Is Moral Outrage Enough For GOP?

Larry Price
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Wednesday - July 28, 2010
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A lot of optimism is out there on the political battlefield. Hawaii’s outnumbered Republicans are looking to make a comeback this election year, with GOP fielding candidates in all but three of 64 legislative seats up for grabs in November, and they hope to draw on voter discontent to make their first gains at the states Capitol since Gov. Linda Lingle was elected eight years ago.

It is not going to be easy. Democrats have run both the House and Senate since 1965, and they currently control nearly 90 percent of the legislature. It is true that Charles Djou’s victory for a Congressional seat was inspirational to other would-be candidates, but he faces another tough test against the state Senate president Colleen Hanabusa in November to hang on to his place in Washington.

If there is a bright spot in the recent candidate filings, it’s that three Republican office holders will be going unchallenged in the upcoming primary and general election. Reps. Gene Ward, Barbara Marumoto and Cynthia Thielan have a free ride. I can’t remember when the Democrats have let a Republican incumbent go unchallenged in an important election.

I personally think it’s a little comical that Republicans are counting on something so dubious as “voter discontent” to make a comeback. Yes, it’s true that the spend-crazy Democrats in Congress have run up a huge budget deficit. It’s also true that the City & County of Honolulu has run up a couple of huge legal bills fighting the EPA over how our sewage is treated. And, yes, the cost of the rail transit project is going to take a lot of tax dollars - federal, state and local - to become reality. Also true: No matter where the tax dollars come from, its taxpayer money. It doesn’t matter which government agency is taking the money, it comes from our pockets.

A good question is, “What is the unifying agent that holds the Republican Party together?” If the answer is fiscal irresponsibility in D.C., they need something a little more concrete to pull off any upsets.

One other thing they will need is a sense of humor. Some of the hocus-pocus the Democrats got away with in the last legislative session was remarkable. Still, it’s not enough to produce any moral outrage.

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