The Clinton-Obama Distraction

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - April 30, 2008

Will it ever end?

What began as a spirited, sometimes even uplifting contest for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination has deteriorated into a scandalously expensive, excruciatingly long mud fest in which Hillary Clinton - presumptive nominee a year ago - and Barack Obama - the young Prince of Change - both stagger forward much besmirched.

The major characters in this seemingly endless drama include “Gotcha!” journalists, a slew of mysterious super-delegates, a brave former presidential wife dodging sniper fire on hostile foreign soil and a super-cool hoopster-cum-sociologist analyzing small-town America’s love for guns and Jesus.

At this point the whole Hillary and Bill, Barack and Michelle drama has left me with a severe case of political pundit fatigue. I’m tired beyond tears at the parsing and spinning of their words, the predicting and analyzing, the interpreting and ... well, you know: Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, Pat Buchanan and Tim Russert, long-winded conservative, long-winded liberal, long-winded white, black, male, female - some local folks even ask long-winded old me.

I never thought I’d grow tired of the sound of my melodious, authoritative, oh-so-professorial voice, but I am. I really am. Barry and Hill have just worn me down.

And who, besides TV ad space salesmen, have profited from it all?

The Hawaii state Legislature, for one. Usually at this time of year our elected senators and representatives are the butt of jokes, objects of derision, disgust - general disapprobation. Columnists ding ‘em, morning radio talk jocks revile ‘em.

Theirs is a harried lot.

But not this session. This session our 76 legislators, majority Democrats and minority Republicans, labor in the shadows of hometown favorite Barack and feminist heroine Hillary.

And they can do whatever they like, regularly act supremely stupid and no one - no one - seems to notice.

Case in point No. 1: Rep. Tommy Waters killing tort reform. Attorney Waters reportedly took glee at deep-sixing a bill in committee that would have limited the jury awards in medical malpractice cases - this while doctors are fleeing the state, in part, at least, because of the excessive price they must pay for malpractice insurance.

Not smart, but - thanks to the Barry and Hill show - unnoticed.

Case in point No. 2: The Democratic legislative majorities move to strip Gov. Linda Lingle of her emergency powers. In attempting to do so, the Dems cited her use of those powers to build shelters for the homeless on the Waianae Coast.

Huh? Could you pick a politically dumber example of gubernatorial emergency powers run amok than building shelters for homeless people? Democrats, yet, take a play book from President George W. Bush, who used his first presidential veto to stop the spread of healthcare for kids.

Dumb, dumb, Democratic dumb. But thanks again to Barry and Hill - unnoticed.

Case in point No. 3: The strange disappearance of Gov. Lingle. Since her quixotic State-of-the-State proposal to buy the Turtle Bay resort, thus saving the North Shore from further development, the Guv has gone AWOL. She’s neither proposing new programs nor fighting Democratic legislators.

Am I the only one who’s noticed her disappearance? Has anyone seen her? Does she still reside in the Islands? Should we fetch the bloodhounds from the kennel?

A mystery - a mystery shrouded in the nightmare of the all-consuming, never-ending Barry and Hill show.

Will it never end?

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