Mostly Cons Regarding ConCon2
Wednesday - June 04, 2008
I’ve been ambivalent about a Hawaii Constitutional Convention. I know many people feel we should periodically revisit the document. I was just at the point of saying, “Well, if you feel we must ...”
Then former Congressman Ed Case checked in with an article on why he thinks many hot-button issues should stand for a review. That definitely tipped me off the fence. Why spend at least $7 million tinkering with something we tinkered with in 1978 and have amended 37 times since?
My main objection is this: A constitution is a broad statement of a society’s expectations from its governing bodies. It sets out principles, not day-to-day rules and regulations. Legislative bodies handle the nitty-gritty and courts decide if that’s been done properly.
Our Constitution sets out our rights, the basic structure of our government, the power to tax and spend, the powers of the state vs. the counties, elections and broad social issues such as privacy and a template for our civil and criminal statutes.
You don’t muck around with all sorts of tax issues, schools policy, health care, budgeting and even the handling of ag lands. Case is suggesting we quibble with that good document to include urban sprawl and over-development, guarantees of minimal housing for everyone, energy conservation, function and organization of departments and whether we’re adequately protecting our minorities from discrimination.
Case is playing to a populism that adores statewide initiative, referendum and recall - those who want to elect judges, fix criminal sentences and always pay lower taxes, the chronically unhappy, libertarians and those who want a vote before a school does anything more substantive than changing the brand of toilet paper in the bathrooms.
I don’t agree with that Democratic Party resolution that said ConCon might imperil current rights of equality, personal privacy, the environment, collective bargaining for labor unions and Hawaiian cultural practices. That’s fear-mongering by the Hawaii Government Employees Association, which wants to protect its cushy right of arbitration.
Incidentally, the Democrats not endorsing ConCon drive another wedge between the party and Case, who has previously said he’s only interested in running for the U.S. Senate, but now says he might be interested in governor or even the U.S. House. Did Mazie Hirono’s ears just go up?
It’s been a hoot watching Hawaii Republicans publicly beat each other over the head with clubs.
We’ve heard from Ron Paul Republicans who feel aced out. U.S. Rep. Paul is the Eight Belles of the presidential horse race, except that somebody forgot to euthanize him. His supporters keep expecting him to get up and stumble to the finish line.
We’ve heard from the Michael Palcic Reformist Republicans. I sort of sympathize with them, except that they put Linda Lingle in power and now they claim to discover that she’s not a tax-cutting, small-government, back-to-basic-values GOPer.
So they’re all going nuts (with some party regulars calling the irregulars “gnats”) in public because they know the local party is going to be smothered by the Democratic blitz coming in November. And their leading light for governor in 2010 is Duke Aiona - the Randy Iwase of the GOP.
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