PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

September 30, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 1:02 pm

Ed Case seemed irked when liberal Democrats referred to him as a DINO (Democrat in name only), yet he continued to actively reach out for Republican “crossover” votes. That was an inherent contradiction. Now that Sen. Akaka prevailed in the Democratic primary, Hawaii Republicans have chosen the most Case-like Republican they could find to run against him. Cynthia Thielen reached out to Case voters in her statement announcing her candidacy:

I invite 106,968 independent-minded Ed Case voters to support my candidacy.

To me, this supports the notion that many Case voters were Republican, or leaning that way. Further reinforcement of the crossover effect comes from the voter numbers. A friend provided this rough analysis:

235,000 participants in the Democratic primary at the senate level.
1,800 blank votes in the Democratic primary at the senate level.

180,000 participants in the Democratic primary at the governor level.
58,000 blank votes in the Democratic primary at the governor level.

56,000 “republicans” played in the democratic senatorial primary.

Supposing Thielen is a “moderate Republican” and Case is a “moderate Democrat,” what is the significant difference between those two descriptions? One might expect that difference would be found in their support (or lack of) for the Republican President and his war. I think it is interesting that Thielen is more critical of the way the Bush administration has handled the war in Iraq than Case ever was. Case’s stance on the war can be characterized simply as “stay the course.” In contrast, Thielen’s view on the war as outlined on her website is not unlike Akaka’s view. Thielen carefully prefaces much of her stance with statements like:

I want to succeed in Iraq. I want to succeed so that the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq has not been in vain. I want to succeed because the example of a functioning democracy in the Middle East would be a powerful example in that part of the world. I want to succeed so that the Iraqis can leave a safe and peaceful life.

in an attempt to hold onto Bush supporters. Then she launches into a well thought out criticism of “staying the course” that is better articulated than I have seen from many Democrats. A few notable quotes:

In this war there has not been a single instance of leadership, military or civilian, that has been replaced for not getting the job done. And yet, we have shown no progress in Iraq over the same period of time it took to win WWII. …

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In the case of Iraq. I will not support continuing to do the same thing because I know we will continue to suffer both more dead and horrendous financial cost, to no avail.

I support continuing in Iraq if the following steps are taken: First, that there is a new approach, one that is substantially different from what we are doing now and has a reasonable chance of success. Second, that the administration ruthlessly fire or reassign those that are not the very best leaders we can find for each position. This clearly includes Secretary Rumsfeld and General Abizaid. Third, that the Iraqi government either passes a bill requesting that we stay, or holds a referendum on this question. …

But if we do not make the changes that are essential to success, I can not support the war in Iraq. …

If we have no chance of success, then our only alternative is to plan for an orderly and efficient withdrawal of our troops.

There it is: A plan for withdrawal. ALMOST makes me think about supporting her. The undeniable fact, however, is that this is not about “supporting the best candidate regardless of Party.” When it comes to the US Senate, it is a numbers game plain and simple. The Party with the majority gets to assign the committee leaders and set the agenda. With the national balance of R’s and D’s in the Senate teetering on the edge of a potential Democratic majority after the Nov elections, it would be unconscionable for “blue Hawaii” to send an R to Washington.

Don’t get me wrong; I do not think that Thielen is the best for the job, I just want to point out this reality to those who might.

September 29, 2006

Horror show in East Oahu

Filed under: HI Politics — tshelly @ 9:08 am

Perhaps this question reflects my ignorance of local politics, but I’ll pose it anyway: Is Frank Lockwood the best candidate the Dems could find to run against Fred Hemmings? A few nights ago I attended a ‘candidate’s forum’ out in Hawaii Kai that featured (??) Hemmings and Lockwood as well as Gene Ward and Lyla Berg. After an hour of responding to written questions, it was impossible to distinguish Lockwood from Hemmings. Lockwood bashed mass transit, worker’s comp, public education, etc. etc. Lockwood mentioned that Mike McCartney asked to run against Hemmings. Is this really true? Hemmings is nothing but platitudes and tired cliches and the best the Dems can do is Lockwood, a Hemmings-wannabe? Pretty depressing.

September 25, 2006

Coffee’s replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 5:32 pm

is Cynthia Thielen!!

I think that is a very interesting choice and will make for a lively campaign. My sense is that Thielen is liked by people in many factions across the aisle. hmmm.

September 24, 2006

A Case for “Transition”?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 9:41 am

Jerry Burris in his column posted in the Advertiser on Sunday, September 24, 2006, with the title “Case’s bid for change falls short,” wrote

But Case concluded it was important to test his belief that the party and the state had changed and that a more centrist approach would best serve Hawai’i.

Case made no bones about this. His campaign would be a referendum on politics as usual and a test of the changing face of the Hawai’i electorate. His catchword was “transition,” but he meant more than transition in the U.S. Senate — he also was talking about transition in the soul of the Democratic Party.

If this was Case’s strategy, he picked a really bad year to do it, with the public rebelling across the country against President Bush and the Republicans. It might have worked in 2000, when people did not yet realize what a dud Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” would turn out to be.

His strategy also backfired, because he not only failed to unseat Sen. Akaka, but also he is likely to be replaced by a congressperson less “centrist” than himself.

The “soul of the Democratic party” seems to be moving away from Case, rather than towards him.

Bob Schacht

Akaka vs. Case: Good for Hawaii?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — BobSchacht @ 12:39 am

I just finished watching channel 6, Ed Case’s concession speech, and the comments afterwards. One comment was that Case’s decision to challenge Akaka was “good” for the Democratic Party. Was it?

Imagine if he hadn’t switched. He’d run again for CD2. Akaka would run again for the Senate. Abercrombie would run again for CD1. And they’d all probably win, with little fuss.

But now look. Akaka wins, but he needed a whole lot of help, not just from the Old Boy Network, but also from a lot of others, including Progressive Democrats of Hawaii, and Democracy for America. CD2 became a free-for-all, with a lot of good Democrats popping out of the woodwork, getting lots of publicity, energizing the party, and stirring things up. No heavy favorite emerged, and we’ll have to wait another hour or more until the “third printout” to figure out who won. So this is all good, right?

Well, maybe. But now let’s look at the winners of the primary:

Akaka. Abercrombie. Iwase. and, if her lead holds up, Mazie Hirono, former candidate for Lt. Gov.

These are not exactly fresh faces. I was really hoping for a better showing for Aila, and Hooser. The Old Boy/Girl network won. So isn’t that bad?
But perhaps it is potentially a net gain after all for progressives, since the CD2 winner is likely to be more progressive than Case is, especially if Mazie wins, so our congressional delegation will likely be even more progressive than it was.
So that’s good, isn’t it? . . .

What will Case do next? Run against Inouye? Or Lingle?

Bob Schacht

September 22, 2006

The time is NOT NOW

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 10:24 pm

I’m sorry. I am sick of Ed Case saying “The time is Now.” Yes, I am watching TV right now. Just saw a Case ad followed by a Lingle ad. Quite similar, really.

I can argue all of the points and issues why we should re-elect Dan Akaka tomorrow, but it seems that most people want to go on their “gut.” Nobody really wants to argue issues, even though they say they matter. At the end of the day, they are going to support the one they “like” no matter what else is going on. Take a look at all the blog debates and you will know what I mean.

Well, here is my “gut” feeling: I would rather have Dan Akaka sit in this seat and continue voting as he has been even if he is “ineffective” rather than Ed Case getting in there and being effective in the middle of the road. When I elect a Democrat representative, I expect them to be a Democrat (capital D intended). Not an Independent. Ed Case actively points out that he is not a D, he is an I, willing to work with everyone. That sounds good on the surface, but we have had too many D’s on the national level bend over to the R’s rather than stand up for what is right.

Sorry, I am starting to actually argue issues and I said I wasn’t going to do that. Bottom line: I would rather have Akaka keeping the seat warm than Case being effective. Case is not the right Senator for Hawai‘i. Not the blue, liberal Hawai‘i that I love. We need to re-elect Dan Akaka to buy more time for that “transition” that Case loves to talk about. Case is not the guy for that transition.

Kucinich endorsement??

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 4:05 pm

I was a little surprised to see this article announcing Kucinich backing Hee in the 2nd CD race. The article implies an endorsement, although all it really says is:

Hee said he received a call from the former presidential candidate last night thanking him for his strong stance against the war in Iraq and supporting his plan to create a federal department of peace and nonviolence.

Kucinich gave “a strong note of encouragement” to him, Hee said, and “wished me good luck” in tomorrow’s 10-person Democratic primary.

Yes, Hee has expressed a strong stance against the war in Iraq during this campaign, but so have several of the other candidates in this race. I wonder if a similar call was made to anyone else, but Hee was just quicker to release the information. Or perhaps Hee was singled out because he has been the only one to openly endorse Akaka in the US Senate race.

September 19, 2006

National Blog urges support for Akaka

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 2:14 pm

Today’s MyDD.com blog includes a major interview with Sen. Akaka by Jonathan Singer (Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 01:36:31 PM EST). Read the whole thing here .

Singer also called Ed Case to invite him to interview, but the calls were not returned (sound familiar?).

Singer wrote,

Although the race between Akaka and Case has been overlooked by both the national media and, to an extent, the political blogosphere, it represents an interesting situation: Case is basically challenging Akaka from the right (though he focuses on the need to pass on power to a new generation of Hawaiians). While Senator Akaka opposed the Bush administration on policies such as Iraq and the bankruptcy reform bill, Rep. Case has supported the White House on these measures.

. . .I believe it is important for the Netroots to show support for Sen. Akaka, the candidate who will more clearly demand accountabilty on Iraq and a range of issues.

The latest polling shows Sen. Akaka up by more than 10 points, but given the possibility that this race will continue to tighten as election day nears (remember, the Honolulu Advertiser polling from 2004 was at least a bit suspect), Sen. Akaka needs our help today. If you agree now (or after having read this interview), go to Sen. Akaka’s website and make a financial contribution on his behalf and help put him over the top before Saturday’s primary.

You can help in other ways, too, like passing this info around to your friends. I sent in letters to the editor of both major papers in town this morning trying to explain why I support Sen. Akaka, but don’t know if they will appear before the election, or at all.

Bob Schacht

September 16, 2006

Net Neutrality

Filed under: General — marginal man @ 3:26 pm

More than any other issue, Net Neutrality, to me is one of the most important. Some of you may have recently heard of what Senator Boxer of California has had to say to the FCC about their failure to act on an important study about local radio and television programming. In responce, Kevin J Martin, the Commision Chairman has made the working paper public. You can find Senator Boxer confronting the Commission on YouTube. As I mentioned in another post Net Neutrality is a complex issue to articulate. There is another video on YouTube from Senator Kennedy that that provides some insight into the principal of Net Neutrality and a more broad approach to maximizing the use of the Internet to advance democracy. I tend to single out the FCC as being the most important agency affecting future use of the Internet however the FEC may also have a significant impact on it’s use. At any rate, regulation of all forms of public communications media seem to be an important issue in our present and future discourse. No doubt I’ll be back soon with more interesting developments and I’ll try to dig up information that is more pertinent to us right here in Hawaii.

September 13, 2006

Changing the world

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 5:03 pm

Today NION hosted a “Festival of Resistance” at the UH Campus Center. I didn’t stay to hear many of the speeches, but I helped set up a table for PDH and heard bits and pieces as I went back and forth. One speech really saddened me. It was made by a woman that I got to know a bit when we worked together on the Kucinich campaign a couple years ago. We often manned tables together and she and I registered several people to vote and even got some to sign Democratic Party cards so that they could vote in the presidential preference poll (Hawaii’s version of a presidential primary).

Today she gave a speech about how voting doesn’t matter. It makes me sad to think that she became so disillusioned after the last election that she is choosing not to vote any more. 🙁 Her argument is that more can get done on the street than ever gets done by voting. I don’t agree and have been devoting a lot of my time to “working within the system.” I believe she and I have similar end-goals, yet we have completely oppposite strategies.

I would like to hear what you think… What is the best way to “change the world” or at least a small part of it? Working within the system or working the streets while completely shunning the system.

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