Hawaii Out Of Step With The Nation

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 10, 2010

Reaction to the results of the 2010 elections has been swift and sure. Supporters of the Democratic Party of Hawaii have reason to gloat since our state is now the most monolithic in one-party representation in the nation. GOP supporters are left scratching their collective heads and assigned to ponder what went so wrong.

They would be well-served if they consider the influence of President Barack Obama.

The most contrasting element to the elections was just how far out of step Hawaii is with the rest of the country. Obama enjoys approval ratings in Hawaii that are about 20 percentage points higher than on the Mainland. Instead of proving to be a detriment to their campaigns, it’s reasonable to believe that his last-minute advertised endorsements of Neil Abercrombie and Colleen Hanabusa were successful, while his stamp of approval proved part of the death knell of others in the contiguous 48.

Why do the majority of voters love Obama? His politics? His accomplishments over the past two years? Yeah, there is some of that. But there are two overriding reasons why he still enjoys great popularity.

First he is our native son. He was born here, lived here, went to school here, had grandparents here and went on to make a name for himself. Locals love that, I would dare say more here than any other community. Why? Because let’s face it, Hawaii residents have a collective inferiority complex when it comes to other states and big cities. I don’t mean to offend anybody, but it’s true. We are the most isolated, one of the least populous, we’re not taken seriously since we’re viewed as a playground first, we’re the last to vote, we don’t get the pizza specials other states get, and we’re 50 out of 50.

So when we make a splash, it’s a very big deal. And I understand that. I’m proud when we excel and capture the top spot. Think how much it means to us to be first in robotics and Little League baseball. It’s fantastic. Multiply about 50 times more when we can say the president of the United States is from Hawaii. It’s the same feeling a grandmother gets when showing off pictures of her grand-kids. Who doesn’t like that?

Second, local voters love Obama because he represents the notion that the key to life is government. His supporters truly believe that government should be responsible for taking care of you. Got a financial problem? Let government give you money. Got an education problem? Let government solve it for you. Got trouble getting a mortgage? Let the government secure it for you. Don’t have a job? Let government create one for you. This is the philosophy that so many subscribe to. Now that you have a president who was born in Hawaii, believes government is the answer and promises to take care of you, of course he is going to be wildly popular.

That’s why Hawaii loves Obama. Hawaii will always be a state searching for its identity. Until we are able to get past the epidermal affectations for our elected officials and delve into the details of policies and performance, our elections will not be the selection of those who are working for the best interest of all citizens, but rather a popularity contest much like a high school student campaign.

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