October 22, 2004

BUSH FIVE-0 (via mc):

Neglected Hawaii Emerges As Swing State (DAVID BRISCOE, 10/22/04, AP)

Often dismissed as too small, too isolated and too Democratic to worry about in presidential contests, Hawaii suddenly has a close race.

Democrats say Sen. John Kerry still has an edge over President Bush in the contest for Hawaii's four electoral votes, but the race has become awfully tight for their comfort. With late poll closings - 11 p.m. EST on Nov. 2 - and a slow count, Hawaii politicians are talking about offering a dramatic conclusion to what could be an ultra-close national election.

"We may make the difference," said Linda Chu Takayama, campaign manager for Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, who is all but assured of victory in his own race for an eighth term. "Surprise, surprise. The polls I've seen show it up and down but always within the margin of error."

The George H. W. Bush anomaly has meant that we've gone twenty years without a landslide, so maybe folks just forget what they look like, but incumbent Republican presidents carry everything.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 22, 2004 4:34 PM

I have no sense at all of what's going on on the Mainland, but I'll accept any bets against Kerry in Hawaii

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 22, 2004 4:40 PM

I'm with Harry on this one.

Posted by: capt mike at October 22, 2004 4:52 PM

I can't believe this. I know they elected their first pubbie gov, but this????

Posted by: Sandy P at October 22, 2004 4:53 PM

Send Jenna and Barbara to play pickup beach volleyball games on Waikiki Beach this weekend. Please.

(Beats Ann Coulter and custard!)

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 22, 2004 4:57 PM

HI is a one party state, and the state Republican party is basically a one woman operation. What's humorous is that the state Democratic party and media line is that the Republicans don't reflect "Hawaii's values", although several years ago a same-sex marriage ban referendum passed by a huge margin, and the Republicans had brief political success with the issue of raising the issue of sexual consent. What they really mean, of course, is that the Republicans at both the national and state level are typically dominated by whites, and the Dems have ridden the legacy of the plantation era for decades.

Posted by: brian at October 22, 2004 5:06 PM

Sen. Inouye, a true war hero whose exploits far eclipse Bob Dole's and make Sen. Kerry's look like a Boy Scout playing "Capture the Flag", has nonetheless been in Congress far, far too long.

First elected to Congress in 1959, Daniel Inouye has been a Senator for 42 years.
It's two decades past time to let someone else have a turn.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 22, 2004 5:16 PM

I agree with Harry, if Hawaii goes to Bush then pigs will fly (or someone like the Red Sox will beat the Yankees); however, I am curious why this story even exists. Slow newsday in the islands?

Posted by: pchuck at October 22, 2004 5:34 PM

Until recently, Hawaii had a loyalty oath for state employees, so while Democratic, it is not as liberal as you might think.

And the Republicans are the party of the environmentalists here, since the Dems are the party of business and development.

The Dems prefer to have their leaders die in office so they can appoint a replacement who can then run as an incumbent.

Anyhow, we re-elected Patsy Mink two years ago, and she was dead

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 22, 2004 5:34 PM

I've head of lowering expectation, but this time the Dems had to call 1-800-227-2600 first.

And too bad Patsy wasn't running in Chicago, 'cause then she could have still voted for herself at least once.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 22, 2004 5:50 PM

>Sen. Inouye, a true war hero whose exploits far
>eclipse Bob Dole's and make Sen. Kerry's look
>like a Boy Scout playing "Capture the Flag"...

A little b/g on Senator Daniel K Inouye, best known on the mainland as the target of the "that little Jap" aside during his time on the Watergate hearings in 1974 (where he conducted himself with intelligence and professionalism).

Nisei Hawaiian, the transition generation between the all-Old-Country Issei and the totally-Americanized Sansei; apparently Inouye's generation got the best parts of both Japanese and American cultures.

World War Two, 100th Hawaiian National Guard Bn, 442nd RCT ("Go For Broke!").

Sen. Inouye's one Purple Heart beats Sen. Kerry's three hands down, i.e. the loss of his right arm and half his intestines (blown off by a German mortar round somewhere in Italy).

After all that, I was surprised to hear that Sen. Inouye is still alive -- he must be in his seventies or early eighties by now.

Posted by: Ken at October 22, 2004 6:45 PM

Ford didn't win by a landslide either.

It bears reminding that Reagan was the first President to have a successful (completed) second term since Ike and Clinton the first since FDR. Neither had legs in the sense that they pulled their parties with them.

Folks can't forget what they never experienced. If Bush wins and increases the GOP hold on Congress, it'll be an election not seen in 60 years or so.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 22, 2004 7:20 PM

Inouye is sharp and tough as nails. He's 80, though.

The other Hawaii senator, Akaka, is also 80 and not in good health, not sharp and not tough.

Lingle, the Republican governor, is not just a one-woman party, she's a country politician. 80% of the voters are on Oahu, but she made her reputation on Maui.

No coattails, and she never would have won if Jeremy Harris, the Democrat mayor of Honolulu (Oahu) had run. He suddenly decided he had to finish his term when the indictments against his campaign contributors started coming down.

I predicted he'd have been in Leavenworth by now, but I was wrong. He hasn't even been charged.

But he's never gotten less than 55% of the vote on Oahu, which is enough to be governor even if EVERYBODY on the Neighbor Islands (as we call them) voted Republican.

It doesn't help Bush here that there are no credible Republicans in the congressional races -- unless gay marriage can carry a one-issue candidate.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 22, 2004 7:58 PM


Ford wasn't running for re-election.

Posted by: oj at October 22, 2004 8:10 PM

"Ford didn't win by a landslide either"

Ford didn't win at all. He lost to the Peanut brain from Georgaaaah.

Posted by: Oswald Booth Czolgosz at October 22, 2004 9:14 PM

Harry: When Jeremy withdrew, the reason that he himself gave was that he couldn't beat Lingle, making it perhaps the first time ever a politician admitted publicly to being a loser. Knowing Hawaii politics, probably Dan & Co. told him it wasn't his turn, and they would make the corruption charges go away before he could run again. As for Gabbard, his single-issue is a winner, and he's up against a rich haole who didn't even live in the district when first chosen, but it'll still be a massacre.

Posted by: brian at October 22, 2004 9:26 PM

Agree that Bush being competitive in Hawaii is another sign Kerry is probably going down bigtime.

As for the senators both are in their 80s. I remember reading that Hawaii was, like Massachusetts, considering changing the law so that the governor couldn't appoint a replacement. Anything more on this?

Posted by: AWW at October 22, 2004 10:26 PM

It will be very sweet if the media has to call a landslide at around 8:30 PM, just like in 1980. If Bush wins NJ, CT, MD, PA, and/or WV, the talking heads will have to spend the next 2 hours spouting about the upper Midwest, only to watch WI and MN go Bush.

And if Burr beats Bowles by more than 2%, don't expect RatherJenningsBrokawWoodruff (etc.) to breath heavily when describing the Senate races. Although for the media, boosting Daschle might be the order of the evening.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 23, 2004 8:36 AM

Brian, that may be what Harris said, but he would have beaten Lingle easily. He romped in his last race.

AWW, the move to take away the governor's appointment power is driven entirely by the fact that the Legislature and the dying senators are Democratic, the governor Republican.

Around the office, we sometime debate Lingle's dilemma if one of them goes. Other than herself, there is no Republican in the state with stature to go to the U.S. Senate.

Mink didn't live in the 2nd district, either. A sore point with me.

As I said earlier, it'll be interesting to see how many votes Gabbard does get, because it will be exactly the number of people in Hawaii who think marriage is a big issue.

Case is a rich haole, but he's personable, something nobody's ever said about Gabbard.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 24, 2004 3:33 PM

>It will be very sweet if the media has to call
>a landslide at around 8:30 PM, just like in 1980.

At which point all the alerts go out to those pre-positioned Loyal Party Cadre attorneys with their pre-generated lawsuits ready to file and The Fix is In. Florida 2000 all over again, except nastier and over several states.

The Fix is In.

Posted by: Ken at October 25, 2004 12:40 PM