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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 23, 2001

Lots of grist for the mill from governor's mouth

 •  The Cayetano years: a retrospective

By David Shapiro

Ben Cayetano has been as inviting a target to columnists as Bill Clinton was to political cartoonists.

Entirely as a matter of coincidence, I started writing my Volcanic Ash column shortly after Cayetano became governor and found frequent reason to comment on his administration.

In researching old writings for this article, I pulled out my 10 favorite lines I've written about the governor:

• Aug. 12, 1995: "We've given Cayetano ... the kind of honeymoon Mike Myers got in 'So I Married an Axe Murderer.' "

• June 22, 1996: "I had to laugh when Gov. Ben Cayetano said he barred the news media from covering his eviction of illegal campers from Makua Beach for our own safety. If he really thought there was a chance we would be shot, I suspect he would have sent buses to take more of us out there."

• Nov. 9, 1997: "If he is to make a real mark, he must recognize that leadership is more than making snap decisions and bullying people. He needs to set a high-minded tone for public life. He must embrace the task of building a consensus that gets everybody involved in solving problems."

• July 10, 1998: "He's selling himself as someone who has made tough decisions in tough times. Even his critics should grant him that. He's shown some real political courage."

• Sept. 12, 1998: "The clear evidence is that he acted (in the Bishop Estate investigation) out of honest desire to do the right thing for the Hawaiian children served by the Bishop Estate and for the integrity of state institutions."

• July 10, 1999: "Colleen Hanabusa, the freshman senator who ignited the (Margery) Bronster controversy, says she can't figure out whether Cayetano is thumbing his nose at senators who voted against Bronster and (Earl) Anzai or giving them the finger. The guess here is that the governor's contempt rises to the latter."

• Aug. 7, 1999: "It's remarkable that the governor has managed to cast himself as the baby face in this (battle with the Legislature). To pull it off with that mug of his, he should get a Daytime Emmy."

• Sept. 18, 1999: "He lets his observations go straight from his eyes to his mouth without passing through his brain."

• July 22, 2000: "He's a blunt pragmatist who surrounds himself with other pragmatists so sure of their righteousness that it borders on arrogance."

• Feb. 17, 2001: "What can you say about Gov. Ben Cayetano's worry that, in this age of Britney Spears wannabes, it's tough for horny old men to tell who's of age and who's not? One can only hope that Vicky smacked him for that one."