Talk about the elections is continuing, and likely will even beyond the General as pundits and the public scrutinize how and why folks voted the way they did.
A friend wondered yesterday if Kaipo Asing’s poor showing in the Council race — the perennial high vote-getter came in eighth — was due to what he called “the mean factor.” You know, the way Kaipo has treated Councilman Tim Bynum. His animosity toward Tim is hardly concealed, and maybe Hoike-watching voters got tired of seeing the former Mr. Aloha, whose campaigning is characterized by blowing kisses, gunning for Tim in the Council meetings.
Others have expressed annoyance that Kaipo ran again, when he said he wouldn’t, and still others have said he should have gotten out while he was ahead.
Still, as one reader noted in comments, Kaipo has done a lot for Kauai and the environment, and that shouldn’t be forgotten, especially his tireless efforts to control the proliferation of vacation rentals.
Councilwoman Lani Kawahara, who chose not to run for re-election after her first term, took me to task in comments for yesterday’s post, in which I conveyed disappointment about Gary Hooser's decision to wage a failed bid for Lieutenant Governor — and also expressed appreciation for all he has done:
Aloha, Joan. At what point did u and others begin to believe that u owned gary hooser? At what point did u begin to believe u had a right to dictate how he would lead his life? Should he move on when we say he can ? At what point did u decide that what he has done for Kauai is just NOT enough?
Your false sense of entitlement is disappointing. U say we r "stuck" w/ Kouchi. If we r, as u say, stuck w/ Kouchi, it is not because gary wanted to serve at a higher level. It is because no one else wants to serve at any level at all. You have two years to build name recognition, Joan, to build your base, and start raising money. Anyone can do it, right? If u don't want to do it, find someone with like values who will. It is up to us to find leaders or become leaders. Why don't more people run? Why don't good people stay in govt? Could it b that cheap shots from bloggers and anonymous vicious unfounded personal attacks give good people pause? Pull your papers in two years, Joan and run against Kouchi. Don't forget though, once u run and u r elected- some people might think they own u.
This was followed by a second comment, in which she quoted Theodore Roosevelt:
"The credit belongs to those people who are actually in the arena...who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions to a worthy cause; who, at best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
I can only speak for myself, Lani, and I’ve never felt I “owned” Gary; indeed, one of the great things about Gary is that I don’t believe he is owned. And of course he has the right to move on whenever he wishes. But politicians aren’t like doctors or teachers or firefighters or others who serve. They depend on our support, our time and energy in a campaign, our money and our votes to get elected. So I do think we the people have a right to express our opinions about political choices a candidate makes, especially those of us who have been (and still are) long time, loyal supporters.
We elected Gary to the state Senate. He chose to vacate that post mid-term in order to seek higher office. Again, he has that right. But you can’t deny that by doing so he created an opportunity for the governor to fill his seat, which she did, with Ron Kouchi. And now we r stuck with him.
I agree, Lani, that it’s up us to find or become leaders. Not all leaders, however, choose to lead in the arena of politics. As for why more good people don’t run or stay in office, well, I can’t answer that, but I'd certainly be interested in hearing any ideas that the readers might have. Politics has long been known as a dirty business, and it’s a job that comes with extremely high exposure. To paraphrase another political quotation, if you don’t like the heat — be it from bloggers, the media, the public, your constituents, other politicians or special interests — get out of the kitchen.