Firstly, let me point out that I support Gary Hooser for HI-02, the seat Ed Case (D and Iraq War Supporter) is vacating to attack Dan Akaka (D and Peace Supporter) in a primary challenge from the right. I've met Gary, know him, trust him, and seen him practice what he preaches. E.g. the Sierra Club agrees with me that Gary means what he says about protecting the environment.
Gary was just endorsed by the Sierra Club, which to me means something. Click on the endorsement image to see a letter by Gary on the endorsement.
[Hawaii]'s a long way from liberal/progressive. I call it Kansas with a beach for a reason.
(also at MLW)
One: anyone conservative, even a little, that is also practical, even a little, with the exception of Lingle, has become a Democrat, because only Democrats could get elected in the past. Thus, we have Ed Case, a fairly conservative Democrat was able to take the seat after Patsy Mink, progressive hero, passed away. Many progressives that supported Case were surprised at what they supported, the reason, simply, one assumes the "D" means something more than it can possibly mean, one assumes the conventional wisdom of a "deep blue state" means more than it possibly can. This conservativism in the Dem party weakens the state, and makes Dems and Republicans seem more alike.
Two: Lingle (R) took over for a Democrat, basically as a compassionate conservative. She's a "liberal" conservative, and few would deny that... except me, insofar as she champions and loves Bush, her "liberalism" is really a part of moving the country to the right. The thing is, Lingle is UBERPOPULAR, running in near 70% approval in the few polls we have to go by.
Three: Lingle won against Mazie Hirono, former Lieutenant Governor and primary competitor now for HI-02 due, few would deny, to corruption that surfaced in the previous Democratic Governors campaign. The corruption is... to me more like stagnation. I don't think there is an evil inset corruption or anything like that, but there is (was?) a good old boys network that has had moments of good old fashioned corruption. People don't trust that, because they know someone's cousin is getting government contracts. We have no laurels to rest on as Democrats in Hawaii as a result.
Four: Because of Democratic domination, the only conservatives impractical enough to run as Republicans (besides Lingle) have generally been real right wing nuts. This has helped perpetuate Democratic Party dominance. Lingle's appearance and popularity is going to put an end to this. If soft-conservative Republicans like Lingle start running (and Ed Case is a perfect example of the kind of person that would be running as a Lingle Republican), Hawaii residents, who have a lot of social, racial, and pro-military conservativism will have an alternative to vote for.
Five: We don't give a damn. Kos has said, for example:
Lingle ain't going anywhere as she remains one of the most popular governors in the country, 67-27 approvals in the latest SUSA poll.
And given the rampant corruption of Hawaii Democrats, I don't think I blame island voters for wanting a bit of checks and balances. I keep hoping this forces the party to clean up its act, though our track record in other states (like MA, RI, NJ, and IL) isn't very encouraging. One-party dominance encourages all manners of abuses.
I can keep hoping, but not with any confidence. The recipe kos describes is one in which my prediction (Republican Dominance in Hawaii) is the logical consequent. Hawaii is very loyal to incumbents, if we get Republicans without that changing... well I'm sure you see the point.
And if Case wins against Akaka, you have another conservative from a blue state... breaking even on Lieberman... assuming Lieberman loses. If Lieberman wins it's a net loss, not even counting the other conservatives we are eagerly taking on board this cycle in our desperation. You can argue we have no choice... but whatever you argue, we are eagerly helping the Democratic Party move right. Yes yes, you have good reasons... but they don't allow you to deny that what you are doing for a good reason, you really are doing: move the Democratic Party eagerly to the right.
Honestly, I'm not sure there is anything we can do about this. Now I've met Gary, I like him, I think he will be a good representative, but also, my support comes from this dynamic. Gary is the only candidate from an "outer" island, he's a solid Democrat, he has democratic contacts, but he's further from that machine. People like Gary could re-construct the Hawaii Democratic party and seprate it from the stagnant Honolulu paternalism... but the party itself is unlikely to drive this, it would have to be driven from the outside.
More likely the Party will hold on until it goes down to Republicans, then try to run against the Republicans based on decades of Republican mismanagement of Hawaii.
The problem with that... we have to wait for decades of Republican mismanagement, during which you can expect Hawaiis resources to be spoiled, developments for the wealthy to drive down the standard of living of working class Hawaiians, continued problems with education and medical infrastructure. I far prefer Gary's vision of making Hawaii a center for renewable energy, environmental protection, and a study in medical infrastructure solving the problems of outer islands separated by ocean from our most modern facilities.
So I wish I had a solution that would work... I have a solution, but too many people would have to agree with me that don't (and there is even a slight possibility I'm wrong (gasp!), very slight)... but I thought you should know.