Monday, May 24, 2010


Hawaii's 1st Congressional District

The votes are in from Hawaii's 1st Congressional District and I send my congratulations and best wishes to the Republican victor Charles Djou.

1.5% of the vote was earned by 11 candidates (4 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and 4 candidates without major party affiliation).

The winner, Republican Charles Djou, won with 39.7% of the vote. Democratic candidates took the next 58.8% of the vote. Colleen Hanabusa garnered 31.% and Ed Case took 27.8% of the vote. The numbers courtesy the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

Had this been a primary election, then Djou would be the Republican candidate and Hanabusa the Democratic candidate. This was, however, a special election to fill the unexpired term of Representative Neil Abercrombie. Abercrombie left the House to run for Governor of Hawaii.

Ed Case, a former Congressman, has gotten the ire of many Hawaii Democrats when he tried, and failed, to unseat Senator Daniel Akaka in the 2006 election cycle. The Honolulu Star Bulletin reports that Hanabusa, who was trailing in the polls, surged ahead on election day with strong support from organized labor.

The hoopla coming out of the Republicans will be short lived. Djou did not win because of anti-incumbent fervor nor did he win because of massive right wing support from the Tea Party. Djou, a former City Councilman, is a popular youthful figure in Hawaii's Republican circles. Djou played errorless politics while Hanabusa and Case fought to the bitter end.

The message for Democrats is unity. There has to be a place for Hanabusa and another place for Case. They just can't both be representing the same district in Congress at the same time. That's a political corollary to one of Newton's Laws: two politicians can't occupy the same office at the same time.

While the Democratic Party has the majority in the House and the Senate, their margins are not so large as to allow us Democrats to do as we please. As a party we can willingly embrace unity; compromise being a necessary element in the art of politics. Or we can embark on an ideological purge, as the Tea Party movement is doing in the Republican Party.

Sure, I wanted the Public Option in Health Care Reform. God bless Senator Maria Cantwell from the state of Washington. I too wanted to see Glass-Steagall built back into S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. In both cases what came out was a lot better than we would have had with a Republican majority. If we would have gotten anything at all!

We can embrace the message of party unity willingly, or we can learn it the way Robert F. Kennedy reminded us of another way of learning painful lessons. Quoting the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, Kennedy told us that "In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
Our internecine squabbles don't amount to a hill of beans compared to letting the Republicans sneak in while we are feuding one with another. If you don't believe me then let's keep on fighting amongst ourselves, wisdom which comes from the awful grace of God is just around the corner!

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