Island Elephants Are Actually Running with the Donkeys (i.e. Republican
legislators are voting just like Dems)

Aloha, Republicans:

If you think we've got it bad at the Hawaii GOP, it's arguably even worse just four blocks away at the State Capitol.  I'm NOT talking about the Democrats.  We've got a MASSIVE PROBLEM with all five elected Republicans in the shrinking GOP minority caucus.

First, how could anyone forget how Bob McDermott -- the single biggest cheerleader for the Hawaii GOP's longtime overlord Miriam Hellreich -- memorably shouted in anger at Beth Fukumoto ?:   "Start acting like a f***ing Republican" and "do your f***ing job" .

Well, Fukumoto is long gone .  So let's hope that McDermott and the remaining five elected Republicans in Hawaii will follow that angry 'advice' ; especially after caucus members have been casting crazy votes in favor of billions in tax hikes and forcing counties to issue driver's licenses for tens of thousands of illegal aliens currently in Hawaii.

More to the point, here's why that 'advice' is so important . . .

Starting nearly three months ago , when closet Democrat Beth Fukumoto was finally out of the picture, it was thought that the GOP's Minority Caucus would move full speed ahead to take on the Democrats.

That's what we were told .  But since 'taking on the Democrats' has clearly NOT happened , then maybe we were all oversold?

After Andria Tupola finally took Beth Fukumoto's place in the Minority Leader job she certainly sounded all the right notes.

"As a millennial Polynesian woman, I am excited to chart an action-oriented course forward," Tupola told the Wall Street Journal .

"I look forward to serving our caucus and bringing our voice to the forefront of the conversation addressing of our State's rising cost of living, increase in homelessness, unfunded liabilities, and many other quality of life issues," Tupola said in a press release .

"This decision today, we talked about it after the election, we talked about it for the past two years. And we really are looking for a positive direction for our caucus and for the Republican party," Tupola told Hawaii News Now .

That's right, Tupola had been planning to become Minority Leader for quite some time; telling Hawaii News Now that replacing Fukumoto had been under discussion for at least two years .

In fact, Tupola lobbied unsuccessfully to become Minority Leader more than two years ago, right after she was first elected to office in 2014.  Remember when then Minority Leader Aaron "Ling" Johanson had bailed to the Democrats right after getting re-elected to the State House , he left the top position vacant. Heck, as payback, "Ling" even donated $1,000 from his campaign warchest to Tupola's Democrat opponent in 2016.

Tupola told the Wall Street Journal that after she was first elected in 2014, she joined a caucus that was bitterly divided between moderates and conservatives. "When I walked into the first meeting, there was so much arguing," she said. "That meeting was the first time some of them had even been in the room together."

Initially, Tupola had the votes ( four to three ) to take Ling's place.  But RINO Feki Pouha switched his vote at the last minute and became a believer in the RINO-ness of extreme liberal Republican Beth Fukumoto.  Well, Pouha lost his seat in 2016 and Fukumoto is gone now.  Up went the 'help wanted' sign yet again.

So, in 2017, with a reportedly crying Lauren Cheape conveniently off the floor of the State House , the vote was taken to oust Fukumoto and install sophomore GOP representative Andria Tupola as the newest Minority Leader.  Folks, you gotta believe that after two years of waiting in the wings, things were gonna be DIFFERENT under Tupola than they've been under "Ling" and Fukumoto.  Gotta be, right?

Fast forward nearly three months to today and the 2017 legislative session at the State Capitol is now winding down .  And there's just a couple of weeks left until state senators and state representatives ( and the governor ) have completed their annual coordinated attack on Hawaii residents . . . especially our pocketbooks, our livelihoods, our values and our way of life .

Yes, it's been nearly three months since that change in caucus leadership.  So WHERE exactly is the "action-oriented course" we were promised ?

Easy, there's been no action and no course, just a lot of left-leaning orientation .  There have been no bold reforms to replace failed Democrat policies.  No party-related coordinated activity to beat down bad legislation during the 2017 session.  None of this promise was ever realized in conjunction with county and district leaders and a statewide political campaign; though it certainly could have been organized by Tupola's allies at the top of the Hawaii GOP food chain.

Tupola told the Wall Street Journal ,  "Every single past leader has told me, 'You won't succeed unless you fix the party .'''  Yet, her allies GOP state chair Fritz Rohlfing and GOP executive director Jack James have been running the Hawaii GOP and have been in a position to 'fix the party' for quite some time.  In fact, Jack James, executive director of the Hawaii Republican Party, told the Wall Street Journal without a hint of self-awareness or admission of guilt or even any irony that Ms. Tupola's criticism of the party was "right on."
As Tupola opponent Pat Saiki, the Hawaii GOP's immediate past chair, told other party leaders earlier today:  "Please don't blame this mess on anyone other than those responsible.  The responsibility lies directly in the hands of two people -- Fritz, our Chair and his Executive Director .   Manipulation seems the mode of the day."  In other words, Tupola's allies at the Hawaii GOP have been spending all their time trying to manipulate the outcome of the state convention than actually doing their jobs trying to defeat Democrats and elect Republicans . . . something that Miriam Hellreich and her not-very-innocent BFF Pat Saiki have been doing for years at the Hawaii GOP.

. . . which brings us to HIRA's letter of the day!!

Carol Nakata of Aiea wrote to HIRA recently and asked a significant and provocative question:   "Can you name any true conservatives left in the GOP?"

At HIRA, we make every effort to be factual and thorough .  So we performed our usual due diligence to get Carol the best and most objective answer .

So here's what we told her, plus a bit more useful insight . . .

Thanks for writing.  That's the million dollar question, Carol.

With the ouster of Sam Slom from the State Senate and the Democrat conversion of Kym Pine at the Honolulu City Council , things are just as bleak at the State Capitol as they are at the state party headquarters.  So, unfortunately , the short answer is "no" .

According to the American Conservative Union's scorecard for Hawaii legislators , the average voting record of Republicans in the State House was JUST AS BAD AS DEMOCRATS .  On an objective scale where 100% would mean conservative and 0% extremely liberal, the votes taken throughout 2016 shows all Republicans in the liberal range with an average score of 29%, while Democrats scored a slightly lower average of 26%.

Cheape-Matsumoto - 26%.   Fukumoto - 26%.   McDermott - 35%.   Thielen - 29%.   Tupola - 33%.   Ward - just 24%
( ignore the '29%' typo in the graphic below, Ward only got a 24% ).
The worst Republican of all was Gene Ward , the 'emeritus' leader of the minority caucus and the recently elected national committeeman for the Hawaii GOP.  He is now serving alongside national committeewoman Miriam Hellreich and helps Ms. Hellreich and her puppets to ensure an unchanged, liberal direction for the Hawaii GOP.  [ Even if someone less liberal than usual were to get elected state chair, Hellreich surrounds that person with her hand-picked buddies on the executive committee.  Their job is to emasculate any state chair who defies Hellreich. ]

Indeed, the ACU reports that Hawaii Republicans are getting much, much worse -- barely distinguishable from Democrats .

Perhaps the place to start fixing things is with our very liberal caucus with its very liberal voting record that gives Democrats a run for their progressive money and reputations.  Until existing Republican elected officials (including Bob McDermott) start following his infamous advice to "Start acting like a f***ing Republican" and "do your f***ing job", maybe the 'job' of fixing our broken party should be left to others.

Gosh, with liberals running our party and representing us at the State Capitol, it's no surprise that Democrats and their failed policies go unchallenged year after year, decade after decade.  On the bright side, Trump still got one-third of 'blue Hawaii' votes in 2016's general election.  So, clearly, there's a foundation of support upon which to build a real alternative to what Democrats and RINO's keep serving up.  The trick would be to take back our party from the liberals, closet Democrats and RINO's.  That is a full-time, 24/7/365 job for a politically experienced and successful operative who owes no loyalty to any RINO faction of the party.  Yes, that means starting over with new candidates.  Nobody running for state chair today has the credentials or the track record.   Sorry to any snowflakes for this brutal honesty .

Here's how high the stakes are.  As HIRA's national director Willes Lee has pointed out in his monthly reports , right now there are more FORMER Republicans holding office here in Hawaii than there are currently elected Republicans.   That's a lot of jumping ship by wishy-washy Republicans -- the kind whose voting records were pretty similar to Democrats .  We don't need to clone that problem by electing more RINO's.  We need to eliminate that problem.

Let's be honest.   ANY local Republican in office today alleging to be conservative has been PROVEN a liar by his or her own voting record .  As Willes Lee has noted in his reports, Maui's Democrat legislator Rep. DeCoite got a score of 36 from the ACU, because she voted more conservatively than any Republican member of the House GOP caucus .  And several Democrats voted better than GOP leader Andria Tupola.  With Republican Cheape's abysmal score of 26 and Gene Ward's horrible score of 24, Democrats DeCoite 36, Har 33, Kong 33, Yamine 33, Aquino 32, Choy 32, Cullen 32, Jordan 32, McKelvey 32, Ohno 32, Tokioka 31, Say 30, Ito 29, and Oshiro 27 ALL voted more conservatively than "Republican" Cheape 26 and "Republican" Ward 24 .

Just how bad is it when a full 22 Democrats -- yes, twenty-two -- are more conservative than state representative and national committeeman Gene Ward ; Miriam Hellreich's partner in crime in the Hawaii GOP leadership?  That's pretty, pretty bad.

A score of 80+ is conservative, below 60 is absolutely a failing grade. Hell, liberal House Speaker Joe Souki had the SAME 24 score as Ward.  14 Democrats voted more conservatively than Cheape.  'Far-left' Republican Cynthia Thielen holds an ACU score of 29, while 'conservative' Tupola only scores a 33 (only 4 better than Thielen) and Bob "Start acting like a f***ing Republican" McDermott deservedly received an embarrassing 35 for his embarrassing voting record.  If it wasn't for Bob's singular defense of the anus, he wouldn't be the darling of desperate and easily manipulated social conservatives.

For context, on the same scale, U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee scored ACU 100 , Senator Rand Paul got a 96 . Even U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan clinched a 78 and wishy-washy U.S. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell got himself a 75 ; scoring FAR better than any Hawaii Republican .

RINO'S ARE CAUSING US TO MISS THE BOAT:   Polls in recent days fully confirm what HIRA keeps saying about Hawaii's political climate .  It's time for a political revolution in Hawaii which rivals the 1954 revolution when Democrats overthrew Hawaii's then Republican political majority in a SINGLE election.  Yes, in a single election .
Read the new polls for yourself and understand that a huge number of people are reaching anti-Democrat sentiment without ANY help from the Hawaii GOP .  Just yesterday, Hawaii News Now reported that nearly HALF of likely voters in Hawaii say our state is moving in the wrong direction .  The WRONG direction.  In addition, a majority of voters now OPPOSE the rail boondoggle .  Imagine if our party (and our GOP caucus) had been working to fan those flames instead of holding wet fingers in the wind and voting like Democrats?  The polls would probably be closer to 65% or higher favoring a major political shift .  But GOP leaders at the party's Kapiolani HQ and at the State Capitol refuse to lead that revolution.  But isn't that precisely why Hellreich maintains her power at the Hawaii GOP?  To keep Democrats in the majority?  After two decades of decline under Hellreich, there's no other logical explanation for her longstanding control of the party and our long-running decline and our longtime commitment to maintaining a silent, neutral, dysfunctional and very costly GOP.

Making matters worse is the confusion caused by our elected Republicans .   HOW can voting just like Democrats at the State Capitol help voters anywhere across the state to understand why they need more Republicans in office?   Hawaii already has a Democrat Party .  There's no demand among voters for a virtual duplicate of the Democrat Party.

Let's get really real.  Beth Fukumoto is no longer leader.  She's been gone for nearly three months.  Tupola took over on February 1st after wanting the job for more than two years .  So, what's changed?  What's taking so long? From HIRA's point of view, the same silence and complicity is still in evidence.  And the objective review of voting records shows that our elected Republicans are "in name only", as in Republicans In Name Only, as in RINO's.
Over the years, our party has seen more than its share of 'neighborhood celebrities' known better for their litter pickup drives and other community service than solid voting records.  These incumbent legislators and candidates don't have the inclination or the stomach to lead a political movement.  Nor do the succession of Hellreich-backed, Saiki-backed, Marumoto-backed, or Rohlfing-backed RINO puppet party officers.  Only a strong party led by conservatives hell bent on educating the public and ousting Democrats have what it takes.

Look, we really need to fix Hawaii.  We've got lots of really big problems that are getting worse daily.  To do that, to fix our state, we need a Republican majority.  Democrats simply won't make the right turn needed. To get to a GOP majority, we need to grow a serious movement which speaks, acts, and votes like Republicans do.  We've already tried it Miriam Hellreich's and Pat Saiki's and Barbara Marumoto's and Fritz Rohlfing's way for 20 years now. Losing and losing and losing and losing.  Plain and simple, their RINO approach completely sucks .

Internally, tough love is what our party needs .  Or we'll have more and more bad news coming from the Hawaii GOP about the future of our party.  Those who like things just the way they have been in our party maintain control by paying mere lip service to being Republicans in order to manipulate the rank and file every two years at GOP state conventions.  Yet our Hellreich-controlled party has refused to challenge Democrats (not for 20 years).  
And no puppet of Miriam Hellreich's will ever put fear into Democrats.  And the Tupola-led GOP caucus with its liberal voting record is merely the flip side of the same coin.
"What's the point?"
 That's the ultimate question.  In life.  In politics.  So before plunking down money to go to Kauai to make a false choice, let's have honest expectations.   Fritz Rohlfing has blown it and everyone knows it.  His ally Andria Tupola hasn't done anything to make the GOP a force to be reckoned with at the State Capitol and has a voting record exactly like the average Democrat.  And Shirlene Ostrov is a willing, committed puppet for Hellreich, Saiki, Marumoto and the liberal women of the Oahu League of RINO Women who actually think that pro-rail, pro-taxes, big-spending social liberal Charles Djou (the liberal professional politician who pushed for the creation of the wasteful City agency HART and its mission to build 34-miles of heavy rail) is their kind of 'conservative' to throw thousands of dollars of Republican money at, not to mention thousands of volunteer hours. That's downright embarrassing.

OMG, anybody thinking that one of these people is going to save the Hawaii GOP given the crystal clear track records and RINO backers involved needs to seriously consider having their head and their eyesight examined.

Everyone needs to understand that RINO's now control the Hawaii GOP.  And no matter what happens in Kauai at the state convention , they will still control the state GOP and most county GOP organizations . . . and they've done so largely through cheating and manipulation and cronyism .
Everybody also needs to understand that committed RINO's and closet Democrats are
firmly behind each of these candidates for party chair .  Yes, it's that bad.

The big question is how ANY of the RINO factions for state chair will make the Hawaii GOP a bigger player in Hawaii politics when these formerly unified liberal factions ( divided only over the future of the party's Kapiolani HQ ) have been totally responsible for the demise, invisibility, wimpiness, dysfunction, disorganization, and decline of the Republican Party of Hawaii. Uhhhhhmmm, they WON'T.

For now, let's spend our energy giving our few remaining GOP legislators the encouragement they need to vote like Republicans , rather than voting nearly all the time like liberal Democrats.  The next couple of weeks at the State Capitol have disaster written all of them.   Sam Slom is not there to set these people straight.  But maybe, just maybe, GOP legislators led by Beth Fukumoto's long-awaited replacement will finally break with their Democrat buddies and live up to the hype of having an "R" after their names.   We can only hope so . There's a lot at stake. And voters are watching, hoping for heroes.


President, Hawaii Republican Assembly (HIRA)
Chairman, HIRA Action SuperPAC

P.S.   Special thanks to our friends who were in Greg Lussier's office on Maui for the recent Hawaii GOP State Committee meeting.  That big audio file came through over here at HIRA's zero-overhead-cost headquarters and will be ready for sharing to all Republicans by HIRA this week.  It will be a real eye-opener to any and all Republicans who still somehow believe that our state party's leaders are working long and hard to beat Democrats.   Spoiler Alert :  Actually, they are doing the exact opposite of that. Just listening to even three minutes of this behind closed doors meeting and conference call of party officers and you'll seriously wonder why the Hellreich and Rohlfing RINO camps are fighting for control of the party at all .

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