Column: ‘Good old boys’ replace political parties
Former Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Richard Port recently mocked the state Legislature’s leadership with the term “Republicrats,” a clever dirty-paintbrush associating leaders who disappointed him with our steadfast minority political party (“‘Republicrats’ failed workers by not raising minimum wage,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 20).
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Former Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Richard Port recently mocked the state Legislature’s leadership with the term “Republicrats,” a clever dirty-paintbrush associating leaders who disappointed him with our steadfast minority political party (“‘Republicrats’ failed workers by not raising minimum wage,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 20). This casual use of our Republican Party’s name works as a kind of slur in Hawaii, I guess, because we are a “blue state” and have been ruled by Democrats so long that public personages feel at ease maligning each other like this.
Yet more than 120,000 of our fellow citizens voted for President Donald Trump, and a steadfast cohort of Republicans continue to compete for many of our public offices every two years. How can so many people be so wrong that their party name, “Republican,” can be used as a kind of curse?
Republicans in Hawaii stand for liberty, for patriotism, and for the right and opportunity to earn a living in Hawaii Nei. We stand against monopoly, against concentrated use of the coercive power of government for private ends, and for the rights of Hawaii’s citizens to secure housing, food, clothing, medical care and education free of onerous conditions imposed by monopolies.
So, we are FOR an exemption to the Jones Act to reduce our shipping costs. We are FOR the right of parents to direct the education of their children. We are FOR the tradesman and businessman earning a living and employing fellow citizens with little interference. We are FOR a lower cost of living with special regard to regulations, excessive taxation and cumbersome restrictions on the use of private property. We are FOR the protection of property and everyday citizens’ lives against crime.
We are AGAINST onerous permitting and other hindrances to housing construction that have led to out-migration of local people by the tens of thousands, and to the scandal of homelessness. We are AGAINST the willful taking of innocent life. We are AGAINST the state’s nearly 100-year failure to provide Native Hawaiians with the homelands promised by Prince Kuhio. And we are AGAINST corruption in public agencies.
Mr. Port and others recently lamented the Legislature’s “refusal” to raise the minimum wage. The fact is the Legislature is no longer run by the Democratic Party.
A steady and subtle change over the years has deprived all political parties of their power to influence legislators. Instead a kind of “good old boy (and girl)” network of connected legislative victors, spreading campaign funds around among their proteges and listening primarily to established business, union, development and ideological- agitation interests, has sidelined both political parties. The incumbents, beholden to giant oligopolies in health care, transportation, government-service unions, education, businesses and banking, have achieved a virtual lock on our state government.
Don’t forget that Hawaii has voted overwhelmingly for Republican leaders in the past, and will do so again. It is likely no accident that numerous scandalous miscreants in public and union office have been uncovered as the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now led by an appointee of the Republican Party. Even a recent state attorney general expressed shock and astonishment at the extent of public corruption. I wonder what he was doing that these things were not found out before?
Hawaii will wise up one day soon and discover that a republic is not a dirty word — and that a small state such as ours needs representation from both parties, in D.C. and on Beretania Street, if our public servants are to be accountable and transparent, and to truly serve the people.
Boyd Ready chairs the standing committee on issues, programs and platform for the Republican Party of Hawaii; the opinions expressed here are his own.