Wednesday, September 22, 2010


GREAT EXPECTORATIONS: By Sunday morning it had become “conventional wisdom” that Mufi Hannemann’s negative campaigning blew up in his face, some of the later praises of Democratic gubernatorial primary winner Neil Abercrombie’s campaign style notwithstanding.

Those who followed the campaign- and even those who didn’t- couldn’t help but hear about Mufi’s fiascos starting with the “Atomic Money” parody cartoon web site pegged to Hannemann aide and campaign volunteer Keith Rollman which attempted to ridicule Abercrombie... the key word being attempted.

Then Mufi’s widely reported “I look like you” speech- a thinly veiled reference to Mufi’s and Neil’s comparative skin colors- led right into the “Compare and Decide” flyer which compounded the “local vs. haole” storyline.

That was followed by Hannemann’s “Island Values” flyer which was an Atomic Monkey redux later found to be the work of another Hannemann campaign member Ken Wong whose name magically disappeared from Mufi’s web site after he was linked to the flyer.

Though much the information first appeared in blogs like Ian Lind’s and Dave Shapiro’s it didn’t stay there for long with TV news and newspaper stories focusing on Mufi’s “dirty campaigning”.

So if most pundits agree that “going negative” works, why didn’t it work for Hannemann?

The story was written even before Abercrombie resigned his congressional seat to come “home” to run. The media, almost as a group, were publicly asking the question as to when, not if, Hannemann would be going negative.

And for good reason. His political history was one of pulling victory from the jaws of defeat through last minute, usually “underground”, stink-talk and rumor campaigns run, it was later found, by the Hannemann campaign’s “dirty tricks” division.

But each time the revelations of these dirty tricks came only after the election or at best a day or two before the election when it was too late to do anything to lessen their effects.

It’s not as if this run for governor was unexpected- all but the malahini knew six years ago that this was coming.

And that gave people like Rollman and Wong and the rest of the “Mufiosi” as they’ve been called during the campaign, to come up with enough negative stuff to get an early jump and plan them to spread throughout the campaign.

So what was different in 2010? The expectations. And the influence of the on-line media.

Everyone in the mainstream media was champing at the bit, ready, willing and able to spread the word of Mufi’s latest negative campaigning and dirty tricks. So when the blogs began to question and investigate each move from the Hannemann camp what was the underground nature of these tactics in past campaigns was plastered all over the front page of the paper and on the 6 and 10 o’clock news programs.

Whereas in the past there was little above board comprehension of the Hannemann campaign “rumor and ridicule” machine, this time, as each new revelation was exposed, they began to snowball with the media directing the storyline of the campaign which became a ‘there he goes again“... a fulfillment of their- and so the public’s- earlier expectations.

Recently Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has created a running joke comparing to the media- specifically Fox News- to the talking dog in the movie “Up” who carries on intelligent conversations until he suddenly looks around and screams “Squirrel” and takes off after it.

So when the previously imprinted “squirrel” of negative campaigning surfaced it was impossible for them to curtail the instinct to dash off after it.

Many criticize the media for “following the horse race” instead of the issues in political campaigns. But of course in reality they couldn’t do that unless they had already set up the gates and packed the racetrack and of course “handicapped” the favorites.

In this case despite the fact that it was obvious to all that Hannemann was being set up like a bowling pin by the media, he and his campaign braintrust was so enthralled by past successes and had planned their underhanded tactics for so long that avoiding becoming their own bowling ball was the one trick they apparently couldn’t perform.


Doug said...

Your link to Ian Lind is not gonna work. It's

Other than that, great post.

Andy Parx said...

Don't know how that happened. Gremlins?

Doug said...

...and you can't fix the mistake? Is Blogger that lame?

Andy Parx said...

Finally- it took me three times. Apparently when I copied it from the "properties" right click in my bookmarks it carried some kind of code when I copied it from a link prepared in MS Word- one that reads correctly in Word.

Way too much info but since you asked...