Time for Case, Akaka to gear up their debates
It was nice to see Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Ed Case together (well, sort of) in the Kailua Fourth of July parade this week.
Unfortunately, the parade was one of the few times thus far where the two Democrats— both candidates for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Akaka — found themselves in the same place and at the same time. To date, there are no debates scheduled, nor have there been issues-oriented simultaneous appearances.
For the sake of the voters and based on the importance of this campaign, that has to change — and soon.
Hawai'i deserves a robust series of appearances so voters can compare these two candidates side-by-side, as they debate the issues.
Not every appearance has to be a high-profile structured debate, although we must have several of these before the campaign ends. Joint appearances before interest groups and civic organizations also can help frame the campaign and the approach the two are taking.
To date, Akaka and Case have been playing their standard roles. As the challenger, Case is demanding debates — anytime, anywhere. As the incumbent, Akaka is naturally reluctant to play the game according to Case's rules. His campaign says the senator fully intends to participate in "events" with Case and indeed has scheduled some.
As for a formal debate, the Akaka campaign likely will decide on the when, where, and perhaps even the "if" according to its own best judgment.
But time is running short.
For the sake of the voters of Hawai'i, it is time for the candidates to move beyond political strategies and debate the issues. Voters deserve a clear sense of where our two candidates stand on the matters that will shape Hawai'i's future for years to come.