The Two Stupidest Slogans Ever

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - April 06, 2011
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In this photo provided by the Governor’s office, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Big Island Mayor William Kanoi greet a cleanup worker in Kona on March 15. AP Photo/Governor’s Office, Edward T. Morita

Many of my opinion brethren were early to jump on Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and maybe they were right.

I’ve waited. I came to vote for him belatedly. My first instinct was that Mufi Hannemann had a better handle on local politics. But then came that campaign brochure that offended just about everyone. And I thought Neil might be a more exciting leader and better executive.

“New Day in Hawaii” isn’t working out, and it’s a horrible theme. Who dreamed up that one? We don’t have New Days when we’re out of money. We have New Days when we’re flush and want to set a new vision on education, transportation and jobs without killing the environment via development.

The “canoe we all paddle or huli” was the second most stupid of slogans I’ve heard from politicians. We’re not all in the same canoe. One of my about-in-bankruptcy friends reminds me that some of us are in really good canoes and some are capsizing.

I’ve known Neil a long time. He once wanted to go outside the Columbia Inn and duke it out with me because I questioned his House leadership hiring a broken-down journalist as spokesman. “Who the hell elected you?” he shouted in the crowded restaurant.


He’s grown and matured. I’d hoped he was better than A New Day in Hawaii.

I hoped he would say, “Here’s the straight stuff. Probably some excise tax increase, or a value-added tax. That’s the reality, folks. We can’t make it by the old candidate bull of prioritizing. Either we OK some new taxation or we dump social programs, and I ain’t gonna do the latter.”

The man’s been as great a disappointment to us of the moderate left as his good friend, the president of the United States. Both seem stuck in a seam of indecision.

Neil Abercrombie is very smart and so is Barack Obama. I sense that sometimes, in politics, smarts doesn’t cut it. Gov. Jack Burns wasn’t “smart” by anyone’s judgment and yet he was our most awesome leader. Linda Lingle had undeniable smarts. She stumbled and fell.

Abercrombie isn’t connecting. His communications team is too young and obsequious to tell him that. His cabinet appointments have been mediocre on the public radar.

I think we all expected much more from him on legislative leadership. I rate Gov. John Waihee’s terms much higher in public excitement. Ben Cayetano just ambled along until second term when he took on our public worker unions.


If Abercrombie claims bad vibes because of the money problems, I say, “Governor, that’s when a real leader steps forward and does more than declare a New Day. We ain’t got a New Day. We’ve got bad trouble. It’s gonna be a Crappy Old Day until we get this worked out and, frankly, I ain’t gotta clue yet how to work it out. I’m working on it.”

That’s what he should have said.

Politicians never say that. They think we’re clods who need pep talks and will vote for the New Day pep talker.

By the way, 74 percent of you now thinks George Washington lied to us, and 71 percent now thinks Abe Lincoln lied.

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