KANEOHE, HAWAII — Today, the Hawaii Republican Party (HRP) led by Pat Saiki and Miriam Hellreich, tripled down on neutrality, silence and inaction for another two years by retaining an official party platform and political strategy which is destined to keep Hawaii’s tiny minority party in the political wilderness of irrelevance through 2016.
Not exactly a sign of political upheaval or revolution, barely more than three people bothered to show up today from each of fifty-one legislative districts from across a state with a combined population of 1.4 million residents. The paltry attendance of 167 credentialed delegates at HRP’s state convention had to endure hours of choreographed speeches where candidates were not allowed to speak (unlike the Democrat convention).
But the real pain for real Republicans in attendance came when National Committeewoman Miriam Hellreich — the powerful longtime party national committeewoman and paid consultant to Lingle and Aiona — sanctimoniously demanded that Republicans “take a stand.” This is the epitome of political double-speak and hypocrisy. The old saying of “do as I say, and not as I do” holds very true for Ms. Hellreich. Where were she and the other state executive committee members during the fight against SB-1? Where is the Party’s voice being heard against Pono Choices? Where is their concerted voice against the harmful policies that state and local Democrats have inflicted on our state? How can leaders tell people to do something when they do not do it themselves? It is evident that Ms. Hellreich never attended Leadership 101.
All of this contrived showmanship comes on the heels of a rigged process which ensured that the disastrous, “LLIFE” platform initiated and defended by party leaders and their favorite liberal candidates in 2010 and 2012 would again remain the party’s empty electoral gesture during the 2014 campaign.
Whereas the members of nearly every political party on the planet, including Hawaii’s dominant Democrats, enunciate clear positions on issues in their party platforms to draw unmistakable contrasts based on the beliefs and policy positions which unite activists, the HRP’s platform leadership manipulated the platform-writing process to keep the party neutral, silent and inactive on each and every issue facing Hawaii. This allows the party’s most liberal candidates and incumbents to decide what it means to be a Republican so they can take positions which are embraced by Hawaii’s most liberal Democrats.
It’s absolutely tragic that we are on the verge of wasting another two years by refusing to make a case for change; opting instead for another fruitless strategy of wasting millions of party dollars to mercilessly pummel voters through repeated broadcasting of the names of the same one or two anointed candidates every two years. The Hawaii Republican Assembly believes that conservative Republicans have the solutions to Hawaii’s woes and that voters require a vigorous campaign of education, persuasion and inspiration from an unapologetically partisan HRP.
There are so many great candidates in 2014 and it is a shame that party leaders have done absolutely nothing to create a climate in which they have any better chance of winning than two years ago. We only heard from Djou and Aiona, with dozens of other candidates — including Cam Cavasso and Marissa Capelouto — barred from the podium. The people of Hawaii deserve a choice and these candidates deserve to be more than afterthoughts by party leaders obsessed with their clients’ top-of-the-ticket races alone; so much so that we continue to stand for nothing as a party in a state where sixty years of one-party rule has clearly been so very detrimental to the typical working family.