to these anonymous attack sites that are degrading politics in Hawai’i? Is there any reason you shouldn’t be subject to the same criticism Hannemann chair Dean Okimoto got for being a fan of the Atomic Monkey group? Does your association with ‘Anyone But Mufi’ mean Neil (Abercrombie) can claim you as a supporter in the primary?”

Kaauwai didn’t answer me, but posted a query on the group asking, “Chris aren’t you the author and administrator of this group? Why have you gone anonymous?”

Kaauwai went on to post a video of himself warning that HB 444 will resurface next year unless more Republicans are elected to Legislature.

These anonymous sites reach few people, preach mostly to the converted and have yet to have much impact on the outcome of elections, but it’s a dishonorable form of politicking that warrants vigilant scrutiny.

Update: I received a reply from Jonah Kaauwai, who said he joined the group at the invitation of an individual he knew and assumed was named as the creator of the site.

He said he’s made inquiries about who created the site and why it was taken anonymous, which he considers “cowardly,” and will leave the group if the creator remains anonymous.


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