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

November 3, 2008

Sen. Inouye Stands By His Man

Filed under: HI Politics,National Politics — Tags: , , — BobSchacht @ 8:36 am

Sen. Stevens (R-Alaska) has this announcement on his website:

Senator Inouye Assures Alaskans Senator Stevens Will Keep Senate Seat During Legal Process

Former AG Cole says verdict against Stevens will likely be overturned

Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), a 42-year veteran of the Senate and a revered Democrat in Congress, today told Alaskans that Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) will retain his Senate seat while the legal process moves forward. Senator Inouye also echoed the sentiment of legal scholars across the United States saying that Senator Stevens will be vindicated through an appeal.

“As the Senate has done in every other instance in its long 220-year history, I am absolutely confident that Ted Stevens will be sworn into the Senate while he appeals this unjust verdict,” said Senator Inouye. “I am certain that this decision in Washington, D.C., will be overturned on appeal.”

As twolf1 points out over at FireDogLake, however, Majority Leader Harry Reid has a different view:

“While I respect the opinion of Senator Daniel Inouye, the reality is that a convicted felon is not going to be able to serve in the United States Senate. And as precedent shows us, Senator Stevens will face an Ethics Committee investigation and expulsion, regardless of his appeals process. This is not a partisan issue and it is unfortunate that Senator Stevens has used his longtime friendship with Senator Inouye for partisan political gain.”

Of course, Stevens is running for re-election, and tomorrow the voters will voice their opinion.



  1. Inouye is placing his loyalty to Ted Stevens above loyalty to the Democratic Party and the interests of the American people to win a filibuster-proof majority of the Senate. His actions have also undermined the ability of the local Democratic Party to enforce its own rules against members helping candidates from other parties defeat Democrats. It is awkward all around.

    The best solution would be for Alaskan voters to reject Stevens at the polls tomorrow and elect Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. The Alaskans are a perversely contrarian lot, but the polls are suggesting EVEN they are tired of Stevens and are likely to retire him tomorrow. If so, Stevens will be defeated and Senator Inouye will be able to feel he stood by his friend.

    But Inouye’s actions will have largely destroyed the ability of the Democratic Party of Hawaii to enforce its rules against other scofflaw members.

    I happen to think the restriction on members supporting candidates from other parties is an essential, perhaps fundamental, rule at the core of the definition of a political party. Upon joining the party, a member gains certain rights in exchange for certain commitments. It is a voluntary association and a voter need not join. When you DO join, you agree to abide by the rules of the Party, including most specifically the requirement that you not publicly work for the election of a non-Democrat in a partisan election.In exchange, you have a say in determining the positions of the party on issues, electing internal party leadership, helping select the presidential candidate and help write the Rules we ALL agree to abide by.

    Any member has the right to bring charges against another member for violating the Rules. There is an internal “due process” which is held to adjudicate the matter. A ruling is issued and a sanction is imposed if appropriate. The sanctions range from expulsion from the Party, a public censure, or a public reprimand. The reprimand is basically a statement that the member’s action was in violation of the Rules and is not acceptable to the Party. It is a mild “slap on the wrist.”

    Without commenting on the specifics of the Inouye-Stevens case, in general the county committee is likely to consider various factors in deciding on the appropriate sanction. Among the factors would be the overall relationship between the individual and the Party. In general, does the member contribute more to the party or has the relationship been more parasitic? Someone who has done a great deal for other Democrats would likely get a milder sanction than someone whos has done nothing for the Party and has used the Party label for their own convenience.

    Comment by Kolea — November 3, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  2. why isn’t Inouye being sanctioned over the Stevens issue (or endorsing Republicans Don Couch or Charmaine Tavares) by the party the way his faction tar-and-feathered Wayne Nishiki back in the early 90s?

    Comment by line of flight — November 27, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

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