comscore Aiona's U-turn on flu shots smacks of political hypocrisy
Lee Cataluna

Aiona’s U-turn on flu shots smacks of political hypocrisy

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Yesterday afternoon, Duke Aiona’s campaign sent out a big announcement: Duke got his flu shot.

Well, good for him that he was a brave boy about it. Too bad it won’t protect him from foot in mouth disease.

It was revealed last week (mahalo, Denby Fawcett) that the lieutenant governor and Republican candidate for governor was urging all of us to get our flu shots when all along he doesn’t believe in them and never got one.

"My comments about flu vaccine have been taken out of context and misconstrued by members of the media as well as supporters of my opponent’s campaign," he said in yesterday’s damage-control e-mail from his campaign PR department.

Oh, really? Here’s what he said defending his decision to avoid flu shots:

"I have read the literature on it, I have read the science on it, and I say it has some merit to it and I am not convinced that vaccines are more beneficial than harmful. But I don’t think in any way my personal views hamper our efforts to get people to get vaccinated. I encourage people to get vaccinated," he told KITV.

See for yourself:

He’s on video saying exactly those words. Nothing out of context there.

The really revealing thing wasn’t that Aiona was skipping flu shots. The point was he was advocating something he doesn’t believe in. Once someone is caught in that special brand of untruth, it brings everything else they say into question. Is it that easy to get him to say stuff? If you just hand him a script and put him in front of a microphone, will he say just anything, like a Saturday morning deejay at a car dealership?

Aiona has built his image on public service messages to stay healthy, almost to the detriment of his career. It’s as if all this guy cares about is an apple a day but not so much about, you know, issues and stuff. Is he telling us to eat our vegetables and stay active while snarfing KFC Double Downs for breakfast and sneaking cigarettes in the back room like Obama? What else is he saying that he doesn’t believe?

And then, when he’s busted on it, he goes against his beliefs and gets the shot. For political purposes. That doesn’t make it better. What else will he do just for political purposes?

There are many times when a public official has to force a smile, play nice and give pep talks even if they don’t feel particularly peppy. This wasn’t one of those times. This is plain old hypocrisy, which is just as bad for you as nicotine and katsu Spam for breakfast.

Lee Cataluna can be reached at


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