Primary Missteps And Memories

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - September 22, 2010

Let’s dip our toes into the stream of consciousness ...

The best thing about the end of the political primary season is the cessation of the omnipresent candidate commercials on TV, radio and print. I realize it’s a necessary evil, but after awhile you just want to scream. Do political commercials determine your vote? I mean, just how effective and persuasive are these messages? I’d be interested to know if a particular commercial swayed you.

The perennial election-year controversy centers on sign-waving. This year is no exception. Does sign-waving really influence your vote? I can’t imagine you are driving down the Pali, see a candidate sign-waving and then say “That’s my guy/gal!” I do appreciate the unique tradition of sign-waving. I am not on the bandwagon with those who decry the exercise as a safety hazard and that it’s a blight on our landscape. But perhaps there is cause and effect to sign-waving and getting out the vote.

Also, I would encourage all broadcast media outlets to adopt an “open mic” format supplanting the traditional “podium” debate. On KHVH, we invited the mayoral candidates to appear (Kirk Caldwell declined) and we had stimulating discussion among panelists and politicians. The questions were penetrating and the KHVH audience truly learned something new about each candidate.

The staid “podium” format is not a real debate, but rather a moderated slew of sound bites and puffery. C’mon, media, let’s shake things up and make political presentations more compelling and informative.

Did you catch the uninvited entry of a “mayoral” candidate on the set of the Hawaii News Now debate last week? She just waltzed right onto the stage. A startled yet composed Keahi Tucker gracefully segued out of the disruption.

But how does an interloper get that much access to the set? I don’t want to be alarmist, but if someone was hell-bent on something more nefarious, it could have been a different situation.

OK, now that the primaries are over, what memories stick out for you? The most influential to me are twofold: Mufi Hannemann’s “compare and contrast” flier and his “I look like you ...” comment to the Carpenters Union. I don’t know as of this writing if Hannemann won or lost, but if he did fall short, this combination of inappropriate messages could be responsible. It’s already an indelible part of local campaign folklore.

In all fairness, the Abercrombie spot that identifies Hannemann as wearing a power suit and then says that Abercrombie wears his heart on his sleeve, etc. was weak. Abercrombie should ask for a refund from whoever thought up that one.

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