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I just finished interviewing the three candidates for Governor in Hawaii (in the order I met them).

First off, everything here is solely my opinion and not the opinion of any of my family members (I'm pretty sure a couple of these things are going to get me a very upset phone call). So no yelling at my mom or sister (you can yell at my dad - he'll just give it back to you, with more swear words).

I live in Colorado. I grew up in Hawaii but went to college in Colorado and have lived on the mainland since then, coming back on vacation about every other year. So the below comes from someone who has a very shallow view of the state from outside - which does have its advantages as well as disadvantages.

I think Hawaii faces two major issues - fixing the schools (they suck) and creating a significant number of high paying jobs (which requires good schools). Renewable energy, locally grown food, etc. - those are good things but not key to the states future (sorry mom). So based on that...

I went in to this assuming I would love Neil, would find Mufi to be a union/democratic machine puppet, and would find Duke to be a nice guy but not up to the job of governor. Boy was I wrong. So here's my take on the candidates.

Duke Aiona - Incredibly smart, focused on the key issues, and displayed by far the greatest knowledge on those issues. He also would be the most effective on fixing K-12, if he could get the necessary legislation through. Duke is a superb & impressive candidate.

Neil Abercrombie - Neil is focused on leadership and character and from that we will... Sorry, but I think it takes more than that. And on education I'm sorry but leaving teachers alone with no measurement or accountability won't improve things - it doesn't for any profession. On any given question I'm probably going to agree with Neil most of the time but I think Neil needs to focus on what & how to sell himself.

Mufi Hannemann - Mufi is a politician. If you cut him, he bleeds politics, not blood. On each issue he is looking to find the compromise that is acceptable to the most people. In other words, he's very much like Bill Clinton (without the intern issues). Now we all like someone who fights for specific results - when we agree with them. But the majority of politics is crafting the best compromise and there is great value in that.

So who to vote for? All three of them are smart knowledgable focused people. They are all quality candidates. Mufi is a known quantity who will almost certainly do a really good job while Neil is a wild card. On that decision you need to weigh out what you think Neil will do and how effective he will be. If I was voting I would want to see Neil talking a lot more specifics about what and how before voting for him.

In addition, an all Democratic system has served Hawaii badly. Single party government at any level in any state has led to corruption and an inability to address the big problems. Hawaii needs to have a two party government. So my recommendation is either:

  1. Elect a majority of Republicans to the legislature and Mufi or Neil to the Governorship.
  2. Elect the usual suspects to the legislature and Duke to the Governorship.

<H2>Who's Going to Win? </H2>
I think the Democratic primary will be a referendum on the job Mufi is doing as mayor. If people think he's done a good job running Honolulu, he's going to win. If they think he's done a poor job of it, Neil wins. There's a lot of other issues but that's the biggie.

I think the general will be based on how well people remember having a one party state. If they recall how inefficient and ineffective it was, then Duke has a strong change. If they don't remember, then it's a Democratic win.

<H2>Civil Unions </H2>
I want to end with a note on Civil Unions. The arguments against Civil Unions, that they are unnatural, that God does not approve, that they are yucky - all of those arguments were used against interracial marriages. And interracial marriages were illegal in many states into the '60s. To have civil unions, which fall far short of gay marriage, opposed in a state with such a high percentage of interracial marriage is the height of hypocrisy. Abercrombie is on the right side of history on this issue while Lingle, Aiona, & Hannemann are on the side of bigotry (equivocation is still bigotry).

Originally posted to DavidThi808 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 09:49 PM PDT.

Poll

Who's going to win?

64%48 votes
14%11 votes
21%16 votes

| 75 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your comments on Aiona were strange (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, Troutfishing, SoCalSal

    Just because he is smart does not mean his solutions are good ones.  You mention education but give no details. I would agree that for Dems educational reform is a third rail because of the power of the teachers' union, but that begs the question of all the other issues facing Hawaii Nei

  •  Leaning towards Abercrombie myself. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, tiponeill, fumie, LennyLiberal, SoCalSal

    Besides the fact that he's Republican, I won't vote for Aiona due to his civil unions stance. Hoping Hanneman doesn't make it past the primary but we'll see.

    On a side note, I hit the Korean Festival yesterday. Got there in the early afternoon and no more than 10 minutes later our idiotic governor was introduced on stage to give a welcome. I mentally threw tomatoes at her.

  •  Doubtful about Aiona and Hannemann... (5+ / 0-)

    but then I don't trust too many affiliated w/the Christian right, especially when they claim to "own" both Rep (Aiona) and Dem (Hannemann) candidates.

    I am about your age, born and raised in Honolulu, and was at UH about the time Abercrombie was making a name for himself. I trust him a lot more than the other two.

    It isn't shameful to vote your own self-interest instead of the interests of multi-national corporations--iceman

    by fumie on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 12:21:06 AM PDT

  •  Given that Hawaii has the Republican governor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, Pozzo

    now, I'm not sure what 'all-Democratic system' are you talking about.

    •  Hawaii more or less has an all Democratic system (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fumie, FG

      Linda Lingle is the odd exception to the rule. She's the first Republican to hold office since 1961 I think. Plus, Hawaii hasn't had a Republican senator since the 70s and has been represented by a House Republican for a total of four years plus Djou's tenure. The state senate also goes 13-2 for Dems and 45-6 in the assembly. This state bleeds blue; it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Hawaii is the most Democratic state in the country, though not necessarily the most liberal.

      GOP stands for Grand Old Problem.

      by LennyLiberal on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 03:57:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice interview with Aiona, but.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, fumie, SoCalSal

    ...like you said, you don't live here.  If you did and had kids in school here, you would have seen him traveling on state business for a little ceremony or thingie, then using most of the day and evening visiting churches and their schools.  He is an End-Timer, he supports the war in Iraq, believes one is coming with Iran, and encourages the "Christian" students to enlist for the coming Armageddon.  Flyers about his religious speeches were even distributed in state and county offices, despite all rules to the contrary.  

    It's all part of his doomsday scenario, and I don't want him anywhere in state government any more.  He may speak well with you about plans for improving conditions in Hawaii, but he believes in and promotes quite a different future.

  •  Really? (4+ / 0-)

    By what measure do schools here suck and teachers have no accountability? Yes, I'm a teacher and I'm held accountable every day by my students, their parents, the community, administrators, my team of teachers, and the professional standards of my level and content programs. My students scores by any measure are very good. My "teacher test" scores were in the top 15% of the nation, I am constantly doing professional development, mentor student teachers, and have two higher degrees.

    Please stop propagating the meme that Hawai`i schools suck. I assume you'll bring up state test scores. State test scores cannot be compared because the tests are different for every state. The state tests also do not track individual student progress which is what I think truly counts.  Hawai`i happens to have one of the more difficult state tests and all my students take it, whether or not they are mentally retarded or just got to this country. If we were smart, we'd dumb down the test so everyone would pass with a 100% and the public would stop talking about damn test scores. The we could focus on other educational issues.

    As for Aiona, he's a religious idiot and doesn't understand how the Constitution works. He'd be happy for us to follow the Bible so, he's off my list for sure. Abercrombie is hard-working, knowledgeable, and a fantastic communicator. I hope he wins so he can, among other things,  bring Hawaii's marriage laws into the 21st century.

    •  You sound like a good teacher (0+ / 0-)

      But that doesn't mean all your co-workers are. Look at how many parents put their kids in private school - that's a gigantic vote about the quality of the public schools. Look at how few go on to college from the public schools - another significant piece of evidence.

      Insisting it's not a problem is itself a problem.

      •  Hawaii has a strong tradition and preference for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fumie

        private schools which stems from our history of formal education re: missionary schools. Kids who want to go to college certainly go, but I have to say the our economic base and distance from mainland schools has made college less desirable for many kids. Most of my students don't even want to move out of their family homes. They want to get a construction or hotel job and do the same thing their dads did. I work hard to get them ready for college in case they decide they want it, but I understand why they balk. Paying for more education and coming back to a state with uncertain employment guarantees and in which you cannot get a decent home for under half a million dollars is absurd in the extreme.

        I appreciate your diary though. It's good to talk through these ideas, and of course it's always good to see Hawai`i represented at Kos. Aloha!

  •  Duke Aiona????????? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, Troutfishing, fumie

    Just what we need.  The American Taliban with a smiling face.

    If you think he's smart, perhaps you need to ask better questions. -

    I know your family is well hooked into the Republican power base here, but spare us the pretense otherwise.

  •  Abercrombie, definitely (4+ / 0-)

    even though I no longer live in Hawaii so can't vote for him.

    Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

    by SoCalSal on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 02:25:41 AM PDT

  •  "Single party government at any level...." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, fumie

    Republican government guarantees corruption and handwaving problems away. I'll take my chances with a load of Democrats any day.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Ponder Stibbons on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 02:30:02 AM PDT

  •  Yes, electing Lingle was a great idea! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, Troutfishing, fumie

    Lingle set back civil rights in the state many decades, but hey, at least you have two-party government!

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