Monday, November 3, 2008

GETTING CATTY

GETTING CATTY: The password today is “historic”..

And the voters are damn near hysteric as apoplectic mobs besiege the polls. It should be ingratiating for those of us that have spent their lives trying to drag voters to the polls.

But our cynicism and curmudgeonly nature- gleaned of years of actually paying attention to the election cycles- is undulled even as the hopeful, youthful folly plays itself out.

“Bet you’re gonna vote this time, hippie” t-shirts notwithstanding, those expecting that their candidate will dismantle the war machine, repeal the Patriot Act, end the drug war, ban corporate personhood, re-regulate environmental and financial institutions, invest in non-fossil fuel technologies and institute social and economic justice for all are in for a rude awakening.

It still amazes us how voters- and this year that apparently includes all the non-voters who will be voting- listen their candidate and when he or she fails to articulate all these types of things, thinks that something along the lines of “oh, they’re just saying that to get elected – once they’re in office they’ll do all that great stuff.”

But the only ones that actually claim that Obama will be a progressive savior is his opponents. If all the claims that John McCain and his surrogates made- Obama's a radical leftist, he’s a socialist, he’ll cut war funding, he’ll stop new coal-power plants, he’ll tax and rich and give to the poor, he’ll spend and spend on new social programs- we might actually vote for him.

Nonetheless, the lines will snake for miles tomorrow as people flock to try to overwhelm the widely reported vote stealing.

The presidential landslide that will actually occur tomorrow- a 60-40 split or more is likely despite the seven or eight percent victory the pundits are predicting- will astonish the pollsters who are busy with their “likely voter” and “no cell phone” (meaning no one under 30) surveys... even as we remain “shocked shocked”.

People who generally don’t even know, much less care what’s going on every other year on the first Tuesday in November are phenomenally well acquainted with it this time and are swept up projecting their own hopes on the blank screen of Obama.

Their yearnings meander across their consciousnesses, propelling them to their voting precinct like their asses were on fire.

And they will also be showing up on left-leaning Kaua`i in even greater percentages than arguably any other county in the country.

Now this would, you would think, bode well for the more progressive candidate in tomorrow’s mayoral election here.

Here are the pertinent numbers from the primary elections

The turnout in the primary- where not one of these new voters showed up- was less than half. Only 17,941 out of 38,874 (46.2%) registered voters showed up on September 20.

Of those 7,144 (39.8%) voted for Bernard Carvalho and 5,374 (30.0%) voted for JoAnn Yukimura

So the question is how does Yukimura make up a 1770 vote difference?

The Honolulu pundits from Dan Boylan to Jerry Burris and Richard Borreca all have said it comes down to the Mel Rapozo vote who got 4,360 (24.3%) votes but that comes from not knowing their ass from their elbows unless it’s conventional wisdom, especially about Kaua`i.

Rapozo voters- those who voted for him based on more than the fact his name is Rapozo--or more rightly that THEIR name is Rapozo- are most likely split down the middle.

They undoubtedly disliked Mayor Bryan Baptiste, the target of Rapozo’s “investigations” and often ridicule, so they would not be voting for his legacy in the person of Carvalho.

But the ire Rapozo directed diagonally across the council table toward Yukimura at weekly meetings over the past four years was palpable. And if it was a bit subdued at times that was made up for by Rapozo’s chief political council ally Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho. Her seething often teeth-baring and spittle-spewing hatred of Yukimura was a revulsion expressed only slightly more subtlety by Rapozo.

We could call Rapozo’s votes a toss up if it weren’t for one or the two thing that will lose this election for Yukimura.- there are a lot more JoAnn haters than just the Rapozo-Iseri crowd.

Over the last six weeks we’ve been at times stunned at how much she is reviled not just by the revolving-door old-boy-network and their supporters but among the progressive crowd, much of it based what many call the two faces of JoAnn.

One face talks about how horrible council secrecy and hidden county attorney opinions are while the other performs the nuts and bolts actions that keeps them that way.

One face claims to want to keep Kaua`i residential neighborhoods in residential use by keeping out vacation rentals and the other “grandfathers” the existing ones into a bill to stop new ones, rather than seeking enforcement of the state law that banned them all along

One face promotes smart growth and rational development, the other face takes a thousands acres and single-handedly allows the developers to decrease the density so that, what would have been mid-market-priced housing is now re-zoned for multi million dollar luxury homes... and she even helped them raise the money to pay for the internal development infrastructure by shepherding through a bill that eventually created a county bond issue to pay for the facilities at Kukui`ula.

Yukimura will do well to just get 50% of the Rapozo voters but even if she got 55% that’s only 436 votes.

She’s still need 1344 more votes than Carvalho gets from the “new” voters.

And assuming even an extraordinary 75% turnout in the general election she would have to get them from an extra 9710 votes.

That means she would need nearly 57% of those voters who didn’t vote in the primaries. And that’s if you assume incorrectly that all of that huge difference in turnout between the primary and the general elections are new voters.

Many will be regular voters who skipped the primary because the only things on the ballot were eliminating one viable mayoral candidate and eight of the 21 council aspirants with both races to be finalized in November.

If only a third of them are regular voters- an average in keeping with past increases over the primaries- that 57% soars, approaching perhaps 60% or more of the “new” voters as the number of regular voters increases.. all assuming an even split of the “regulars”.

But it becomes really difficult to see how she gets those votes because of the other factor- the campaign she has run

Despite urging from many her supporters, her campaign has been devoid of an exposition detailing the actual record of blithering incompetence Bernard Carvalho has left behind in the last six year- a record we barely scraped the surface of last week.

Only in the final days has she brought up one of them, the Kaua`i Lagoons debacle, giving new meaning to the term too little too late.

Perhaps her greatest blunder was letting Carvalho define the race, even agreeing with him that the issue is one of “leadership”..

Quite obviously Yukimura’s internal poll showed this word to be the biggest issue in the election and, consummate politician she has become, she went with it.

But it was the only issue Bernard had... as a matter of fact it’s been virtually the only word he ever speaks on the stump..

Then she chose to cloak the leadership quality that she had and Bernard didn’t as “experience”. She could have been detailing all of the horrors of the Baptiste Administration and linking Carvalho to them thereby becoming the candidate of “change”.

But by stressing her experience she also stressed to voters her position as the “establishment” candidate, in essence taking on the burden of the ire of those who are dissatisfied with the current county governance and generally can’t and don’t distinguish between the council and administration

And she did this in what everyone has known for a long time was a year of “change” elections.

Yukimura knew she needed to get a virtual landslide of votes from those new wild–eye new voters flocking to the polls to vote against “experience” and for “hope”.

But she chose to not only fail to define the race as one she would win, she actually agreed to her opponent’s definition, being quoted repeatedly as saying “leadership is the biggest issue in this election”.

When Yukimura lost the ’94 mayoral election she apparently learned the wrong lesson. She assumed that fighting for what she believed in was what caused her to be a political liability to herself so she went out to recreate herself as the perfect politician

The sad truth is that she is not that kind of person at heart and no matter how hard she tries she cannot really sell out her own ideals as a consummate pol must do.

She wound up being transparent in her hypocrisy, one thing the public won’t stand for no matter which side of the political isle you sit on.

In trying to become all things to all people she has become nothing to anyone except a member of the old guard who, no matter what she says or does, cannot dig herself out of the hole she dug herself into.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the rest of JoAnn’s political life and if she wants to she can reassemble the progressive activist roots from which she came.

We “hope” it’s never too late for another “change”.

1 comment:

Nonyer Biz said...

JoAnn's problem mirrors Ron Kouchi's in one area. Arrogance. If you don't agree with her, she shuts down and is dismissive. Not a winning formula for a politician.

And the biggest problem is blue collar jobs. No growth kills many of those which guts her support from the developers all the way down to the guys operating the machinery and their families. Without another way for those folks to feed their families, her anti-growth agenda is a hard sell.\

But at least Kouchi gone. We'll see if Derek Kawakami is just a younger, fatter version.