Mufi-Neil Feud Goes Way Back

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - August 25, 2010

Everybody said the run for governor was going to be a dirty race.

So why is there any surprise at the “Compare/Decide” mailer sent by Mufi Hannemann campaign targeting his opponent Neil Abercrombie?

It was all wags could talk about when Abercrombie resigned from Congress to seek the office envisioned by Hannemann to be his.

“Oh, bruddah, it’s gonna get naaaaasty!” “Eh, brah, 1986, dat’s da one!”

What happened in 1986? Allow me, if you will, to be as succinct as possible. Both Abercrombie and Hannemann wanted to be a congressman. Since both were Democrats, they had to get past the other guy to run against GOP’er Pat Saiki. During the runup to the primary, there were all kinds of below-the-belt punches being thrown. Someone even brought up pot smoking. Bottom line, Hannemann beat Abercrombie, and Abercrombie hasn’t liked it one bit ever since. So when Hannemann was running against Saiki, Abercrombie was nowhere to be found. The usual “kumbaya” moment never materialized, and Abercrombie left Hannemann hanging. Hannemann lost, and he hasn’t liked it one bit ever since.

Fast forward to today.

If you really look at the two, with the exception of civil unions, there really isn’t that much separating Hannemann and Abercrombie on the issues. Both are ardent supporters of unions. Both are ardent supporters of rail. Both are ardent supporters of increasing taxes. Both are ardent supporters of government programs. Both are ardent supporters of big government.

At the end of the day, folks, there ain’t that much difference.

Well, there are some differences. And when you need to distinguish yourself from your opponent when there aren’t that many distinguishing characteristics, then you gotta use whatcha got.

The “Compare/Decide” flier is all about differentiating Hannemann from Abercrombie - not based on the position of issues, but rather on heritage, geography and matrimony.

Hannemann asks you in this flier to “compare and decide.” What he’s really asking you to do is decide who is more “local” and then vote for the one who is more “local.” According to him, that would be him. I know we are all accustomed to candidates inferring that they are better than the other guy because they are born and raised here or belong to a certain ethnic group or can claim they are better friends with President Obama. But Hannemann went beyond that. He actually cited the names of their respective wives. Mrs. H has a more “local” name while Mrs. A has a more, well, more, OK, lemme just say it, “haole” name.

This is just one of the reasons why this flier is causing so many to wince. The other is obvious: You don’t bring another man’s wife into the campaign. It’s not relevant and it’s simply not cool. It’s perfectly fine for candidates to eviscerate each other, but leave the family alone.

You want the bottom line? I don’t care who was born where, what they look like, who they married or whether or not they can sing. I want the one who will lead this community with integrity, intelligence and responsibility. I want the one who will shun special interests and act in the best interest of the citizen. I want the one who will alleviate the financial burden on the individual and alleviate the suffocating governmental intrusion and regulation that debilitates private business. When all is said and done, I really just want the one who won’t try to “shibai” me.

Is that too much to ask?

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