Over the past year, you'd
that Hawaii Democrats would be really
down on their luck in 2016
. Billions over budget with the rail project. The threat of looming higher excise taxes to make up the shortfall. The looming realization by voters that their property taxes will have to skyrocket to pay the annual cost of running the rail system once built.
Democrats could easily be made to appear greedy and incompetent in this election year.
Indeed, Republican Party leaders could and should have seen and been prepared for this convergence of bad news more than a year before the November 2016 general election. [
The writing has been on the wall for some time. The issue was giftwrapped for the Hawaii GOP's resurrection, if we wanted it
But with Hawaii Republicans flat-footed and silent and officially neutral on rail and taxes,
Democrats got to write their own script for 2016
. And in one single day, today,
Charles Djou just lost a giant percentage of the entire rationale for his mayoral candidacy
among swing voters, concerned Democrats, and even liberal Republicans. With today's coordinated unity among high profile Democrats, Caldwell, Hanabusa, and Martin orchestrated a maneuver which makes Djou's campaign appear almost irrelevant. It's as if Dan Inouye was still running the Democrat puppet show from his grave.
Fellow Republicans, this is really terrible news with less than five months till the election. But as you know, HIRA is serious about honestly reporting the facts. This way, our party can learn from its leaders' terrible mistakes.
Here's the bottom line truth of the matter:
GOP silence was the key to the Democrat Party's successful maneuver on the rail issue today
. You see, just like mainland Democrats,
local Democrats love silence from local Republicans
. They love watching local TV and seeing
being run by the GOP which attack Democrats. Same for listening to the radio and hearing
, opening the newspaper and seeing
, opening the mailbox and seeing
, surfing on social media and seeing
Republicans have given Democrats the gift of silence.
We robbed ourselves of the ability to say "we warned you" or "we fought this" or "we keep speaking out" or "we're very different". . . because we didn't and because we just don't.
Hawaii GOP party culture needs changing: Just imagine if Hawaii Republicans had delivered a unified message to voters for the past two years. Our state party could have executed a coordinated campaign starting the day after the last election in November 2014 --
a campaign in which we write the script.
We could have taken ownership of the public's understanding of rail issue;
with Republicans being the ones who were warning voters throughout 2015 and 2016 and promising better leadership.
Then when our GOP candidates for 2016 came along and started their campaigns, they could have pledged in a "Contract with Hawaii" that if elected they'd be fully committed to stopping any more wasteful spending and tax increases, whether at the state legislature or the city council.
the Hawaii GOP leadership stubbornly and deliberately refused to make a case to voters that our candidates would be any different than Democrats
. Thus, easily filling the void today, Democrats cut off Republicans at the knees in 2016 by making themselves look fiscally conservative in election year. Put mildly,
Republicans will NOT be able to use the #1 political issue of rail nearly as successfully as Democrats in 2016
. And in November 2016, voters will in all likelihood re-elect Democrats for 'cleaning up their own mess' without any credit going to the GOP.
Miriam Hellreich's RINO-controlled GOP has deliberately avoided making the case that Democrats are irresponsibly spending island taxpayer dollars while driving our economy into a ditch and worsening the affordability of living in the islands.
Does saying "our party blew 2016" in mid-June come across as too 'doom and gloom'? Maybe. Do we all want to believe there's still time for the Hawaii Republican Party to provide island voters with a solid, irrefutable rationale for ousting Democrats and electing our GOP candidates? Of course we do. But let's drill down a little to make sure we're not engaging in false hope and to make sure there are no internal party obstacles to collectively going on the offensive against Democrats.
The overriding priority of longtime party boss Hellreich
and her party officer puppets like chair Fritz Rohlfing, communications director Andy Mukk, coordinated campaign director Bob Hickling and treasurer Mary Smart
is to keep the party as quiet as possible while diverting as much donor money contributed to the party as possible to the acquisition of an overpriced luxury suite of offices on Kapiolani Boulevard costing Republicans hundreds of thousands of dollars per election cycle for related overhead
. Rather than recognizing the reality that party leaders should substantially downsize and work at home for free from virtual offices connected (for free) with virtual workspaces and free conference calling, the Hellreich faction's goal of acquiring overpriced real estate trumped that of putting everything we have into
with a powerful, sustained message.
HIRA believes that instead of blowing big money buying a luxury suite of offices, our party should be spending precious donor funds on
persuasive marketing which
reaches voters during the two years before each election and
helps to level the playing field for our brave republican challenger candidates.
no sense for a family of moderate income to starve in order to buy an overpriced mansion. Likewise, it makes
no sense that Democrats get a free ride every two years because the RINO's running our party have decided to sink every penny of party funds into a bad and very expensive real estate deal instead of mounting a coordinated marketing campaign against Democrats that wakes up Hawaii voters.
In fact, anyone really paying attention can see that the Hawaii GOP has religiously stuck to its failed biennial plan of being completely silent about any and all serious issues during the 2-year lead-up to the 2016 election. For example,
recent news stories reveal a powerful statistic
50% of all Hawaii residents are now living paycheck to paycheck
. Believe it or not, some braindead, unqualified party leaders have decided to completely disregard this promising political issue because they personally hold the belief that some portion of these 50% bring problems on themselves by not being thrifty enough with their paychecks. Such narrow minded and amateurish 'political consultant' mentality disregards the great potential for
receptiveness by that target audience
for Republican arguments
why they should vote for our candidates in 2016 and beyond
. Don't forget Hawaii history: Democrats replaced Republicans as the majority party 62 years ago
in a single election
because they made the case that "Republicans didn't care". All the current statistics in Hawaii right now provided us with an amazing opportunity in 2016 to make precisely the same case against Democrats in order to reverse our political fortunes. But the story gets even worse . . .
SIT DOWN FOR THIS
: HIRA saw firsthand just yesterday that party officers serving on the executive committee and state committee summarily rejected the strategy trying to appeal to working class swing voters through leveraging this horrifying "50%" statistic simply out of
the suggestion to attack Democrats over statistics like these from now till Election Day originated with HIRA
These are the same
dimwitted party leaders
who simply believe we need to field nonthreatening closet Democrat candidates like Beth Fukumoto and Lauren Cheape who clearly embrace the Democrat Party's policy agenda in a desperate ploy for our beleaguered party to appear successful at electing R's. But if our goal as Republicans is reforming failed Democrat policies, then
what would be the point
of electing a bunch of
RINO's who keep those failed policies in place
Yes, today's sweeping move by Democrats was one that the GOP was completely unprepared for (on purpose). As for Charles Djou, it's bad enough that he upset his Republican base and even swing voters by loudly opposing Donald Trump's candidacy. It's even worse that Djou actually wrote the bill that created HART and provided the Democrats at HART with the blank check they've been using through
Djou's refusal to include any cap on spending (
e.g. "prohibiting HART from spending more on this project than voters were told in 2008") in his enabling legislation of HART back in 2009. And, as well all know, the price has been going up ever since.
But Democrats already anticipated Djou's line of attack before he even announced his last-minute, secret candidacy for mayor last week. They knew Caldwell would have to appear to take 'bold' action on rail before the election. Today, they arguably have. They knew they had to show improvement on homeless camps. And they've already got the media to say Caldwell has done so. They knew they'd have to patch a few thousand potholes. Likewise, the media has already taken fawning video of Caldwell personally filling potholes (
perfect for Caldwell TV ads
). And, most of all, Democrats knew they'd have their buddies at PRP standing by with advertising dollars and volunteers to make any opponent to Caldwell regret putting his or her name on the ballot for mayor. Just ask Cayetano. That SuperPAC is hard to beat, even if a tax increase was on the line.
Now looking toward 2018, Democrats still want to make you pay for the massive cost overruns and finish their colossal blunder public works disaster boondoggle. They still want to go all the way to Ala Moana Center. They still want to expand to UH Manoa, Waikiki and West Kapolei (near the Disney resort).
But they'll just smartly wait until after the 2018 election to make that push. After all, PRP and other pro-rail special interests can afford to buy off politicians like the current mayor and virtually the entire city council while killing off the political candidates who refuse to be their puppets. On the other hand, Republicans have been putting all of our money into an expensive suite of offices which prevent us from being able to afford TV, radio, bulk mail, internet, doorhangers, and other crucial GOP promotion.
So will today's move by Democrats take the wind out of Charles Djou's sails, since his #1 issue is promising to block a now-unneeded tax increase to pay for the rail project to reach Ala Moana Center?? Probably so. Today is NOT a happy day at Djou campaign headquarters. Honestly, there really wasn't much difference between pro-HART Caldwell, pro-HART Carlisle and pro-HART Djou. And now, in the minds of voters, there will be even less difference.
Yes, today was a bad day for Djou which will affect the campaign right through November. But it's an even worse day over at our super-overpriced and resource-depleting GOP headquarters on Kapiolani Boulevard. Smug, undisciplined, inexperienced, and 'progressive' party leaders robbed our candidates of one of the strongest issues to use against Democrats. In fact, they have decided to remain silent, neutral, and useless on all issues of substance. HIRA has been warning about this problem for years. But with a RINO-controlled GOP unwilling to take on Democrats or to take on the issues, it's probably time for you and all other Republicans to start thinking about finding better leaders for our party so we don't make the same mistakes in the lead-up to 2018.
Finally, the officers and members of HIRA send our very best wishes to all brave Republican candidates in 2016 and pray that the many mistakes made by Hawaii's GOP leaders won't adversely affect your campaigns. Thank you for the sacrifices you've made to offer voters a choice this year. With HIRA's limited resources, we'll do everything we can to make the case to voters while Hellreich, Rohlfing, Mukk, Hickling, Marumoto, Saiki, Smart, and our state party quietly sit on the sidelines while expecting you to make the case to voters all by yourselves. Mahalo!!