As candidates wrap up the 2010 election with their grand rallies, it’s a good time for a grand "flASHback" to recap campaign moments that amused and confused:
-The Office of Elections invited Hawaii residents to become permanent absentee voters. It’s kind of a halfway house for the permanently absent.
-James "Duke" Aiona got strong support for governor from TV evangelist Pat Robertson, who declared, "Aiona — what an attractive man!" Win or lose, he’s a shoo-in for Mr. November on the "700 Club" swimsuit calendar.
-Democratic rival Neil Abercrombie turned his 72nd birthday into a campaign event. He promised to cut state spending 20 percent by using his AARP discount.
-As the battle to succeed her raged, Gov. Linda Lingle beefed up her GOP credentials with an eye toward national politics. From now on, she wants to be called Linda W. Lingle.
-A swarm of legislators battled it out for lieutenant governor. Never did so many fight so hard for the right to contribute so little.
-U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye tried to inject some fun into the election. He hosted a rally that featured a saimin eating contest, a bon dance-off and a game of pin the tail on Ed Case.
-Republican Cam Cavasso ran TV spots asking voters if they thought he was crazy for running against Inouye. It was cheaper than paying a shrink to find out.
-U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, 86, got a jump on the next election, announcing, "God willing, I plan to run again in 2012." Dan Inouye will let him know soon if he’s willing.
-U.S. Rep. Charles Djou vowed in TV ads that he won’t let the establishment turn him into something he’s not. There are so many things he’s not, the establishment wouldn’t know where to start.
-Djou’s opponent, Colleen Hanabusa, ran her own TV spots asserting that "what you see is what you get." There was a special version for campaign donors: "You get what you pay for."
– Djou and Hanabusa accused each other of having "gone Washington." Unfortunately, after the election we’ll have to take one of them back.
-Teachers union president Wil Okabe claimed an appointed Board of Education would take control of public education "away from the people." Only modesty prevented him from substituting "union" for "people."
-Donors poured more than $10 million into the governor’s race and over $5 million into the 1st Congressional District contest. More proof that buying and selling politicians is Hawaii’s most recession-proof industry.
And the quote of the campaign … from former Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a speech to the Carpenters Union: "When I look in the audience, I look like you, you look like me. Is that a right thing to say?" Uh, no.
David Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com or blog.volcanicash.net.