It is not my intent for this blog to focus solely on local Hawaii politics. All the same, elections are coming up, and we have a huge amount at stake. That is obvious for the US as a whole, but for Hawaii the stakes are higher than usual. We are not called America's bluest state for nothing. Democrats have dominated both congressional districts for many years. And two of the US Senate's most senior members, both democrats, hail from Hawaii. So there is often relatively little drama, at least as far as who we send to Washington.
But now we have Republican Charles Djou, winner of a special election in May, looking to cement that victory by winning outright in November. As is usually the case with Republican newbies, Djou has all of Boehner's talking points down (a little party discipline is a good thing, right?).
I see Djou is harping about what he calls out of control spending. On Fox News (where else?) he makes the claim that the stimulus has failed. This is quite a remarkable statement. Even a cursory media review shows that the people who insist the stimulus has failed almost always have three things in common: One) Merely saying the stimulus has failed is an unproven assertion. They offer no real evidence or suggestion as to how they so easily arrive at what in reality is a complex issue; Two) There is a complete failure to consider, even with what the Great Depression has already shown, how the economy would have fared without the stimulus; and Three) The claimant is almost always a Republican politician or political operative, arguably the most biased view on a Democratic stimulus package, that one can possibly find. So consider the source's motives.
This doesn't prove the anti-stimulus critics, including Djou, are wrong, but merely asserting the stimulus failed is pretty weak. There is a host of economists, including those who have won that little thingie, what is it now? Oh yeah, the Nobel Prize, who say the stimulus was absolutely needed, and it needed to be larger.
Unfortunately, President Obama, and many Democrats in Congress, have failed to respond with sufficient vigor. Remember that for many members of our beloved electorate, you must not merely state your case-- you must repeat it incessantly. Too many democrats still figure that if an opponent's charge is wrong, it is best to ignore it. Republicans understand that repeated assertions, given enough time, become accepted truth. Remember how Senator Kerry refused to dignify the idiotic smears of the swift boaters? The accepted wisdom was that he would only call attention to the issue, and possibly look petty, if he complained about it. Good advice for daily life, but Republicans interpret it as weakness, and it only serves to embolden them.
Democrats have not learned their lessons. Djou is learning his; get your party's talking points and repeat them endlessly.