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In which the NYT attempts to “call” Hawaii

AdNags Blogs In Isolated Splendor (photo: bgjohnson/flickr)

AdNags Blogs In Isolated Splendor (photo: bgjohnson/flickr)

I grew up regarding the New York Times as the “paper of record,” so it surprised me both as it slid into the sewer and as I discovered that, if it was covering a story I actually knew anything about, it was frequently, well, shall we say, “less than accurate.”

The latest: a story by Adam Nagourney with the breathless prediction that the Republicans might pick up a Senate seat in Hawaii.

As one of my friends remarked, “AdNags never gets anything right when he writes about the Mainland.  We can hardly expect him to improve when reporting on things 5000 miles away.”

A short summary:  Hawaii’s junior senator, Daniel Akaka, is retiring.  Linda Lingle, who was the REPUBLICAN [I know, ??????] governor here for two terms, has announced her candidacy.

There are two Democrats vying for the nomination: perennial candidate and faux Democrat Ed Case [cousin of AOL founder Steve Case, thus lots of $$$$] and Mazie Hirono, current Congresswoman and previous Lt. Governor.

Before gazing into his political crystal ball,  AdNags should have paid a visit to Wikipedia.  There he would have discovered a number of things:

Lingle’s election as a Republican governor – Lingle ran for governor in 1998 and lost to the Democratic incumbent, Benjamin Cayetano.  When 2002 rolled around, Cayetano was prevented by term limits from running again, so the Dems nominated the Lt. Governor, the much-less-well-known Mazie Hirono.  Lingle, having spent the past 4 years “beefing up” the HI Republican party, ran on a “change” platform [kick out the Dems who’ve been running the state] and won.  [So one must admit that Lingle has beaten Hirono previously.]  In 2006, when Lingle ran again, the Dems could barely scare up a candidate, and when they did, he spent only $340,000 to Lingle’s $6 million.  The Dem was soundly defeated.

So, while unusual for a “traditionally Democratic” state to twice elect a Republican, the circumstances were unique, and don’t foretell a “switch to the Republican side.”

Look at the numbers – In early 2010, Neil Abercrombie resigned from his Congressional seat to pursue his quest for governor. The election to replace him was a no-primary, winner-take-all affair, and the Democrats, true to their usual bumbling and stupidity, fielded two candidates: Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case.  The DCCC refused to pressure Case to withdraw, probably because he was a Blue Dog near and dear to their heart, and the DCCC financially abandoned the race.  The Republican candidate, nut-case Charles Djou, won, with 39.4% of the vote (67,610 votes).  [Hanabusa got 30.8 % (52,802 votes) and Case got 27.6% (47,391 votes) ].  When Djou ran for re-election in November, 2010, he was stomped by Hanabusa.

AdNags is now prognosticating on a state-wide Senate race, rather than this House one.  Perhaps he thinks lightning’s going to strike twice in the form of a divisive, 2-Dems-in-the-general race, but if you extrapolate from the House race,  100,000 Dem ballots  are going to beat 67,610 Republican ones, so I don’t know what he’s smoking.

Lingle’s got a record – Perhaps most laughable about AdNag’s story — other than his quoting a “prediction” from the HI Republican chairman re Lingle’s future success —  is the fact that Lingle now has a record of her “leadership” in Hawaii, and that record’s not good.

• as a favor to her business pals, she allowed one of her appointees to grant an exemption from environmental requirements to an $80 million inter-island “Superferry.” [Actually, the Superferry was a much-needed service, but you don’t do ANYTHING in Hawaii without appeasing the environmental gods, and you particularly don’t thumb your nose at them in this flagrant way.]  When protesters tried to block the ferry, she threatened them with prosecution under anti-terrorism statutes.  After years of fighting and drama, the Superferry died, a colossal waste of money.

• Lingle enacted draconian budget cuts, furloughing teachers for 17 days in one year, closing libraries and reducing other public services.  [Hawaii has the lowest number of classroom days in the nation and is near the absolute bottom in academic achievement, vying with MS, LA and AL.]  This is probably what most voters think of when they hear her name.

• Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill that had passed the legislature.  [Getting the bill re-passed and signing it was Abercrombie’s first deed.]

• Lingle gave what was in effect the nominating address for Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention.  [It was rumored that Lingle herself had been considered for the post.]

So when Lingle talks about running on “my own success as a moderate Republican” and “my own record in Hawaii,” you can hear Democrats around the state saying, “bring it on.”

This is not to say that the Hawaii Democrats cannot snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Senator Daniel Inouye runs politics in the state, but pretty-boy Case has run afoul of him by challenging Akaka a few years ago.  [Why Inouye didn’t elbow Case out of the way in 2010, so a Democrat could be assured of taking Abercrombie’s seat (and grabbing some seniority) is a mystery, but indicates that Hawaii politics is NOT a well-oiled machine.  Maybe it’s because Inouye is as much of a Blue Dog as Case.  I dunno.]

I’ll close this with what I’d intended to be my intro:  “AdNags, you dumb fuck.”

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