Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


Dishing on last night’s special election debate. by grassroothawaii
May 4, 2010, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Hideo Hikida

Last night, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs sponsored a live TV debate of the three candidates for the Congressional Office in District 1. Vacated by Neil Abercrombie in order to run for governor, the State of Hawaii is about to have a special election to name the replacement for Abercrombie. Ed Case (D), Charles Djou (R) and Colleen Hanabusa (D) are the top three candidates running for this seat, and as expected, came heavily prepared to last night’s TV debate.

With topics ranging from fiscal responsibility to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, each candidate made known their positions on said subjects, but (in my opinion at least) failed to outline solutions. Like any other political debate I’ve watched, there was a lot of deflecting, a lot of disguised jabs, plenty of manufactured replies and enough forced laughter that would have made Jay Leno blush.

Ed Case continued to remind the public about his congressional record and experience, highlighting his distaste for the tax cuts that the Bush Administration set forth. In a question posed to him, Case stated that he was against the tax cuts for the wealthy, saying that those cuts were one of the reasons America is faced with a financial deficit. A “pro-Akaka Bill but with reservations” candidate, Case deftly dodged a direct Akaka Bill endorsement, saying that he would prefer to do away with the litigation that surrounds the Bill. Seemingly the most experienced and calm candidateĀ  at the debate, Case gave the least fake smiles. Therefore, he gets a fake smile rating of 0. Maybe try spirit fingers next time? Overall impression: solid debate for Case. It got a little heated between Case and Djou towards the end, but Case seemed to distance himself from at least Hanabusa.

Charles Djou continued to state his fiscally conservative ideals, advocating for lower taxes and less government spending, often reminding the public that he never voted for a tax increase in all his years within the government. He stated that he had no problem sending more troops to the Middle East to fight the wars on terror/whatever we call them now, saying that as a current Army Reservist, he knows what the soldiers go through because he went through basic training, and that instead of spending more on taxes, we should just win so we don’t have to raise taxes to fund the war. That really struck a chord with me, mainly because of two reasons. 1) Just because you went through basic doesn’t mean you know what it’s like. I’m not hating on Reservists at all, I’m just saying that there’s a clear difference between a Reservist and a combat veteran. Not the same. 2) If it were as simple as “winning” the war, I’d like to think we would have done so already. Easier said than done brother. Djou did however, give the most fake smiles, thereby giving him a fake smile rating of 8. (I hesitate to give him a 10 because after a while, he just looked creepy) Overall, Djou, I’m not sure how Djou did. In some ways, I think he did great in that his responses were the most understandable, but at the same time, all of his remarks seemed as pre-made as a 5th graders lunch.

Finally we get to the “local girl” Colleen Hanabusa. What to say, what to say. First off, I’d like to say that I feel really sorry for her in this race because it just seems to be a two person race between Djou and Case from this point on. The only victory Hanabusa can achieve to me is to split enough votes from Case so that Djou wins. (Wait, in that case, don’t Case and Hanabusa lose?) Hanabusa was definitely the more idle debater at this program, but was also the most direct. She directly supported the Akaka Bill, opposed the tax cuts (except for the middle-class tax cuts), and repeatedly deflected questions with the obligatory “I will do what’s best for the State of Hawaii.” While she didn’t really face a lot of heat, she seemed to be content dishing it out towards Djou and Case, pointing out Djou’s lack of alternative to the Obama health care bill, as well as Case’s misinterpretation of the Mink endorsement. The fake smile rating stands at a neutral 5, mainly because she got the least air time (it seemed) as the debate shifted more towards the Djou/Case dynamic.

Like I said before, the debate wasn’t really a debate in the end. It was just a lot of “I stand for this” commentaries, and other candidates trying to smear the other candidate’s image. I’m not sure as to who came out the winner, but if I had make a decision, I’d have to say it was Djou, mainly because of the fact that during the intermission, Governor Lingle got up and gave a 5 minute “this is why you should vote for Charles Djou” speech to entire audience which netted more cheers than boos from the crowd. One thing is for sure though, I’m pretty certain that Case, Djou and Hanabusa’s cheeks are burning from all that smiling.

What did you guys think of it? Were the fake smile ratings spot on? Did you think someone else brought the debate trophy home? Give it to me guys. I promise I won’t deflect.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I felt Mr. Djou missed a great opportunity to further seperate himself from the other two candidiates but didn’t. I think he got too caught up in the finger pointing and smear tactics. I agree that his answers seemed premade, but I think all the anwers were premade.
I agree he wins the fake smile hands down. I was disappointed the LtGov didn’t endorse Mr. Djou like the Gov did, thinks that make you say Ummm!

Comment by BrettK

I’m glad you agree with me in that Djou’s answers seemed a little premade. Granted all of the answers given by all the candidates might have been premade but didn’t Djou just seem so artificial the entire time?

You’re right, Djou missed a big shot to separate himself from all the candidates, but in truth, Hanabusa and Case did expose major holes in Djou’s stance on healthcare.

Also, nice catch on the Duke Aiona situation Brett! I thought I was the only one who caught that!

Comment by grassroothawaii




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