Tag Archives: Djou

What Do You Djou?

If we were handing out political courage awards, we wouldn’t exactly break out backs trying to carry the ones needed for Hawaii’s political class.  Especially on the Akaka Bill.  Heck, a three-year-old child could probably handle the load on that one.  Hawaii’s Democrats are rather remarkably in lockstep agreement on a fairly controversial issue–which pretty much indicates that the Party has declared its approval and will brook no dissent.  Hawaii’s Republican Party (such as it is) thankfully lacks the inflexible message of the Democrats, but makes up for it with party leaders who take a half-measures approach that consists mainly of offering weak disapproval and then caving-in after a few showy are largely meaningless “compromises.”  (Yes, there are exceptions.  There always are.  But not enough of them.)  Thus we have Linda Lingle’s shift on the Akaka Bill and Charles Djou’s rather bewildering variations.

Djou, in particular, is an interesting case.  Prior to getting elected, he gave some the impression that even if he wasn’t a vocal opponent of the Bill, neither did he plan to promote it.  But consider the statement he made in a recent radio interview: “Should the Akaka bill come back to the U.S. House, I’m confident that I’d be able to garner far more Republican support for the Akaka bill — make it bipartisan, make it less controversial, and make its passage far smoother.”  It’s hard not to see this as full support for the Bill’s passage.

Then, perhaps sensing that his position on Akaka was gaining him no friends among the Republicans and Independents that he needs in order to win, Djou decided to add a little nuance to his stance on the Bill.  Now, he says that he supports public hearings on the Bill and a non-binding vote from the Hawaii people.  Needless to say, those who are concerned about the impact of the Akaka Bill feel that the voice of the people of Hawaii on the issue should be a binding one–the current suggestion raises the strange possibility that hearings and a vote could show significant opposition to the Bill only to have it overridden by Congress.  Still, Djou’s latest position demonstrates some understanding that the most radical political questions since statehood deserves a public voice.  And of course Djou’s opponent, Colleen Hanabusa (a Democrat) is an unreserved supporter of the Akaka Bill (she has mentioned some support for public hearings, but not for a public vote).  Clearly, election day this year may have a real effect on what happens next in the effort to pass the Akaka Bill.

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (& end up looking foolish)

With tax day looming tomorrow, how about something that reminds us of how much we all loathe the IRS and the politics of taxation?  (Not you–IRS employee who reads this blog and could conceivably audit me.  I think you’re a fine, upstanding person, a great dancer, and have fabulous hair.  I’m talking about a completely different IRS person who would never be so cool as to be reading this.)

For awhile now, candidates for office who have wanted to demonstrate their commitment to not taxing us into oblivion have signed the ATR (Americans for Tax Reform) Tax Pledge, the gist of which is that the candidate promises to oppose any net increase in taxes, corporate or personal.  (I know, I know.  The horror!  Why, with a philosophy like that, one might leap to the conclusion that the candidate in question wasn’t in favor of driving away business and could even want to improve the economy.  What will those crazy fiscal conservatives come up with next?)

Well, in a move so disingenuous that I wouldn’t be surprised if their pants were actually on fire while they did this, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee started running an attack ad against Charles Djou (a Republican running for Congress in Hawaii’s 1st District) based on his pledge.  Of course, they couldn’t claim that Djou was opposed to higher taxes.  (Well, they could, but this would tend to undermine their efforts to not get him elected.)  So instead they twisted his anti-tax pledge into a claim that he supported tax breaks for companies moving jobs overseas.  As FactCheck.org explains, this is a complete misrepresentation of the anti-tax pledge that can only be explained by political sneakiness or crack addiction.  (Ok, I added the part about sneakiness and crack.  But FactCheck really did take the DCCC to task for the blatant misrepresentation of Djou, which, in this time of high unemployment, amounts to little more than a smear tactic.)

So let that be a reminder of a few things:

Don’t be swayed by outrageous claims when it comes to where the candidates stand on important economic issues.  Tax issues are almost always more complicated than can be explained in a 30 second commercial.  And falling for tactics like the DCCC tried with Djou will just teach politicians that making pledges isn’t worth the fallout.

While we can all agree that the employees of the IRS are a lovely group of people who should each individually get to date Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, April 15th still stinks.