DINO candidate for the Hawaii Congress, Donna Mercado Kim, in an interview with the Hawaii Independent sounds like an ideal match for today's GOP.
When asked her priority in Congress she answered:
My top three concerns… first one being the budget. I’ve always been concerned about the budget, my background, coming from a poor family and knowing how hard it is to make ends meet, I’ve always been holding government accountable for spending, trying to make government more efficient and accountable, so I would like to see a Congress balance budget. I know that’s something that has eluded them for a long time but that’s something that I believe we all need to do. We’ve done it in the city, we’ve done it in the state, we do it in our households.Choosing a balanced budget over jobs or investment in our crumbling infrastructure, shows that Kim is not ready for the big leagues. Her misconception that balancing the budget – especially by cutting programs – works in the same way as the family budget is naive. Unlike the family budget, the federal government collects revenues based on economic activity and programs that stimulate the economy (infrastructure jobs) or put more money in the hands of the poor actually return more revenue than the programs use in the long run.
But wait! Kim does want jobs – by increasing tourism. Never mind that Honolulu's traffic is already rated worst of U.S. Let's add more tourists to the mix. Never mind that Honolulu's sewage system is so antique that it continually breaks and sends sewage into ocean abutting popular tourist vacation beaches. Minimum wage tourism jobs are just the ticket!
As state senate president, Kim killed an increase in minimum wage in 2013. Sort of a double whammy to the tourism workers she's “helping”. Factoid: Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S.
So why was Kim so resistant to raising minimum wage?
Q: Do you think a family can support itself on $10 an hour in Hawaii?So, while advocating for minimum wage tourism jobs instead of high paid union construction jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, Kim thinks people don't have to be able to live on these wages since they are just entry level. Entry level to what?
No, and I don’t think the minimum wage started out or is intended to be a living wage, it started out being an entry wage, and so hopefully it gets people into the workplace and then get them to move up into other jobs or positions.
Mark Takai, her Sierra Club and Progressive Caucus endorsed opponent says one of the first things he'll do when he gets to congress is to advocate that minimum be raised to living wage. Then he follows up for pushing infrastructure funding.
Does Kim support a living wage?
I don’t think is going to be realistic as far as the Congress, so we need to take it in steps. I think you need to give businesses a chance to be able to work themselves up into that because their budgets and many small businesses may not be able to sustain a really fast increase.That's a resounding no.
Does Kim support lowering student debt interest rates? She says she does. She is quick to blame the student debt problem on the universities saying they are inefficient and need to cut costs. Ironic in this day when the federal government has cut back drastically on basic research funding and states have raised tuition at public schools. But at least she supports lowered interest rates and debt relief....or does she?
Yes, I would like us to look at, I mean, there are so many programs and every time we talk about stuff we talk about well we need money for the federal government, it’s very easy to say yes, let’s give more money to the federal government, and then we look at well how do we balance the budget. So therein we have to look at what our priorities, and where we want to place those monies. And so that’s why when you talked about Obamacare, when we look at some of the costs that went and paid for that, some of those monies can be used in other areas. But it requires us to be disciplined, it requires us to stay focused, and there are so many things that it’s nice to have, but we need to look at what are those basic needs that we need to get to the people.Too bad. It's possible her #1 priority of balancing the budget will preclude any real help to students.
When asked what U.H. could do to save money, her mostly incoherent answer went like this:
There’s instances such as sabbaticals, in the case of our chancellor, Virginia Henshaw, the policy with the border regions is that you have to have been employed for five years before, or is it six, before you would be eligible for your paid sabbatical. Well she was one year short, and they waived that, and then they gave it to her the sabbatical for one year at the chancellor’s salary and not at her new tenured salary. So that area, there’s instant, instant, my mind just went blank, tenure – the regents have instituted over the last few years instant tenure where they just automatically give these administrators tenure without them having to work for it. So those are all issues and concerns and many of the policies are already in place but they chose to waive it as they went forward. So and many of these administrators who come back as tenured professors are not in the classrooms, the students are not benefiting by their work, I think Dobelle wrote some report, so the students are not benefiting by having these so called best and brightest and top of their field at the university.With this incisive and informed thinking, we'll be in good hands....not!
The interviewer gave her another chance to mention investing in infrastructure as a method of creating jobs, stimulating the ecomony and increasing tax revenues. And again, it sailed right over her head as she doubled down on her most important issue: the budget.
On one hand, we talk about big business and you know should government be giving tax credits but at the same time how do we generate jobs? We need to invest in some of these incubators, some of these projects that you know new ideas and new things that are coming up – and I know there are programs of that sort. But again we have to balance it all.Let's transition to her well-informed sophisticated thinking on Israel and er...one of those countries...she forgets which...
Well, I believe that the US should’ve had stronger sanctions earlier on for Israel – against –against the Muslims and Israel’s – sorry, my mind is just off right now – Jordan and Syria and all of their conflicts that they are involved in. However, Israel, having been there, they are the last democracy that is in Europe at this point in time. And I know that the United States in fact has made promises to Israel – I believe that we can, without putting troops on the ground, without getting into a war, to try and assist through economic sanctions to be able to keep the nuclear war or nuclear weapons from escalating.Really, Donna? This is your best guess at what's going on with Israel and that other country...lemme just use one of my phone-a-friend opportunities...oh yeah! Palestine.
...So I do support our friendship with Israel and I do believe that we should support them because if Israel goes, and nuclear weapons get out of control, it’s going to eventually harm us. It’s going to affect the United States, and we want to keep it on that peninsula and not have it come over to North America.
Kim rambles on about her all-expenses-paid trip to Israel (she can't remember who sponsored it) where presumably she formed her staunch support of Israel as the only state holding the line on nuclear weapons in the Mideast.
The interview turns to the TPP. When asked if she supports it we get another super-informed answer:
No, I don't. I need to do a lot more research, I need to do a lot more ... get a better understanding of exactly what it entails and the problems that come with it, pros and cons. So, I don't... I don't have a pre-set.Pre-set idea? Clue? Understanding of the TPP at all?
On the Keystone pipeline – yet another well-informed answer:
I certainly lean towards being opposed to the Keystone. Again, I don't have all of the details and facts, but I am concerned about its impact to our environment. I don't know what promises were made, but it is certainly something that at this point I am leaning toward... leaning more towards not being in favor of it.“Promises made”???? To whom? By whom? What the heck are you talking about, Donna?
She never answers the Hobby Lobby question – which is good strategy since Emily's List has made another one of their beyond-belief endorsements of someone who has already voted their conservative religion and opposed marriage equality.
She's asked about the children fleeing gang violence in Central America and appears to have gotten completely mixed up. She thinks the refugee children are the gang members. But bottom line, any humanitarian impulses she feels are once again squashed by her balanced budget fixation.
I wish I knew. The American people are very compassionate, and here in Hawaii we’re even more compassionate. And to see children having to flee a country – it’s hard.The many missed chances to talk about real issues: infrastructure, student debt, raising the cap on Social Security taxes, the impact of the TPP on the environment and labor protections, the problems with NSA spying on U.S. citizens (which Mark Takai identified as important enough to be one his priorities to stop), Citizens United showed Donna Mercado Kim to be incredibly uninformed.
And so your initial reaction is that you would like to embrace them all and bring them in. however, reality is such that I don’t know that we have enough resources in our country to be able to embrace all of them coming in. there are issues of whether or not they would all be able to meet the refugee status.
I understand there are a number of gangs – teenagers that are coming over, and these are young people that are getting involved with the law, and issues that we certainly would not want into our country, we have enough of our own at this point. But there is just – we just don’t have enough resources to handle all of the children that are coming now or would be coming should we grant them that refugee status.
...Because, again, if an entire country of young people decide that they want to come in, there is just no way that we would be able to have enough resources to handle that.
Uninformed appears to be the watch word with this former beauty queen turned politician.
The Hawai'i Democratic primary takes place August 9th and voters already have their absentee ballots. Last poll showed Kim 6 points ahead of Takai (margin of error). Unless you want Kim - this poorly informed candidate who is apparently under the misapprehension that Democratic platform is identical to the Republican one, we need to get donations to Mark Takai for a last minute TV blitz.
You can donate through his website: MarkTakai.com