A Guy The Dems Should Nominate

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - October 19, 2005

So the Democrats are trotting out Neil Abercrombie as the latest, greatest name to do battle against Linda Lingle for The Fifth Floor? Who are they going to pitch next? George Ariyoshi? John Waihee? Perhaps they will delve into the world of cloning and bring back Jack Burns. I have a theme song for you by The Eagles:

Desperado Why don’t you come to your senses…

I was sent an e-mail last week by a typical “blind faith” Democrat with the subject line, “Conservative Blowhard Smart Alec” (sic) - and almost fainted when I saw Alec. I had visions of a portly Alec Baldwin promising to leave America if Bush were elected President. Wait, didn’t he and others of his ilk make that promise and never follow through? Maybe he is living in England, because, last I heard, he was doing voiceovers for Thomas the Tank Engine videos. But I digress. My new best friend stated, “We’re taking back Washington Place from Ms. Lingle and her Bible-thumping dope. We have a number of far superior people to choose from. Lingle has FAILED.”

My new best friend sounds really peeved. Name calling and capital letters. Oh my.

Let’s be clear about this. We are well inside one year from the 2006 primary and there is no one who is prepared to launch a viable bid against Gov. Lingle. My new best friend says, “We have a number of far superior people to choose from.” Yes, there is a number. That number is 0.

Who are these legions of Democrats ready to take on this most formidable candidate? Well, they must be thinking of Brickwood Gauleteria, himself. As Chairman of the Hawaii Democrat Party, he would follow in the footsteps of Linda Lingle’s chairmanship into a candidacy. But understand this: Lingle had a verifiable, quantifiable and historical record as a councilmember and mayor. Her experience and credibility were rock solid. Her chairmanship of the Hawaii Republican Party only reinforced her resume.

Brickwood, on the other hand, won his party’s chair-manship due to his name recognition and media savvy. Wonderful qualifications to be the figurehead of an organization. But being CEO of a multi-billion dollar entity ... maybe not. If the Democrats were looking for experience and expertise, they would have elevated Jimmy Toyama, Hawaii County Chair. He is the consummate party man and widely acknowledged as an effective administrator. Brick, as much as I like him, wouldn’t stand a chance.

Other names bandied about: Former First Hawaiian leader Walter Dods, Gen. Eric Shinseki and even Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman are out. Former state senator Mike McCartney is probably in. Sen. Colleen Hanabusa is kinda in, but kinda out. Senate President Bobby Bunda is having enough trouble keeping his presidency and House Speaker Calvin Say, well, just ain’t got it. He is a capable legislator, but you need charisma to win a statewide race. I mean no disrespect, but it’s the truth. Remember Paul Tsongas? There you go.

But this latest from Neil Abercrombie and Brick is the best. What’s even more entertaining is the daily paper which seemingly was salivating to bring this breaking news to you. Brickwood said, and I paraphrase, that Abercrombie neither accepted nor rejected the idea (of running for governor). Some reporters are waiting for a leading democrat to burp so they can file a political report. This is a non-story.

Neil did serve on the city council. But that’s about it for local governance. He loves Washington. It is no secret he covets one of the two senate seats currently held by Sen. Dan and Sen. Dan. And why not? The prestige of the Senate and a six-year term instead of two is a nice gig, if you can get it. At 67, do you really see Neil giving up his revolving door congressional office for a bruising battle with a popular incumbent governor? If he were to run against Lingle and lose, he would be out. No office, no title, no salary. He is safe in the 1st District. He will stay there.

There is nothing for certain in politics. Could a dark horse, last minute and independently wealthy gubernatorial candidate emerge to challenge Lingle?

Maybe. Who that is, it’s anybody’s guess. But the only candidate the Democrats could run has already been a governor of a small state. He has already been President of the United States. He loves our golf courses and sandy beaches. Now if Brickwood makes an announcement that Bill Clinton was moving to Hawaii to make a run, that could interesting.

Until then, I hope Gov. Lingle had fun for four years because eight’s gonna be great.

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