In the last weeks I have seen a flood of visually pleasing commercials on TV, many sponsored by the U,S, Chamber of Commerce, supporting for Linda Lingle (R) for the open seat from Hawaii in the U.S. Senate which is now held by retiring Democrat, Daniel Akaka. These commercials seem to me to be totally fluff, without any firm statements about her plans for action in the U S Senate. I would prefer to hear about her views on concrete issues relevant to service in the U S Senate but I suspect that she would lose if sje really discussed the issues.
Two of my friends know her personally, consider her to be a friend and were disturbed by the passion of my belief that her election to the U.S. Senate would not serve the interests of the people of Hawaii. In addition, she would provide another critical vote in the U.S. Senate against the policies of President Obama and for the policies espoused by Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and the other neo-cons who oppose most things that I believe in, including a woman’s right to control her body. I am writing this blog to inform these friends, as well as others in the Hawaii community, that her campaign is seriously limited in the “real” information conveyed in her publicity.
Ms. Lingle claims she will act in a bi-partisan way if elected, including working with President Obama if he is re-elected. Her performance as Governor of Hawaii does not support this promise. As Governor of Hawaii, her term of office was marked by continued clashes with the legislature and the unions representing state employees. She vetoed an inordinate number of bills, including the civil union law that was passed by a majority of both legislative branches. Lingle’s final job approval rating as Governor was 44 percent, down from 73 percent in 2006. Fifty-one percent of the voters disapproved of her job as Governor by the end of her term.
Other than one small proposal on promoting tourism, what issues does Ms. Lingle think she can work on with President Obama if he is re-elected? Also, are there any issues on which she disagrees with Romney and the probable Republican Party platform?
Lingle self describes as “the only candidate” in the Senate race who has made “tough but necessary” fiscal decisions. I think the voters of Hawaii have a right to know the specifics of fiscal decisions that Lingle is ready to make as a Senator. She says, “I haven’t read Paul Ryan’s bill, but I can tell you as an individual, I don’t spend money I don’t have,” Since she also believes that the more a state taxes, the more it spends, how EXACTLY, is she willing to cut the federal deficit? Social Security, Medicare, SSDI, Medicaid, Food Stamps?. How does she feel about the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles) plan?
Linda Lingle still refuses to criticize her party’s extreme plans to balance the budget on the backs of seniors by gutting Medicare by turning it into a “voucher” program. What Congressman Ryan and others also fail to explain is what insurance company or group of insurance company would be interested in providing primary medical coverage for seniors? That is why Medicare was created and it has been a very cost effective program, in terms of low administration costs. Ms. Lingle’s colleagues such as Michele Bachmann. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin don’t even believe that Social Security and Medicare are constitutional. If they cannot destroy those programs legislatively, they may try to do it in the courts. Does Linda Lingle agree with them that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional?
Ms. Lingle claims to be Pro-Choice on a woman’s reproductive rights but how can that be so for a Republican senator? The Republican party has driven almost all pro choice members out of office. Does she feel like most Republican politicians, that Roe v. Wade was bad law and should be overturned by the Supreme Court? How would she vote on an Obama Supreme Court nominee with views and qualifications similar to Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan? How would she vote on a Romney nominee similar in views to Justices Anton Scalia or Clarence Thomas?
Since she is running for Senate, the people of Hawaii certainly have a right to know the answers to these questions. I hope Ms. Lingle will have the courage and integrity to answer them, rather than just dealing in pleasing images and platitudes.
Gary Schubach, Ed.D.