Political Radar


June 24th, 2014

The most awkward moment at the forum Tuesday at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii between Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige?

Howard Dicus, the moderator and a business reporter for Hawaii News Now, asked the two Democrats who they supported in the Democratic primary between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

"Is this a trick question?" joked Abercrombie, who appointed Schatz in December 2012 to replace the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Many of the same prominent politicians -- including former Gov. George Ariyoshi and former Gov. Ben Cayetano -- who are supporting Hanabusa are also backing Ige.

Ige politely sidestepped the question.

"I think the people of Hawaii are very fortunate to have two very qualified candidates to step up to the table and have decided to offer their name as a potential nominee for the United States Senate," he said. "I hope that all of you will be compelled to vote. I think it's very important that you make that decision. And I'm confident that the people of Hawaii will make the right choice for the U.S. Senate position."

Abercrombie said the Democratic Party of Hawaii gave him three excellent choices for the appointment in Schatz, Hanabusa and Esther Kiaaina, a former deputy at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources who now works at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

"What I determined to do was to try to pick the person that I felt -- of those three excellent people -- that had the best chance to set a foundation for Hawaii's future," the governor said. "We all know that the longer you serve in the United States Senate -- in particular, the longer you get your seniority -- the more power that comes. To a small state like ours, that couldn't be more important.

Abercrombie said he is confident he did the right thing with the appointment and that voters will make their choice based on what is in the best interest of the state's future.

20 Responses to “Awkward”

  1. innocent observer:

    what good is seniority if the senator is lousy? the best interest of the state is the election of Hanabusa.

  2. TKeiko:

    The reality of the Senate is that ability is more important than seniority. Look at Elizabeth Warren, who is the same age as Hanabusa and is actually junior to Schatz. She has made a name for herself by being smart, proactive and, courageous--exactly the way Hanabusa was in the Hawaii State Senate. Schatz, by comparison, is an unknown backbencher who just signs on to other senators' bills.

    Despite her endorsement of Schatz (the politics of incumbent backscratching), Warren is actually more of a model for what Hanabusa could accomplish.

  3. Hanalei Moon:

    If Abercrombie was so concerned with seniority, why did he abandon 20 years of built-up seniority in the U.S. House to come back to run for Governor? Obviously, building seniority in Congress was not that important to him. I agree with the two previous writers. Ability is what counts the most. Senator Inouye did and Senator Akaka continues to firmly believe that Colleen Hanabusa has what it takes to best deliver for the people of Hawaii in the US Senate. Who would know better than those two?

  4. Old Diver:

    Elizabeth Warren is the darling of progressives. Colleen Hanabusa on the other hand is a blue dog democrat and the darling of Wall Street, defense contractors and the drug industry. There is nothing similar about the two.

  5. Hawaiino:

    And you're using Colleens State Senate record as a basis for this conjecture? Really? Specific examples of legislation, but not the notorious ones of course, would be helpful in supporting your unfounded assertions.
    Now I liked working with Colleen as Senate Prez, she marshaled the forces and showed organizational moxie. But she had lots of baggage that her familiars in the Senate chose to ignore due to a lack of credible alternatives. She was the best of a weak lot.
    Schatz gives up 15 years of experience at the local level to her, the upside is that he can gain that experience at the Federal level....invaluable to our state.
    The Sabas cabal (Dods, etc) needs to recognize that the Senator has passed, as has their time.

  6. Hapahaoleoboy:

    Comparing Hanabusa to Warren is an extreme slap in the face to Warren. Seriously.

  7. Kolea:


    Your argument is absurd. Elizabeth Warren was a nationally known figure before she was elected. She had helped lead the federal effort to re-regulate Wall Street and, as a result, Wall Street and the Republicans blocked her appointment to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    So she ran against Scott Brow, a Republican national star, for the US Senate and trounced him. This was high drama, taking place on our television sets.

    Warren is a unique figure, an accomplished academic who also has had hands-on management experience in dealing with the financial mismanagement and corruption which crippled our economy. In what world does Colleen Hanabusa have anywhere near a comparable resume or skill set? You arrogantly dismiss Warren's endorsement of Schatz over Hanabusa by claiming it is merely "incumbent backscratching." Excuse me, what the heck do you know about Warren's motivations which entitles you to disparage her like this?

    In all the positive claims being made about Hanabusa, it seems to boil down to her skill at forging relationships and deal-making, not for having keen intellectual insight in confronting powerful corporate interests and the courage to do so. Schatz has succeeded in elevating debate in the Senate over climate change and has taken over from Tom Harkin as the lead champion for protecting and expanding Social Security. Contrary to your uninformed pronouncements, he is emerging as a leader on these things. Other than backroom deal-making, remind me again of what Hanabusa is a leader on?

  8. Nala007:

    There is a reason people call her Hannabullsh*t

  9. itoboy:

    OldDiver, Hawaiino, Hapahaoleboy, Kolea, and Nala007: Agree with your comments here. Schatz has done more in Congress in the last 18 months than Hanabullsh*t (sorry - couldn't resist - Nala007 - good one - LOL) has since 2010. I'll leave it at that otherwise Especially Incognito will start to do bird flips.

  10. Especially Incognito:

    The only bird being flipped is at you, itoboy.
    The only Hannabureacratic standard is presented by itoboy.

  11. Especially Incognito:

    Seems itoboy, you should stop making queer comments.
    The more you try, you only make a genious of yourself.

  12. Pay to play is the game:

    So Neil you're saying you're too old for the job and time for retire? Wait, what am I talking about, you should have retired in 1986.

  13. Nala007:

    @itoboy - glad you liked "Hanabullsh*t". I can't take credit for it. I learned it from an elderly Native Hawaiian woman in her 80s. She's voting for Schatz and told me how she doesn't trust Hanabusa and refers to her as "Hanabullsh*t." I agree with her fully and love the name she came up with. In my own past dealings with her, I have come not to trust anything she says and have no idea what she really stands for. In my opinion, the positions she takes are motivated almost exclusively by her own self-interests. Granted we all as human being are motivated my some degree by our own needs and self-interests. But when I compare Hanabusa to Schatz, I think she is far worse on this front and Schatz strikes me as more principled. He has my vote.

    Some of us haven't forgotten her underhanded behavior in 2009 to sabotage the civil union bill. Nor have we forgotten how she ran for re-election in 2012 on an anti-marriage equality platform.....only to suddenly "evolve" a few weeks later as soon as Senator Inouye died. That was a super fast evolution "Hanabullsh*t".

  14. Especially Incognito:

    And schatz is for the People of Hawaii? Transplants,
    aren't people of Hawaii. Keystone Pipeline is not.

    Monkey see, monkey do.

  15. Especially Incognito:

    Either hannabusa or schatz will be junior Senators,
    only to be seen and not heard.

  16. itoboy:

    Nala007: Excellent post. Especially Incognito: Made you flip. Hana hou.

  17. Especially Incognito:

    Showed your IQ with one finger, eh itoboy.

  18. itoboy:

    Especially Incognito: Watching you trying to do the flips is more entertaining than a day at the zoo. Hana hou.

  19. Especially Incognito:

    I am not surprised that itoboy with the IQ of 1 is fascinated by spending a day
    at the Zoo. Hana hoe!

    Becareful of congressives.

  20. itoboy:

    Especially Incognito: Is that the best you can do? What happened to your creativity? I guess you run out of ammo after posting so much in a single day. And please don't insult your fellow zoo mates - I saw you on the news escaping your exhibit - I know you're the shining star of the bunch, except for your spelling. Hana HOU!

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