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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mayor could pull ultimate fake-out

By Lee Cataluna

Neil Abercrombie is quitting Congress, though he won't say when. Rod Tam is running for mayor, providing there's a mayor's race to run in. Everyone says Mufi Hannemann is running for governor except Mufi Hannemann, who has remained coy about his plans.

Remember when the Democratic Party machine ran like a well-oiled, fearsome thing, churning out Hawai'i's policymakers and dictating Hawai'i's destiny? These days, local Demo-c-rats are more like the rats scurrying around Chinatown, all willy-nilly and without a leader, everyone out for themselves.

On the Republican side, Fred Hemmings is retiring, Duke Aiona shaved his power moustache and Bob Hogue wrote a novel, which is to say they still have more direction and organization than the Demo-crats.

What if in the middle of all this craziness, Mufi Hannemann pulled the ultimate fake-out and ran for Abercrombie's seat in Congress? He hasn't indicated that he would, as opposed to Ed Case with his online poll of "Should I run for Governor or Congress? Tell me what you think!" Hannemann would never poll voters to tell him what they think. He's more interested in opinion flowing in the other direction, from him to the people.

Imagine how fun it would be if he caught everyone by surprise and went sailing over the heads of Case, Colleen Hanabusa and his City Council nemesis Charles Djou straight to Washington, D.C. It's where he's wanted to be from the start, since his first campaign for office in 1986. He could shoot hoops with his good friend Barack Obama and rib him about 'Iolani vs Punahou. A congressman makes more money than the governor, and doesn't have to deal with things like a balky state Legislature, negotiations with stubborn state worker unions and stuffy dinners at Washington Place. Being a congressman is all of the glory with little of the grind. It's hard to understand why Neil Abercrombie is giving it all up. For Hawai'i? Isn't that why he went to Congress in the first place?

If Hannemann chose to go left while everyone in the state is expecting him to go right, he would find himself in D.C. hanging out with Mazie Hirono for the rest of his life. The Dan and Dan era would slowly dissolve into the Mufi and Mazie decades. Maybe someday, somebody would name a beach park after him.