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Silver linings around the 2012 election clouds -- A few happy consequences for Hawaii conservatives flowing from the defeat of Republicans Lingle, Djou, Crowley, and Romney

(c) November 11, 2012 by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

About three weeks before the general election of 2012 I published a webpage of recommendations for voters who oppose Hawaiian racial separatism.
Now that the election is finished, it's time to analyze the results.

Hawaii supporters of unity, equality, and aloha for all -- i.e., opponents of racial separatism and Hawaiian racial entitlements -- are generally not happy with the results of the 2012 election. Far-left Democrats have been elected to the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and U.S. Presidency who support a culture of dependency based on assertions of victimhood. They support government handouts, identity politics, special rights based on race, communal land ownership, the Akaka bill, and the Hawaiian state-recognized tribe. Some Republicans have been defeated who generally support individual rights and responsibilities, budget cuts, smaller government, and a strong military.

Norman Vincent Peale, born in the year of Hawaii's annexation to the United States, wrote a best-selling book entitled "The Power of Positive Thinking." There's an old saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining. Let's look for some of those silver linings in the dark clouds of the 2012 election, so we can be empowered by positive thoughts about a better future.


One cloud is that Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney. The silver lining is that we need not waste our time trying to persuade and cajole a vacillating, unsteady President Romney to take a firm stand against the Akaka bill.

With Obama we know exactly where we stand. Senator Barack Obama gave a speech on the Senate floor on June 7, 2006 strongly supporting the Akaka bill, and the following day he voted in favor of a cloture motion to bring the bill to the floor for passage.
During Obama's campaign in 2008, and throughout his first term as President, he repeatedly made public statements supporting the Akaka bill, and had Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar send letters to Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell in support.
Obama's support for the Akaka bill is diametrically opposite to the values he proclaimed in speeches during his campaign of 2008, as well as the integrationist attitudes of the black civil rights movement. See "Open letter to President Obama regarding the Akaka bill" at
But Obama is an unprincipled arrogant power-chasing politician before he is a principled philosopher or scholar. He supports the Akaka bill because it fits right in with his polarization of the American people along lines of race, social class, and real or imagined historical grievance; and because virtually every politician in his Democrat Party supports it. We need not waste our time and limited resources trying to persuade Obama to change his mind about the Akaka bill.

By contrast, Mitt Romney has never made any publicly noted comment about the Akaka bill. During Republican Party primary debates he described himself as "severely conservative"; thus we might expect Romney to oppose the Akaka bill, especially under pressure from leading Republican Senators and conservative commentators who strongly oppose it.

But Romney is noted for flip-flopping on major issues, including moral/legal matters such as abortion and the individual mandate for health insurance. Romney is even more of a flip-flopper than two other notable Republican flip-floppers whose views on the Akaka bill were often in doubt: John McCain and George W. Bush. Because of Romney's reputation as a flip-flopper, it would have been necessary to spend a lot of time and money working to persuade him to oppose the Akaka bill and to ensure that his opposition remained steady. Thus, a silver lining in the fact that Romney lost the election is that we no longer need to worry about trying to influence the President to oppose the Akaka bill; and instead we can devote those resources to ensuring that our Republican friends who oppose the Akaka bill will continue to oppose it and to educate their newly elected Republican colleagues.

To understand the significance of this silver lining in the dark cloud of Romney's loss, let's briefly review the astounding amount of effort that was needed to ensure that Senator McCain and President Bush would end up opposing the Akaka bill when crunchtime came.

Senator John McCain exhibited flip-flopping on the Akaka bill during the crucial 109th Congress, when he was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In January 2005 McCain, the new chairman of the committee, said "While I still have concerns with this legislation, I will not block its consideration on the Senate floor if that's the will of this panel." Stephens Washington Bureau said "At the panel's first meeting of the year, McCain listed the Native Hawaiian bill among the committee's priorities. He said he also will convene hearings on Indian health care, trust reform, tribal recognition and Indian gaming." In March the committee passed the bill. On June 29 the Honolulu Advertiser reported: "Akaka's bill picked up additional Republican support yesterday with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., saying he will vote for it on the floor. McCain, who had raised questions about the bill in the past, said he will vote for the bill primarily because it has the support of so many Hawai'i officials, including Republican Gov. Linda Lingle. "Here in Washington, it's hard for us to go against the view of the governor, the Legislature Republican and Democrat the senators and the congressmen," said McCain, chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee." In August 2005 a cloture petition was filed to overcome a Republican block against the bill; but Hurricane Katrina blew it off the Senate calendar until the following year. In June 2006 a new cloture petition was filed. There were about 6 hours of debate on the Senate floor during a two-day period regarding the cloture motion. Senator McCain voted yes on the cloture motion in favor of bringing the Akaka bill to the floor; but he had been bound to vote yes because of an agreement made between several Democrats and several Republicans in 2004 to stop blocking each others' bills. Cloture fell short by 4 votes. Leading up to the cloture vote it was unclear how McCain would vote on the bill itself if it survived cloture. But a last-minute letter from McCain's fellow Viet Nam prisoner of war Jerry Coffee finally elicited McCain's public statement of opposition to the bill. News reports providing details on all the events in this paragraph are compiled at

President Bush (the younger) spent six years giving conflicting signals on the Akaka bill, including having high-ranking officials in the departments of Justice and Interior engage in negotiations with the Hawaii delegation about the wording of the Akaka bill (thus indicating likely acceptance of the basic concept of racial separatism). In the end, the day before the cloture vote President Bush sent a publicized letter to Senator Jeff Sessions pledging to veto the Akaka bill. But Bush's vacillation for six years, including his apparent acceptance of the principle of racial separatism, caused great anguish and a need for massive expenditures of time and money by opponents of the bill. See Bush Administration Actions and Statements on Akaka Bill, 2001-2008" at

We will never know how Romney would have dealt with the Akaka bill if he had been elected. But in view of his flip-flopping on major moral and legal issues, and his background as a problem-solving practical businessman accustomed to negotiation rather than a steadfast defender of fundamental principles, we would probably have been faced with the same sort of doubt and uncertainty as when Senator John McCain and President George W. Bush were dealing with the Akaka bill. So perhaps we're better off spending our resources to fight in the open to ensure that a known supporter of the bill, President Obama, will never see the bill cross his desk; rather than trying to figure out the proclivities of a vacillating flip-flopper (Romney) and constantly lobbying his aides and fellow Republicans to cajole him to oppose the bill. Romney's defeat allows us to concentrate our resources on ensuring that our Republican friends in the Senate and House continue to block the bill.


One cloud is that the U.S. Senate, which Republicans had hoped to dominate, will have only 45 Republicans facing 53 Democrats and two independents (who will most likely caucus with the Democrats).

The silver lining is that the Republicans can block the Akaka bill as they have been doing for many years, and it takes 60 votes for cloture to force the bill past a hold or filibuster.

The silver lining is tarnished by the fact that the Democrats have always voted unanimously in support of the Akaka bill, and that a few left-leaning Republicans have crossed over to vote with the Democrats. With all 53 Democrats plus two independents likely to vote in favor of cloture, it only requires 5 Republicans to reach the total of 60 votes required to move the bill to the floor for a final decision, where only 51 votes are needed to pass it.

The tarnish is somewhat polished away by the fact that a couple of the Republicans who are now gone either supported the Akaka bill or were not reliable opponents of it, so their replacement by Democrats poses no additional threat to the Akaka bill. Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who retired, supported Hawaiian racial entitlements when she was chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship during the early 2000s, and voted with the Democrats in favor of cloture on the Akaka bill in 2006. Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, who lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, often voted with the Democrats on social issues and seemed to have a romanticized view about "indigenous" people as shown by the fact that he named his daughter "Ayla" (the heroine of Jean Auel's book "Clan of the Cave Bear").

The polishing away of tarnish is somewhat hindered by the fact that the Democrat majority leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, has been making noises in the days following the election about modifying the rules of the Senate to weaken the right of minority Senators to block bills by placing holds on them or filibustering them. Senator Reid made similar noises two years ago, but there were no changes in the Senate rules. However, this time around things might turn out differently because the public mood is very hostile toward the gridlock in Congress, and the Democrats are feeling energized by their victory in the Presidential election and by the increase in the number of Democrats in both the House and Senate.

The silver lining is also brightened by the fact that the most stalwart opponent of the Akaka bill, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl who is retiring, has been replaced by Republican Jeff Flake, who has an excellent track record of leading the opposition to the Akaka bill as a member of the House of Representatives when the bill passed the House with its Democrat majority in 2010.

Other Republicans who have a record of strongly opposing the Akaka bill and have high seniority remain in the Senate, including Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, Orrin Hatch, James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, and others.


A small cloud is that the U.S. House in 2013 will have a slightly smaller majority of Republicans than in 2012.

The huge silver lining is that the Republican majority remains a comfortable one. In 2012 there were 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats. As of Sunday November 11, 2012 the Boston Globe counted 233 Republicans and 194 Democrats with 8 contests still undecided. Estimated final outcome is around 235-200.

Since Republicans hold the majority, therefore all the committee chairs will be Republican. The committee that has jurisdiction over the Akaka bill is Natural Resources. Its chairman, Doc Hastings, easily won re-election and will remain chairman of the committee. In 2009-2010, when the Democrats held power and Hastings was the ranking member, he strongly opposed the Akaka bill at the time when Hawaii Representative Neil Abercrombie forced the Akaka bill through the committee and then the full House. Chairman Hastings has the power to keep the bill bottled up so that it never comes to a committee vote and never has a chance to get to the floor of the House. Also, if Senator Inouye succeeds in attaching the Akaka bill as a rider to another bill, or incorporating it by reference in another bill, Doc Hastings would likely be given the right to appoint a member of the House/Senate conference committee that would have the power to remove such language from the final version.


A small cloud is that the Senator who won the Hawaii election to replace retiring Democrat Dan Akaka is Democrat Mazie Hirono. She pushed the Akaka bill as a member of the House of Representatives and has pledged to continue pushing it as a Senator.

Part of the silver lining is that Senator Hirono will be an ineffective back-bencher. She's an arrogant far-left machine Democrat, whose work in the House of Representatives and whose previous political activity in Hawaii show that she is incapable of thinking or speaking more deeply than superficial Democrat talking-points.

The great brightness in the silver lining is the fact that Republican candidate Linda Lingle lost, and by the landslide margin of 62%-37%. She will not be in the Senate working tirelessly inside the Republican caucus to persuade her fellow Republicans to abandon their opposition to the Akaka bill; and her credibility among national Republicans is greatly reduced by her landslide defeat. Lingle's credibility is further reduced by the fact that national Republicans wasted millions of dollars they sent to help her campaign on account of her persuading them that she could actually win.

Throughout her 8 years as Governor, Linda Lingle made the Akaka bill her top federal priority. She constantly contacted the Republican President and Republican Senators to lobby for the Akaka bill. She made numerous trips to Washington to do that, twice testifying before the Committee on Indian Affairs, personally meeting Senators on the floor during quorum calls, spending an overnight in the White House while lobbying President Bush, etc. She spoke to the Kamehameha Schools alumni association, telling them they could rely on her to push the Akaka bill and Hawaiian racial entitlements because, as an active member of Hadassah, she supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish nation and she therefore recognizes that Native Hawaiians have the same right to self-determination. On August 2, 2005 a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a 2-1 decision in the case of Doe v. Kamehameha Schools. This decision ruled that the schools' racially exclusionary admissions policy is illegal. On August 6, 2005 there was a huge protest rally of about 15,000 people at 'Iolani Palace (seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawai'i). The protesters wore red shirts with the slogan "Ku I Ka Pono" (Stand up for justice). Governor Lingle attended the rally, wearing the red shirt with slogan over her heart, and gave a speech in favor of Kamehameha's segregationist admission policy and denouncing the court's decision. Among the things that made her action remarkable is that the State of Hawaii was not a party to the lawsuit, so there was no reason for the Governor to take sides except that she wanted to show solidarity with Hawaiian sovereignty activists. For many more details about Lingle's zealotry in supporting the Akaka bill, see

Both Hirono and Lingle strongly support the Akaka bill. But as a Republican, Lingle could have done something Hirono will never be able to do. Lingle would have worked from inside the Republican caucus to undermine Republican opposition to the bill. The only reason why the Akaka bill has never been enacted into law is that Republicans in the Senate have blocked it for 12 years. Thus it would have been dangerous to have Lingle sitting in the Republican caucus, eating lunch and exchanging thoughts, feelings, and promises with her fellow Republican colleagues. Hirono poses no such threat. Republicans will simply ignore Hirono.

Adding some brightness to the silver lining of Lingle's defeat is the fact that Romney lost the election for President. Lingle did a lot of work supporting the national Republican Party in previous years, including actively campaigning for the McCain/Palin ticket in 2008 as a surrogate for Mrs. Palin. And Lingle was an honorary co-chair of the Jewish Americans for Romney Coalition in 2012. If Romney had become President, he probably would have appointed the unemployed Linda Lingle to a high post in the Romney administration. Lingle might even have become Secretary of Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs where Lingle might have figured out how to add "Native Hawaiians" to the list of federally recognized tribes.

Adding a little more luster to the silver lining of Lingle's loss is the fact that Hawaii Republicans and businesses, and the national Republican Party and some powerful Republican-oriented PACs reportedly spent a total of more than $5 Million supporting Lingle's failed campaign. They spent that money on Lingle, rather than other candidates nationwide, because she convinced them that she had a real chance to ensure a Republican majority in the Senate by winning her contest against Hirono. And then Lingle lost in a landslide, 62%-37%. Surely national Republicans will not be happy that she persuaded them to waste their money on her. Thus her standing and influence in the Republican Party will be greatly reduced, making it less likely that she can reach out effectively, even from her political grave, to get Senate Republicans to stop blocking the Akaka bill.


A small cloud is that both of the Republican candidates for the two Hawaii seats in the U.S. House of Representatives lost the election.

But both of those Republicans strongly favored the Akaka bill, and one of them (Kawika Crowley) actually went so far as to announce his support for total secession to make Hawaii an independent nation.

So the silver lining in the defeat of those two Republicans is similar to the silver lining in the defeat of Linda Lingle. The Democrats who won those two House seats will be favoring the Akaka bill and Hawaiian racial entitlements; but at least they will not be working from inside the Republican caucus to undermine Republican opposition to those things. For more details about Republican candidates Charles Djou and Kawika Crowley, and their support not only for the Akaka bill but also for Hawaiian racial entitlements, see

The silver lining is greatly brightened by the fact that Republicans will have a very comfortable majority in the House; and both seats were already held by Democrats anyway. Charles Djou held a House seat for a few months at the end of 2010 only because the Democrat vote was split between two candidates in a three-way winner-take-all election to replace Neil Abercrombie who had resigned to run for Governor. Before that, the last time any Hawaii House seat was held by a Republican was more than 20 years ago (Pat Saiki).


The cloud in the legislature is that conservative Republicans remain vastly outnumbered by liberal Democrats. The House will be 44-7 (a loss of one Republican), and the Senate will remain 24-1.

The silver lining in the legislature is that the lone Republican in the Senate, Sam Slom, is a strong opponent of the Akaka bill and the Act 195 state-recognized Akaka tribe. He has many years of experience in the Senate, and knows "the ropes." He will be effective in discovering and publicizing state transfers of money, land, and jurisdictional authority to the tribe.

The cloud in the OHA elections is that all 5 seats (out of 9) decided in this election will be filled by strong supporters of the Akaka bill and racial entitlements. Four of those five seats had the incumbents re-elected, while the fifth seat was open due to a retirement.

The silver lining is that Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., placed third out of six candidates for the at-large seat. Dr. Akina is an opponent of the Akaka bill, and an opponent of the race-based state-recognized Akaka tribe. This was the first time he has run for office, so it is a sign of great strength that he placed ahead of the (in)famous radical activist Walter Ritte, and behind only two very well-known opponents Haunani Apoliona (who has served on the OHA board for 20 years and was its chair for 10, and who outspent him 4-1) and Cal Lee (well-known highly popular football coach who outspent him 2-1). Dr. Akina received 37,343 votes, and every one of those votes is from citizens who voted for him specifically because of his opposition to the Akaka bill and to racially exclusionary entitlement programs.


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