All Hawaii GOP Lacks Is A Leader

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - January 26, 2011

The political future of Hawaii is before us, and it’s bluer than blue. For the first time in a long time, there does not appear to be a viable alternative to the crushingly uni-lateral control that Democrats have at virtually all levels of government.

Now, please do not misconstrue these opening words as complaining, bellyaching or sour grapes. I have tremendous respect for our representative democracy and for the profound responsibility we have to participate, especially at the ballot box.

I am being realistic, and this realism dictates the accurate assessment that Hawaii is purely controlled by the Democrats and their friends. It also leads me to believe this condition will remain for a very long time unless the GOP capitalizes on its past to forge its future.

The election of Gov. Linda Lingle had always been looked upon as the resurgence and affirmation of the Republican Party as a major player in Hawaii politics. But, if you take a look at the conditions that brought Lingle to power, there were some unique things going on. There was the questionable popularity of Gov. Ben Cayetano and his associates, there were years of very difficult economic times, there was a teacher strike, fairly weak candidates in 2002 and 2006 and an actual desire to see a political change by the people. Add to the mix a compelling, articulate and non-traditional GOPer in Lingle and you can understand why she won. Twice.

It’s this historical record that shines a glimmer of hope on local Republicans for a resurgence, sooner than later.

You can’t simply run the Lingle playbook and expect victory. Afew things have to align in the political firmament. Yes, we have a tough economy, but that’s not the only ingredient for success. If that were the case, Duke Aiona would be governor. I know that eyes glaze over when you talk about issues like state GDP, bond ratings and ERS solvency, but these are real issues. The GOP must take complicated issues such as these and translate them into workable language and then provide solutions people will understand. There must be a message that not only says things are broken, but how you’re going to fix them. That’s what Lingle did with her “New Beginning.” And while she fell short on some issues, she was still embraced by the electorate.

The current situation with our economy, infrastructure, education and budget are not that dissimilar to the late ‘90s. Today, we have a governor with even more inclination than others to authorize spending with little regard to revenue. Gov. Abercrombie has already given that indication with promises to make whole social service organizations and to bring inmates home from the Mainland. There is a proclivity for a Democratic

Legislature to authorize taxand-spend policies despite budget challenges. So, if the Democrats manage to make our collective situation worse, then history dictates that people will reject liberal principles and elect the GOP.

But not so fast.

The essential element to this all is the person. The candidate. The leader. Who is the one person who will be the standard-bearer for the GOP? Who will be the one to ably represent the ideals not only of the party, but the hopes and aspirations of those desiring an alternative? What is glaringly lacking in today’s GOP is that leader whom people will follow into this inevitable battle of ideas and solutions.

The GOP needs a leader who will inspire people to remain faithful because there is a mission that affects all men, women and children in our state. Who will be the person to lead, not because they say they’re a leader, but because people will become drawn to him/her without

really knowing why? Is there such a person in the ranks of the GOP?

If there is, then it’s high time for you, sir or madam, to make yourself known. People are waiting. History is calling.

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