Lingle Runs Away From Republican Debates

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BY KEITH ROLLMAN – Yesterday, word trickled back, by way of her campaign manager’s response to a StarAdvertiser blog, that “Lingle will not debate Carroll.”

It was accompanied by a terse message that basically said that Republicans have already been told everything they need to know, and that Lingle was looking forward to debating her Democratic Senate opponent.


The only problem is that Hawaii’s voters, who still get to participate in the selection of the Republican nominee, won’t cast their ballots until August. Lingle needs to put her victory speech on hold and reconsider open and honest debates with John Carroll on the issues. To arrogantly ignore the desire of most Republicans to actually hear from the candidates on the issues is insulting and disrespectful to both the people and the process.

It is, however, hard to fault Lingle’s cold logic. The truth is she would fare better debating Democrats than a real Republican.

But, not even the poor performance of our incumbent Governor can erase Lingle’s equally dreary 40% approval rating when she left office after 8 years. As a self-avowed RINO (Republican In Name Only) there is also a large roster of issues that she is on the wrong side of when it comes to conservative Republicans.

Organized church groups who abhor Lingle’s strong pro-choice advocacy are enough to send her packing by themselves, if they choose to assert their values in the primary. Many other Republicans felt betrayed by Lingle’s abandonment of the Taxpayer’s Protection Pledge when she backed tax increases on tobacco and let the huge rail tax surcharge become law. This year she isn’t even going to pretend to sign the pledge. Those are just two volatile issues she wants to sweep under the rug, as she attempts to get her candidacy rubber-stamped in a tightly cloistered Republican Primary.

Many party members also remember the disintegration of the State Republican Party when Lingle was its chairman, and the substantial losses of numbers in both the House and Senate. Lingle was accused of using the party as her own campaign organization and starving off money and support to all the “lesser” candidates. As governor, after her election, Lingle went right back to ignoring the party; she even openly opposed party platform items like opposition to the Akaka Bill.

By simply ducking public debates with a superbly qualified opponent in the Republican primary, Lingle is further validating the accusation the she is simply a “Republican” out of convenience. When the elected Chairman of the State Republican Party, Jonah Kaauwai, was run off by Lingle supporters late last year, it was obvious that she was simply turning the party apparatus back into her personal election organization.

With all the major Republican presidential candidates, and local Democratic Senatorial candidates committed to public debates, Lingle owes it to Republicans to come out from behind her media facade and debate John Carroll. She owes them more than that too…some real anwers to the questions she’ll be asked.

(Note: link to StarAdvertiser blog: