Thursday, July 24, 2014         


 Print   Email   Comment | View 21 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Revered, shrewd Inouye masterplanned to the end

By Richard Borreca


U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s life gave meaning to the title “The Greatest Generation.”

It was the courage of the veterans of the Second World War that earned the title, but it was the actual details of the lives of men and women like Inouye who made and defined that generation.

His death last week serves also as a capstone to the history of Hawaii’s deservedly famous World War II Regimental Combat Team.

Their bravery in Europe was matched only by their political skill in Hawaii as they reworked the American Territory and newest American state into a progressive  Democratic stronghold.

Inouye was Hawaii, and his political life shaped the state. First elected to Congress when Hawaii added the 50th star to our flag, he served first in the House of Representatives and then the Senate for 53 years.

Interestingly, Inouye was such a force in local politics that his own future chairing the Senate Appropriations Committee was one of the reasons cited by local voters who wanted to support GOP former Gov. Linda Lingle, but did not want to see Inouye displaced.

Ironically last week in Washington, two senators, Patrick Leahy and Tom Harkin, according to the Congressional Quarterly, both turned down the post. Leahy said he would rather stay on as Judiciary chairman and Harkin announced that he would remain as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Although described by the national media as quiet and unassuming, Inouye was consumed with both national politics and the machinery of the nation’s budget. Few knew Inouye took an almost propriety interest in the goings-on back in Honolulu.

Like many combat veterans who served in Congress, Inouye believed in planning and management.

A congressional assistant once told me how Inouye, a great fan of aquariums, noticed that new fish had been introduced to his Washington, D.C., office tank.

“Inouye told his staff that no one was to ever put in anything, not a fish, a snail or a plant, without his approval,” the aide recalled.

Hawaii political aspirants soon learned that Inouye’s nod would be an immeasurably valuable endorsement. And failure to have the Inouye stamp of approval would hurt much more than not having a “union-made” stamp on campaign brochures.

So it was not surprising that Inouye would carefully plan for his own successor. Hours before his death, two trusted associates hand-delivered a letter from Inouye to Gov. Neil Abercrombie asking as his last request that U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa be appointed to take his place in the United States Senate.

Hanabusa is a political power on her own, but early on she had Inouye’s support. While serving as Senate president, Hanabusa met privately with Inouye and reportedly was told that he wanted her as his successor.

Admirers point to Hanabusa’s brains and political savvy, adding that her “heart is Hawaiian.”

If seniority still counts in the Senate, a speedy appointment of Hanabusa this year would mean that, if even by just a few weeks, Hanabusa would be sworn into the Senate before U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono takes her place in the Senate in January.

That would make Hanabusa Hawaii’s senior senator and, in a final irony, Inouye gets the last word.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 21 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Changalang wrote:
Senator Inouye's master plan did not envision a Hawaii where he would no longer be there to take care of us. Hawaii went from handing out all the pork to starting from scratch under this plan. He told Akkaka that his time was up, never properly weighting that both of their times were up in one year. Sad, but true. Now, Hawaii is screvved at a time in history when Federal dollars mean fiscal life and death for States without any pull. Perhaps we need a new way FORWARD without a Master.
on December 23,2012 | 06:52AM
allie wrote:
well put. I know I am a young outsider in this provincial place but it is hard not to see that hawaii was Inouye's plantation. He ruled with an iron hand and kept people in fear with his ability to use tax payer money to reward-or punish-as a means to control. I am sure he is a heroic figures. That said, it is long past time to move on to a real democracy out here.
on December 23,2012 | 07:37AM
Changalang wrote:
Many on the plantation who have generational placement in power positions in Hawaii business, non-profit, and government entities are so accustomed to the culture that they don't know what freedom of choice is, or that they are the luna that enslaves their own children in a ruling model that could only be held in place by the tributes Inouye brought back home to feed the Machine. Hawaii will be forced to evolve now. Senate seniority cuts both ways. There is resentment in the Senators that were just under Inouye in seniority that are craving for payback to Hawaii, even though their eulogy statements give no indications of such. The Senate is and always has been bloodsport. It will only get bloodier as the pie of Federal funding shrinks. Alaska's kind words will be forgotten by the newbies despite Madame M's old alliances; guaranteed, unless we have Presidential and Senate Leader leverage in HER committee. The King is dead; long live the Queen.
on December 23,2012 | 09:49AM
allie wrote:
on December 23,2012 | 11:03AM
Wazdat wrote:
on December 23,2012 | 11:39AM
Wazdat wrote:
Agree, the truth hurts.
on December 23,2012 | 11:36AM
Lanikaula wrote:
Inouye was Hawaii, and his political life shaped the state. First elected to Congress when Hawaii added the 50th star to our flag, he served first in the House of Representatives and then the Senate for 53 years." Inouye was THE SHEPHERD for the BIG FIVE! Check the dates: right AFTER THE WAR! Dat's how he was able to garner so much $$$upport & power ALL THESE YEARS. Take note this is not just about Congressional politics, but CONTROL of ALL economics & politics here in hawaii. see: http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle/10125/17995/alcantara_index.pdf?sequence=1 INDEX Bureau of Insular Affairs. BIA First under War Department "...HSPA: established in 1895, first as an experimental station. Governed by five trustees, each representing one of the Big Five, who elect the president for the year, who serve as president by annual rotation. Thus the agencies held 9753 of the total 10,103 votes on policies...policies of the oligarchy were thus affected by the HSPA...In the 1940's, the Big Five officers and directors controlled 96% of the sugar companies, three irrigation, companies, three banks, five public utilities, four pineapple companies, two steamship companies, two newspapers, two insurance companies and seventeen other miscellaneous concerns...The territorial government was controlled in large part by the sugar interest...Thus, concluded the report, the centralization of control "is not confined to the sugar industry alone, but extends into practically every aspect of economic life of Hawaii." &Bu of Labor Statistics, Report, 1939, p. 196& WE ALL look forward to a more equitable hawaii now!
on December 23,2012 | 07:58AM
allie wrote:
agree with the sapient lani. Inouye was indeed shrewed for making anyone believe he was g for the little guy. His friends and backers were the rich and powerful. Maybe Hawaii can move toward real democracy here. Let us pray anyway
on December 23,2012 | 09:10AM
geralddeheer wrote:
Hawaii is not 'screwed'. The future is in our hands, presently, regardless. We can choose to be great or we can accept the mediocre. It is totally up to us. Senator Inouye was a great man. His death marks a turning point in our history. This is the time when we take our destiny firmly in our hands. When the People of Hawaii apply their hearts and minds we open ourselves to unlimited possibilities. Honor Dan Inouye's Life by maximizing our abilities, drive, and potential. He helped get us here. Now it is our time. Senators don't decide for us, unless we let them. Mahalo Senator Dan. The 'Greatest Generation' has set the bar...for us to soar over. Are we up for the challenge? I say yes. Now let's get to work.
on December 23,2012 | 08:07AM
Changalang wrote:
It all depends what we have to work with. The Greatest Generation applied an unsustainable cost curve and replaced the rules of Austrian economics with a hybrid that shifted the consequences of credit onto their own offspring that can only be coined as multi-generational indentured servitude. Greatest generation was only good at raising their generation's quality of life at the expense of the future generations. After all, Grandma and Grandpa earned it, right? Didn't they win a big war way back when? I remember by all the memorials and medal ceremonies. It is almost as if the Special Operators of today's military could never reach that level of honor. It is funny that yesterday's war heroes are measured by their wounds; yet today's war heroes stand in silence with kill counts that would raise the eyebrows of the hardest old school survivor.
on December 23,2012 | 09:57AM
Changalang wrote:
The economy left to the world via the philosophy of quantitative easing infinity. The central banks of the world are in a contest to see who will debase their own currency first and keep the exchange rate of their own currency at a pre-determined perfect low. Just look at the unfunded liability total at debtclock.org. No possible way to pay back the debt or even the interest on it. That is when geniuses notice that it isn't real. It is just a numeric expression of the full faith and credit of the United States of America as printed on the U.S. dollar. Then, geniuses realize that all the World's central banks are doing the same thing. Then, geniuses turned investor decide which brand of B5 they want to purchase with their share of full faith and credit notes. The world's investors buy U.S. Treasuries by preference for the best B5 the world's only fiat currency can buy. Nobody wants to be under America when it falls; so they invest in us, because they are worse off and smile knowing that the global depression has been masked by the world's biggest lie. New World Order economics dictates that if you can't fix it, pretend it ain't broke. Yesteryear, the saying was much different. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Adapt and prosper via new rules and opportunities without Federal pork from the Greatest Generation. To quote a great man's last words; "Aloha."
on December 23,2012 | 10:25AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
My thought is that the passing of the Old Guard moves more power into the hands of the lobbyists. Absent the Inouye horsepower (perhaps pork power is the better term) getting the earmarks will require broader coalitions of support and horse trading and that spells K Street. I imagine Squid Wattah & Company, among others, is salivating at the fee opportunities.
on December 23,2012 | 12:34PM
Changalang wrote:
It appears they had unfettered access to begin with and knew who and where to go to on the sly. Dan's death just kicked the ant hill. The lobbyist have to rebuild and remap and wonder if they are in and out as part of the payback of the new power players. I disagree and think it will slow thinks down. Am hearing of a lot of old access people retiring; perhaps to let sleeping dogs lie, or let sleeping lies not dog them later.
on December 23,2012 | 10:26PM
1assa wrote:
No wars, no promotions for todays military so wars will never end.
on December 23,2012 | 09:12PM
Changalang wrote:
Agree, it is time to focus our resources on nation building within our own borders for a change.
on December 23,2012 | 10:22PM
MBA_Guy wrote:
Right, but what if the U.S. is attacked? Do we just keep focusing on domestic issues, many of which are failing or struggling at best.
on December 25,2012 | 05:18AM
Tropicboy wrote:
Now that Inouye is gone, it will be interesting to see if any of the dirt he, his staff and political cronies have covered up for years comes out. Long ago he was a war hero but he eventually sold out and became part of the corrupt culture in Washington DC. Being in a senior Senate leadership position for many years, he bears much of the blame for the sad state of affairs now found in the US.
on December 23,2012 | 01:16PM
Lanikaula wrote:
it already has since the beginning...SEE ABOVE
on December 23,2012 | 03:23PM
allie wrote:
true..he was not at all for the little man. He was tied to big money, big military and big development
on December 24,2012 | 06:46AM
Malani wrote:
Do we really need to have any uncovered dirt revealed? How would you like it if the people you hired and after your passing tell us all the dirt you accumulated? Dirt or dirt Inouye brought Hawaii alot of money and for this to happen again will take many years to build. The fact that he was well liked help get this money for Hawaii so I say leave the dirt where it belongs.
on December 26,2012 | 07:35AM
Smiley7 wrote:
My dear late friend CSM Yin told me this story long ago about his mother calling the Senator's office not to complain but to remark how she believed in her sons serving in the military but how nice it would be to have her sons home for the holidays. No sooner said than done though stationed all different parts of the world, all sons were brought home for a 30 day leave to spend with Mom and family. Back in 1970, I was making $76 a month and the only way I was coming home was at government's expense. Merry Christmas to all!
on December 24,2012 | 04:30AM
Latest News/Updates