Ex-governor questions Case's honor, motives
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
By Derrick DePledge
Former Gov. George Ariyoshi scolded U.S. Rep. Ed Case yesterday for using quotes about loyalty and change from Ariyoshi's 1997 book in an e-mail sent Tuesday to his supporters.
Ariyoshi, who is backing U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary for Senate, said he received several telephone calls from people who mistakenly believe from the e-mail that he has endorsed Case.
Ariyoshi, at a news conference at Akaka's campaign headquarters, said he was disappointed.
"Mr. Case could have called me. But he did not," Ariyoshi said. "And I think that it says something maybe about what his motives were in putting out the e-mail, that he did not want me to clarify it and stop him from doing that. And I think that says something about him also.
"I know that Dan Akaka, Senator Akaka, would not have done it. He's a man of honor and that's why I support him so strongly."
Case's campaign asked supporters in the e-mail to consider several passages from "With Obligation to All," Ariyoshi's 1997 book. Ariyoshi wrote of the importance of loyalty to principles, not individuals, and recalled a 1972 speech to the state Democratic convention in which he urged change from within the party.
"We were in danger of being an aged party unless we brought in new people with new blood and new ideas," Ariyoshi wrote. "I believed we could not just tell new people to come in on the condition that they listen to us. There were other people who were giving lip service to the theme of openness, but I was saying, 'The difference between you and me is you still want to retain complete control. You don't want to let these people have any real influence.'
"We were saying to these new people, 'Come in. The party belongs to you.' And then we were treating them almost like robots."
Change and leadership transition have been themes in Case's campaign against Akaka. The congressman believes the party's establishment has resisted change.
Case said yesterday that the e-mail did not imply that Ariyoshi had endorsed him. He also said he did not consider asking for permission to quote from the book.
"I thought it was a beautiful summary — 34 years ago — of the issues that I have put on the table in this campaign," he said. "And I felt that it was important to put the choice in a historical context."
Ariyoshi disagreed. "I would have told him that the change that he's talking about, about turning out a very able senator, is very different from the kind of change that I talk about in my book," he said.
The former governor helped recruit Akaka into politics in the 1970s and is a longtime supporter of the senator. Ariyoshi strategically helped Akaka in May by writing an opinion article for The Advertiser asking Japanese-Americans not to fear Akaka's Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill. Some Japanese-Americans had been concerned the bill might affect private property rights.
Reach Derrick DePledge at email@example.com.