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Hanabusa: Blinded by Ambition

3:02 pm in Uncategorized by paiagirl

Rep Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) has chosen to primary Sen. Brian Schatz(D-HI) which creates real problems for the Democrats’ plan to take back the house.

Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI)

Hanabusa, a conservative member of the Blue Dog successor caucus, New Democrat Coalition [sic], was previously endorsed by unions,, Sierra Club.  What she appears unable to comprehend is that her endorsements were a result of these organizations choosing the least bad of a mediocre lot and definitely not wanting Teapartier Charles Djou (R) to win.

Along with the late Sen Daniel Inouye hand-picking her as his anointed successor, this has emboldened her with a false sense of confidence.  Down with Tyranny discusses this at length in an article entitled Hanabusa at a Crossroads– Will It Lead Back to Congress?

The article talks about Hanabusa’s weak campaign which, other than the beyond-the-grave Inouye connection, has not been able to garner support among the big players in Hawai’i.

The article says:

Speculation continues as to why, beyond personal ambition and an apparent sense of personal destiny, Hanabusa chose to force a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Does Hanabusa feel “entitled” to the seat, given her association with the late Senator Dan Inouye? Does she simply resent not being chosen to replace Senator Inouye when his Senate seat opened up last December? Is this a grudge match?

Most political watchers (including myself) would agree that this is the reasoning.  Other than a burning desire to please her military contractor donors and continue FISA spying on Americans, Hanabusa really doesn’t have any deeply held causes.  Ambition seems to be what drives her.

Down with Tyranny goes on to say:

Hanabusa’s Senate campaign is not exactly off to the whiz-bang start she likely assumed it would be. Nearly every one of the 24 unions and progressive groups endorsing Schatz for U.S. Senate had previously endorsed Hanabusa for Congress.

The largest player in the environmental area, The Sierra Club, has yet to endorse in this race.  (Their process is exceedingly slow due to multiple layers of Club sign-offs required for each decision and the fact that volunteers need to be rounded up for meetings in order to actually do the signing off)  If Sierra Club endorses Schatz it is Game Over for Hanabusa.  No politician who is supported by both the Sierra Club and labor ever loses in Hawaii.

The Sierra Club endorsement, however, is not much in doubt given that Sen Schatz has made ameliorating Climate Change his main cause.  Sierra Club has just launched the “Beyond Coal” campaign.  Hanabusa voted with the GOP to exempt coal-fired boilers from increased EPA standards and actually brags about it on her site!  Not the best of moves for someone who’s fate depends on getting the Sierra Club endorsement.

Down with Tyranny goes on to speculate that Hanabusa will see the writing on the wall and drop out of the Senate race.

Meanwhile, it’s very telling that no discernible field of would-be congressional candidates has truly begun taking shape in CD-01. Given how rare an open seat in Hawaii’s small congressional delegation tends to be, you’d expect candidates from both parties to be leaping into the Hanabusa void….

…This could be the surest sign that growing talk of Hanabusa abandoning her Senate bid, and seeking re-election to Congress instead, is more than just murmurs on the coconut wireless.

This is where I differ with them.  Hanabusa has been repeatedly told by the organizations who endorsed her last race and have now switched to endorsing Sen Schatz, “Go back and run for the House seat and we’ll endorse you.”  She was told that before she announced. She was told that when she interviewed after she announced.  But she is a stubborn woman bent on getting the position she feels was supposed to be hers and she refuses to face reality.

Here’s the danger that Down with Tyranny warns about:

Moreover and more importantly, Hanabusa’s decision to run for Senate has serious consequences for Hawaii: By forsaking her hard-won seat in Congress, Hanabusa has opened the door for a Republican to steal her seat (anyone remember GOPer Charles Djou’s 8-month stint as congressman?). Word is, leaders at the DCCC in Washington have Hanabusa’s now-open CD-1 seat on their “watch” list– as if they don’t have enough to worry about as Democrats try to win back control of the House. And Hanabusa’s decision to willfully vacate Congress means Hawai’i loses her post as a member of the powerful House Armed Services Committee. Not sure what else needs to be said about that, given the primacy of military operations and construction to Hawaii’s economy.

Absolutely right on.  With a lackluster field of potential candidates for Hanabusa’s house seat and nobody actually declaring, this seat is up for grabs.  In fact, if Hanabusa wants to remain in Congress, she better jump back to her House seat soon.  Word is that various big organizations are even now getting ready to recruit and endorse in that race in order to head off Djou or another Republican.  If Hanabusa waits too long, her political career is pau*.

*pau – Hawaiian word meaning ended, over, done.


“Democrat In Name Only” Challenges Progressive Senator Brian Schatz

8:39 pm in Uncategorized by paiagirl

Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI)

In the ongoing squabble over former Hawai’i Senator Inouye’s seat, DINO (Democrat In Name Only) Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) continues to maintain her sense of entitlement and has announced she will primary Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Backroom deals anointed her Sen Inouye’s successor but the Hawai’i governor (himself a progressive) said, “Not so fast” and chose Brian Schatz instead.

Senator Brian Schatz got off to a impressive start, capturing the chairmanships of Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet and Subcommittee on Water And Power.

His votes have been everything his progressive supporters wanted: no on reauthorization of FISA, no on CISPA, no cuts to Social Security, and yes on allowing states to require GMO labeling.  He’s made CO2 and climate change a top priority and speaks out fearlessly on the topic.

So in Hawai’i where Democrats rule (and almost every politician joins the Democratic party, regardless of whether they support party principles) what choice does Hanabusa offer the voters?

Turns out it is a big choice!

First off: while Senator Schatz is a member of the Progressive Caucus, Colleen Hanabusa has eschewed her 2010 supporters and joined the New Democrat Coalition. You’ll get a clue as to their positions since they, like the GOP, have dropped the “ic” at the end of “Democratic.”

Hanabusa garnered support from progressive organizations such as with her promise not to join the Blue Dogs (she was running against Teapartier Djou and Blue Dog, Ed Case). Little did these backers realize that a new caucus had supplanted the Blue Dogs.

As soon as she was elected, Hanabusa ditched her progressive backers and joined the new Blue Dogs — the New Democratic Coalition (NDC).

What is Colleen Hanabusa’s New Democrat Coalition all about?

  • They support Cyber Intelligence Sharing Act (CISPA) criticized by civil liberty advocates on both the right and left. President Obama said he’d veto it. Thankfully the Senate (with Sen Shatz’s help) killed the GOP’s CISPA. Supporters of CISPA include large corporations, AT&T, Chamber of Commerce, and Microsoft.  Opponents range from the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation all the way through Americans for Limited Government and the American Conservative Union. Hanabusa voted in favor. Schatz voted no.
  • We need to lower the marginal corporate tax rates” according to the NDC.
  • Everything is on the table” — presumably cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are included in “everything.” They also proudly tout themselves as the “key to bridging the gap between Republicans and Democrats.” Does that make them a semi-Republican, semi-Democratic middle group? As we’ve said earlier in this post, “DINOs”.
  • Creating an Efficient and Pro-Growth Regulatory Environmentby eliminating overly burdensome regulations.
  • Support for No Child Left Behind. The new Elementary and Secondary Education Act must reform No Child Left Behind where necessary but not weaken its commitment to accountability at all levels.
  • Support the Trans Pacific Partnership  which critics have called “the wish list of the 1%.”
  • Support of Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The labor movement in both South Korea and America adamantly opposed the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (sometimes called KORUS), including the ILWU.  But despite the Democratic Parties plank supporting labor, Rep Hanabusa, siding with her pro-Wall Street colleagues in the New Democrat Coalition and the Republican Party, voted for it. Oops, there goes one of your most influential backers, Rep Hanabusa.
  • Opposing the fix to Big Pharma paying lower rebates through a loophole. Sen Schatz is a sponsor of the bill which would eliminate this loophole and save Medicare money. Rep Hanabusa sided with the drug companies and opposed it.

At the bottom of Down with Tyranny’s page, there’s a video mocking the House Committee on Financial Services’ efforts to water down financial reform. It calls out some New Democrat Coalition members for their support of Wall Street.

NDC members of this committee include Carolyn McCarthy, David Scott, Ed Perlmutter, John Carney, Terri Sewell, Bill Foster, Patrick Murphy, John Delaney, Kyrsten Sinema, and Denny Heck.

No mystery about why Dodd-Frank is being dismantled given all these NDC members on the Financial Committee. And these are just the so-called Democrats!

Why does Hanabusa, representing one of the most liberal states in the union, belong to this corporatist group? Has anyone ever asked her to explain?

Read the rest of this entry →

Oahu Politics Manipulating Maui’s Central District

6:16 pm in Uncategorized by paiagirl

Maui Beach (photo: sunsplash, flickr)

Maui Beach (photo: sunsplash, flickr)

For the past four Hawai’i legislative sessions there has been a rebellion against the good’ol boy, ethically challenged Calvin Say faction by a group fed up with Rep. Say’s leadership.  An example of Say’s, shall we say, loose interpretation of ethics rules was the situation with supporter Rep Joe Souki.

Souki took a paid job as a lobbyist for the chemical corporations who wanted to kill the proposed ban on plastic bags – while he was serving in the Legislature! Souki asked Speaker Say whether he could be a lobbyist for these corporations and not only vote on the measure  but also speak against it on the floor.  Say’s response?  “Oh sure.  That’s no ethical conflict

Now you may be saying to yourself, “This sounds like typical GOP behavior.”  You’d be right but you’d be wrong about the party to which they belong.  Yep, these guys are masquerading as Democrats.  That’s because Hawai’i is so thoroughly Democratic that one cannot usually be elected as a Republican and if some miracle occurs and one is elected, one is completely shut out of any power or ability to influence legislative actions. Thus many Democrats are really Republicans who’ll join any party in order to get into power.

In 2008 the struggle between the Say supporters and those fed up with the corruption came to a head with both sides evenly matched.  Only one vote was needed to topple Say and his group.  Say’s new target was dismantling Hawaii’s environmental laws at the behest of the corporations financing their campaigns.  This did not go down well with half the House.

Enter little Central Maui House district.  Long-time House member, Rep Bob Nakasone, owner of the Ameritone Paint franchise in Kahului, was suffering from lung cancer.  Say prevailed upon him to run for one more term, knowing that it was dicey whether Nakasone would even live long enough to take office.  Nakasone was re-elected and made exactly one vote before succumbing to his disease.  That single vote put Say back in power for 2 more years.

After that Rep Nakasone’s seat was vacant and stayed that way for months.  Central Maui had no legislative representation thanks to Oahu’s manipulation of their election. Read the rest of this entry →