Political Radar

`You are my strength'

August 28th, 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, in a heartfelt address on Thursday evening at his Kakaako campaign headquarters, told his supporters that they have provided the strength to sustain him over five decades in politics.

Former Gov. John Waihee introduced Abercrombie as the titular head of the Democratic Party of Hawaii and said that the governor's leadership would be necessary for Democrats such as state Sen. David Ige and state Rep. K. Mark Takai to win in the November general election.

Ige, who trounced Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, is up against former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, a Republican, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, a Hawaii Independent Party candidate, in November.

Takai is facing former congressman Charles Djou, a Republican, in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District.

Abercrombie did not mention Ige in his 20-minute remarks. Instead, he urged supporters to pass a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would allow public money to be spent on private preschool. The amendment is a key component of Abercrombie's plan to eventually offer preschool options to all of the state's 4-year-olds.

The governor traced his time in the islands since he first arrived from Buffalo, N.Y., in 1959 -- the year of statehood -- and celebrated an aloha spirit that embraces diversity. Mostly, though, the governor expressed his gratitude to supporters who have stood by him over the course of his political life.

"I cannot conceive of my life without you," he said. "Your faith and trust, your support and encouragement, has sustained me and lifted me up."

Abercrombie recalled previously telling supporters during one point in his campaign: "You are my strength. And I mean that and I say that from the depths of my soul. You are my strength."

The governor did not discuss any future plans after he leaves office in December. "My pledge to you tonight is that I'm going to keep on with that sense of purpose and that sense of direction that has been the guiding light for me for these past five decades," he said. "That every opportunity that I have to be able to honor the strength of that faith and trust every opportunity I have, tonight and whatever nights are given to me -- whatever days and nights are given to me in the future -- you can count on me.

"You can count on me because of the love that I feel in this room, that we have for each other, and that we have for Hawaii.

"I mua Hawaii."

9 Responses to “`You are my strength'”

  1. Chicken Grease:

    OK, gov'nor, THE END alreadies. Dunno if anyone who lost by so many votes has this much to say. Cripes, he making the cinematic The Lord of the Rings multi-ending look like The Sopranos.

    He's done a lot. Good for the people of Hawaii. Great pension, probably, too. He shouldn't be too eager to help this party. They apparently knew more than this statesman. Time for him sit back and when THEY come to HIM, he can afford to say, "well. What's in it for me?". Heck. Maybe that is exactly what's going on. You GO, Aber'!

    Sidenote: WHOA, Political Radar! About 4-5 new entries all at one time? How the heck the chim . . . oh, er, um never mind. Lost the thought ("seems" to have . . . um . . . er . . . that is . . . uh . . . escaped? Yeah. That's the word 😉 ).

  2. innocent observer:

    what no mention of actively supporting Ige? what happened to election night promise to support Ige - again, like always, only hot air, no real substance to his proclamation. once a dud always a dud.

  3. Chicken Grease:

    innocent observer:
    August 28th, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    what no mention of actively supporting Ige? what happened to election night promise to support Ige - again, like always, only hot air, no real substance to his proclamation. once a dud always a dud.

    Why???? Abercrombie said twice already -- once on election night in his concession speech and the next morning (holding Ige's hand 'fore going onstage, even, ooooooh!) at the Democrat unity breakfast. Aber' doesn't have to mention Bat-Ige every single time Neil makes a speech (which, let's hope, is pau alreadies).

    The other night -- loquacious as Aber' was -- was duly all about Abercrombie. So that he could thank HIS supporters. Who the hell needed to hear about Ige at Abercrombie [admittedly ex-] campaign HQ????. Especially when you can ask "WHERE's Ige" (heh, similar to Cedric the Entertainer's "WHERE's Diamond joke) nowadays anyway? Aiona's visible. Mufi's visible.

    Cripes, i.o., your comment reminds me of emcees at a wedding (all of whom are just abysmal) who insist on going down a list of dead relatives and friends (longest was -- a Grease kids you not; and most of these weddings a Grease was the +1 -- 15 minutes! Started timing after 5 mins) who, obviously, aren't in attendance. Supposed to be a happy event, not dawn of the dead!

    "No mention of Ige." Give me a break!

  4. Bart Dame:

    The Governor was gracious in defeat. On election night, he not only endorsed Ige, he led a group of his supporters over to Ige's headquarters to show his support and commitment to help Ige win in November. The next morning, at the Unity Breakfast, he was cheerful and joking and again encouraged all his supporters to get behind Ige's campaign. A week later, at a gathering of his campaign workers at his headquarters, the Governor told them he understood it was hard for some of them to shift gears and embrace Ige, his former opponent. But he asked them to follow his example, reminding them while he and Ige disagreed on some things, they shared a lot of the same values, Democratic values. And it was important that Ige get their support for the General Election.

    In math, if you have three points, you can plot a curve. Here are those three points of Abercrombie actively supporting Ige. Yet, when the Governor was chatting with reporters the other day about his defeat, he blamed his defeat upon his decision to call a special session for the marriage equality bill and suggested Ige only won because of social conservative and Republican crossover voting. And that Ige would be a weaker candidate, than himself, against Aiona.

    WHile it is possible for the Governor to believe he would be a better candidate and that that Ige deserves support against Mufi and Aiona, the emotional underpinnings are in conflict. If not the Governor himself, then his supporters have to understand the Governor's extreme drop in popularity which led to his defeat cannot--and should not--be explained as coming from his support for civil rights, but from a longer list of unpopular decisions, statements and actions.

    And while I have no doubt there was significant Republican and Christian fundamentalist crossover--a theory which it would be great to to find a way to test--the frustrations with the Governor had alienated a lot of people who had previously supported him, including a helluva lot of genuine Democrats. The margin of Ige's victory was so great that even if all the Republican and Religious Right voters had stayed on their side of the fence, Ige probably would have won, though with a smaller margin.

    So Ige is the stronger candidate against Aiona and Mufi. But he needs the support of the Democrats who voted for Neil. And the Governor should "mensch up," stop moaning and get back on track with his support of Ige. Recognizing the Ige campaign must maintain enough independence that it is still seen as an alternative to the past four years of Abercrombie. That may be uncomfortable for the Governor, who might prefer the comfort of his illusions. But it is important that voters, including those who voted for Neil, remain clearheaded on this.

    And why does the Governor want to inflate the myth that the Christian Right has the power to smite those who stand up to their reactionary social agenda? Not only is it false, it empowers the Religious Right and reinforces the natural timidity of most Democratic professional politicians, who are already afraid of theri own shadow in most election year legislative sessions.

  5. Chicken Grease:

    Bart Dame:
    August 30th, 2014 at 9:09 am

    . . . And why does the Governor want to inflate the myth that the Christian Right has the power to smite those who stand up to their reactionary social agenda? Not only is it false, it empowers the Religious Right and reinforces the natural timidity of most Democratic professional politicians, who are already afraid of theri own shadow in most election year legislative sessions.

    The Aber' has admitted himself -- in a news story just published today by the Star-Advertiser -- that his calling of the special session and he outright signing gay marriage into law had to do with his defeat. Correct. A Grease said that JUST THIS -- even, while, yes, thinking he should get a 2nd term --- would make voters REMEMBER. And they did.

    You think it was only the likes of nurses he told "I am not your friend" that gave Ige the landslide/vote AGAINST Abercrombie? Hogwash. When you lose by that much, you're either woefully unprepared, a la Hawaii vs. Georgia in the Sugar Bowl (and why the hell are some you STILL wearing "Hawaii vs. Georgia Sugar Bowl" shirts around town? You aren't third world children!) and Notre Dame vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, or a collective thought is binded in the minds of those who have the power to re-elect you. And in THIS primary, voters punished the one who could've denied signing that bill into law.

    Best believe -- the results would've been more on the side of Hanabusa/Schatz numbers if he didn't show so much support for this accursed law.

    And YOU know it; or at least now you do.

  6. Bart Dame:

    Chicken Grease, You say Abercrombie "admitted" that it was his call for a special session which led to his defeat. That is what I am disputing. It was not so much an "admission" as a self-justification, an excuse. He is trying to deal with his overwhelming defeat by attributing it to a noble deed, trying to write into the historical record the spin that he is a martyr for civil rights.

    That is poppycock. It may make him feel better, but it is nonsense. There is no evidence to support his claim that there was a massive crossover of Republicans or social conservative voters. There were 240,120 votes cast in the Democratic primary in 2010. There were 237,915 votes cast in the 2014 Democratic primary. That does not prove there was not substantial Republican crossover this year. But if there was, there was a similar crossover in 2010, when Abercrombie defeated Hannemann by a large margin.

    So what is the explanation? That Republican crossover voters helped Ige defeat Neil this year, but also helped him defeat Hannemann in 2010? As Spock might say, "Does not compute."

    My conclusion is that the Hawaii Family Advocates effort to register the congregants of the various fundamentalist churches was not very successful. They appear to be, except in a small number of districts, a "paper tiger."

    Abercrombie got 142,304 votes in 2010. This year, he got only 73,507 votes, a loss of almost 69,000 votes. That cannot be explained as social conservatives voting for the pro-civil unions Abercrombie in 2010, but abandoning him in 2014 because, surprise, he supported marriage equality.

    Donna Kim also blames her loss to Mark Takai because of Republican crossover voters. Takai voted for marriage equality, while Kim opposed it. I admire explanations which are so flexible that they can be twisted into knots without straining the brain of the author. But to claim opponents of gay rights voted AGAINST the gay-friendly candidate in the Governor's race and FOR the gay-friendly candidate in the House race, requires a leap of faith. You do not seem to have found the variable capable of explaining the results.

    But I see you have emotional reasons for embracing that explanation, just as Neil has his emotional reasons for portraying himself as a martyr to the liberal cause. Defeated because he was so principled. Not because so many of his earlier supporters felt he had abandoned his principles, and their interests, on a long list of issues.

  7. Chicken Grease:

    Bart Dame. A Grease sees your argument. Honestly.

    Overall, though, a Grease sees that you conveniently left out the similar landslide when Hawaii voters (yes, in the heavily Democrat, gays-have-always-felt-safe here islands stronghold) voted AGAINST gay marriage in a ballot measure -- yes, ANOTHER result that did not match Hanabusa/Schatz comparisons, looking more like -- is this why you left out the against gay marriage vote #s -- more like Ige vs. Abercrombie #s.

    So, he gives a fake excuse. Everyone sees through it.

    Let's just be honest about it. When you get down to it, the X Generation to middle age to senior couple DOES NOT want a man and man or woman and woman living next door to them. The former will tell the same-sex couple, "oh, I'm SOOOOO happy for you." But we have a thing called "hooma le ma le" or is it "u ma le ma le" here in Hawaii, and that's all supposedly supporting straight couples are doing to same sex couples. And straight voters (whether Republican or Democrat, whether they crossed over on their ballot or not) in this town punished Aber' for it. Just because he's saving face or "martyring" himself doesn't mean the real reason for his defeat isn't true.

    People think about their kids and family when they get into that ballot box. The voters spoke -- they didn't WANT gay marriage and should've ended there. But, no, what happened. Finite members of a court (who do NOT have constituents) decided. Then our brilliant, spineless Legislators caved in. And Aber', signing into law -- his political death knoll started there. YOU KNOW it started there.

    You think most families in Hawaii appreciate their kin arriving to a family party holding hands with the same sex? No. That's teased and eyebrows are raised, no matter how much preparation is accorded.$

    This goes to the heart of the matter. Low gay population means that lifestyle simply isn't accepted by the majority. Get P.C. out of your thinking and you'll see reality once again.

    Conservative values are coming back. Gonna have to learn to deal with it. When you get beyond teasing the Tea Party, you'll realize how closer they are to Americans' (yes, including Hawaii folk; don't give me this "illegal overthrow BS") classic values.

  8. Chicken Grease:

    One more thing, one more thing, one more thing (a Grease don't mean to hijack, but, it's not like a lot of youse are saying as much as I, Bart Dame, etc.)

    Bart Dame:
    August 30th, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    But to claim opponents of gay rights voted AGAINST the gay-friendly candidate in the Governor's race and FOR the gay-friendly candidate in the House race, requires a leap of faith.

    It's all about faith, sir. We put our faith in our elected officials to represent us. They don't when they OK gay marriage (don't think the Aber's the last. Top down and all). We have faith, spiritually, many of us, which is why most of us understand (correctly so) marriage as defined as between a man and a woman.

    If gays think they're SO part of society. Represent a HUGE majority. Then, make their own version of marriage. Don't hijack the original legal, correct, Jesus-approved (his first miracle was for a man and woman marriage; this is fact) reserved for straight people.

    You want a better explanation for Abercrombie's loss? God's will. Don't underestimate it.

  9. Kate Stanley:

    Governor Abercrombie leaves a record of success: fiscal stability, facing the unfounded liability, OHA settlement, transition to an elected school board,Turtle Bay,minimum wage increase,and the beginning commitment to early education. Democrats need to support the whole ticket: Schatz,Takai, and Ige/ Tsutsui so that Hawaii and the nation continues to foster opportunity and fairness.

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