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

October 30, 2007

FEC admonishes Case backers

Filed under: 4Public Financing,HI Politics — Tags: — rachel @ 2:20 pm

Somewhat old news now, but I was interested to read this article in the Advertiser today. Remember the Akaka-Case US Senate race? Seems like so long ago… Case loved to point out how much more money the Akaka campaign had meanwhile the US Chamber of Commerce was spending a ton of money to help the Case campaign.

The chamber, which had endorsed Case, paid a telemarketing firm about $2,500 to make nearly 55,000 calls directing voters to a chamber Web site that favorably compared Case to Akaka on economic and small-business issues.

Well turns out they broke the law in doing so…

The FEC ruled this month that the chamber violated federal election law by using corporate money to advocate for Case and for failing to include language in the messages listing the chamber’s street address, telephone number or Web address, or stating that the calls were not authorized by Case.

But I guess this sort of thing is so commonplace and expected that it wasn’t worth more than a minor slap on the wrist.

The FEC chose not to take further action beyond admonishing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the relatively small amount of corporate money involved.

December 5, 2006

A view from the other side

Filed under: HI Politics — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 11:00 pm

You can’t miss the extraordinary blog of Cynthia Thielen’s son David (davidthi808), who describes himself as “an active Democrat and liberal.” But of course when Mom called on him for help, he did what he could. His blog on DailyKos,

Political Geniuses my ass

written on November 26, describes his experience with the Thielen campaign against Sen. Akaka.

David is apparently a regular on DailyKos, and his blog on the campaign makes very interesting reading!

Bob Schacht

September 30, 2006

RINO vs DINO?

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 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.
(Yawn)

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.

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 13, 2006

War vs Environment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 12:11 pm

As I was perusing the Hawaii tag on DailyKos, I came across this excellent commentary in response to one of the pro-Case members of the site. It starts off with this:

you say something like this:

I’m an environmentalist; Ed supports the environment; Akaka doesn’t.

That’s just nonsense. You want to reduce ANWR down to this silly superficial baby harp seal kind of ideal thing, but it’s not. You cannot just dismiss the indigenous mineral rights angle simply because it complicates your black or white narrative. You are smarter than that.

I particularly like this passages:

You care about “the environment”? What kind of friggin’ environment are the people, or let me get cheap here– what kind of “environment” are the “women and children” of Iraq facing? Do you give a damn about the massive poisoning of THEIR environment by depleted uranium that your boy is enthusiastically supporting? How’s about unexploded cluster bombs strewn across the countryside? Does that fit in your narrow definition of an “environmental issue”?

I am very familiar with the notion that Arab lives are not worth paying attention to, so I can understand that the war in Iraq might be a low priority for you, but why are you such a stereotyped yuppie liberal, supporting the right of first world professionals to party however their “lifestyle” leads them, but not getting upset by the current Bush (and Case) plans to militarily dominate the world and mow down those that oppose them? And, then, mow down those who want to avenge their family members killed in the first round?

Yes, it gets vitriolic… but that is how the dialog has been in this race. People are very emotional about the WAR, so are equally emotional when they defend the anti-war candidate.

Kossaks have been arguing back and forth on the merits and records of Akaka & Case… it makes an interesting read if you find time.

September 11, 2006

Case “helped” by realtors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 2:34 pm

Ann Oshiro-Kauwe forwards this from Ian Lind’s blog:

http://www.ilind.net/2006/september/sept10-16.html

September 11, 2006 – Monday

The political action committee formed by a national trade association spent more than $600,000 last month to directly benefit the campaign of an island candidate. That was more than the total amount raised by the candidate through June 30, 2006.

What was the PAC and who was the candidate?

Well, last week Ed Case’s campaign sent out an email urging supporters to “follow the money”. So I did.

The campaign’s email presented data to show that Akaka has received a greater share of his campaign funds from political action committees and from mainland residents than case.

But the figures were carefully selected. Looked at differently, the same data show Akaka raised 80% more money from Hawaii residents than Case.

And Case points the finger at “special interests” supporting Akaka, who has drawn his share of support from PACs, which are each limited to a $5,000 contribution per election.

But Case has a huge special interest hiding in his closet, according to Federal Election Commission records. And the money from this PAC doesn’t show up in lists of contributions received because it was spent “independently” of the candidate and is reported elsewhere.

FEC data shows the National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee spent a whopping $602,017 in August for television ads and direct mail in direct support of Case’s campaign. This included $385,000 paid to the Fenn Communications Group for television ads, and $216,417 paid to Terris Barnes & Walters for a direct mail campaign in favor of Case.

That’s more than the entire $597,575 raised by the Case campaign through the end of June 2006. This one PAC, in essence, more than doubled his money and did it by acting “independently” of the Case campaign.

Akaka benefited from a $100,000 independent expenditure by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which paid for television spots on his behalf, but AFSCME’s proportional role pales compares to the realtor’s position in the Case effort.

Both the Realtors and the AFSCME expenditures are among the independent expenditures made recently, according to FEC data reported by PoliticalMoneyLine. You’ll have to search that list for Case or Akaka to find the individual entries.

Now let’s see. This is the same Ed Case who co-sponsored the Bankruptcy Bill, making it tougher for citizens who go broke to declare bankruptcy. What do you think realtors would say about that bill? I’ll bet they like it, a lot!

Bob

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