The Unimpressive Lingle Years
Wednesday - December 01, 2010
Goodbye, Linda Lingle, and, as they say, don’t let the door hit you in the okole on the way out!
Yes, I think those of us not on her cabinet payroll can fairly say these have been eight of the least productive years in our statehood history. Nothing to shout about, or for historians to write about. If you made a TV show about them, it would have to be called Lost.
Lingle’s legacy is school furloughs, the bungled Superferry and her failure to sign off on rail transit to get those dollars to work right now.
She’s guaranteed last-placing as a post-statehood governor, less effective - and certainly less adored - than our first elected leader, Bill Quinn. At least he could belt out Irish songs.
Lingle’s faithful - Lenny Klompus and Linda Smith - say she got a bad break because she was thwarted by a Democratic Legislature. But a politically sharp leader on the outs with the legislative majority learns to use the office as a bully pulpit to move the populace to pressure its lawmakers.
Lingle put herself on the wrong side of history by vetoing civil unions. Only the most religiously blinded don’t see that the planet is moving swiftly toward not only civil unions but also same-gender marriages.
Lingle came into office in a moderate-to-left frame of mind. A pro-choice, get-along voice in a local party without many of those. One of her early advisers was the good-thinking law professor Randy Roth. But Roth unhappily pulled out and that left Linda Smith solo-infecting Lingle’s thinking. Klompus was the photo-op-in-Baghdad promoter.
Lingle campaigned for George W. Bush when even many Republicans were deserting his war and his economics.
She campaigned for the &uber-ditz Sarah Palin. If Lingle runs in 2012, I can foresee the Democratic Party ads: “And now she wants to be our senator? Give me a break!”
Is her legacy in court appointments? She put a Democrat on the state Supreme Court and was boxed into appointing the moderate Mark Rechtenwald (of course moderate, he used to be a journalist!) as Chief Justice. Now incoming Gov. Neil Abercrombie will appoint a no-doubt-liberal associate justice. So Lingle’s legacy will be ensuring a liberal high court.
Those pay-for-play indictments and convictions New York state’s Andrew Cuomo has been getting ought to alert Hawaii voters that we need an independent, elected attorney general who’s never in a governor’s debt for his or her appointment.
If we’d had one, we’d probably have had indictments rather than just apologies and sidestepping during that deal-doing $8.7 million hydrogen contract award to H2 Energy in 2007.
If we had one, we’d not have lost AG Margery Bronster to the whim of state senators unhappy she was investigating Bishop Estate.
We need one.
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