Testing the Waters

Caught your breath?  I needed a break after the elections.  This report is a little of everything.  A definite conservative flavor, liberals and “moderates” may chose to delete before reading.  You can forward this to other conservatives so they don’t feel alone in our Hawaii wilderness.  Previous reports are listed at the bottom.  Remember, it is not about the people, it is about the politics.

January RNC chair election.  Many hope RNC elects a politically savvy conservative who is able to connect with donors, understands how to work with conservative coalitions and can embrace the tea party movement, and has exceptional management qualities.  Or, Steele will be reelected.  RNCC (Google it, they’re friends) is working with Freedom Works to host candidate interviews at Heritage Foundation in early December.

POLITICO: With the dump-Steele movement gathering speed, the list of potential challengers grows.  WI Priebus, NJ Norcross, MI Anuzis, ND Emineth, CA Nehring, DC Parker, Maria Cino, WY Larimer, KY Duncan, MN Sen. Coleman, OK Gov. Keating, RGA Ayers.  Also, NV List, PA Gleason, NH Healy, MO Wagner, PA Santorum, SC Dawson, HI Lingle, CA Fiorina.

I like Steele, just not as chair.  AP reports that two of three HI RNC members (Hellrich, Morioka) support Steele and the third (Kaauwai) couldn’t be reached (he supports Steele).  Lingle and Hellriech helped Steele get elected.  He has been under fire since taking over.  To still pledge support after all that’s been revealed says something.  Typically with Steele’s distracters, he blows them off (same as HRP Platform cmte), discredits (Nonaka on the wrap up concall) or deflects (HRP says it is the Ds fault).  From ‘the building:’   http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45193.html  In a nutshell, not only was RNC hosed during the ’10 cycle, but HI-1 (Djou) is specifically mentioned.  A report says Steele hired Lingle and Aiona consultant Peschong as an RNC advisor.  Last RNC election, I asked for input from HRP before voting.  Let me know if the current crew asks your opinion.

Looking forward.  Politico Oct 28:  Ds Ask Pentagon for Info on Potential Obama Challengers: DNC asked the Pentagon for correspondence between military agencies and nine potential R presidential candidates, a clear indication that Ds are building opposition-research files on specific ’12 contenders even before the midterm elections.

Many are testing the water as a potential presidential candidate.

Pence                Daniels                Ryan                Cantor

McDonnell            Barbour            Romney            Pawlenty

Palin                Huckabee            Pataki                Thune

Giuliani                Bush                Rubio                Johnson

DeMint                Cornyn                Paul                Santorum

Perry                Christie                Jindal                Gingrich


This is important:  No one thought about this because, well, they haven’t.  18 months ago, our Ohana team pushed through a poorly conceived rules change to the process of selecting our state delegates to the national convention. The Ohana team acknowledged that it would not be accepted by RNC, as written. Passage was endorsed by leadership after the ‘introducers’ promised to clean it up when the convention adjourned.   That was May ’09. Their rule expects that each HI presidential campaign will fill 35-member slates.  A delegation is eligible for election en-masse only if complete, i.e. 35 HRP members committed to attending the convention to vote for their candidate. (RNC requirements include reps from each CD and suggestions for age and gender mix.)  If HRP elects a delegation committed to candidate X, and candidate Y becomes the R presumptive nominee, there are no provisions for sending a ‘losing’ delegation, changing the commitment of the ‘winners,’ or ensuring that ‘winning’ delegates would still pay for and take time off to attend the convention for their opponent’s nomination. If the HRP rule is not approved by RNC Legal, HRP cannot elect delegates pending a fix to the rule.  HRP will run out of time (and money) to reconvene the Rules cmte to fix the rule, convene another state convention to pass the new rule, issue ‘the Call’ to recruit delegates and hold yet another state convention to elect delegates.  ’12 promises to have a few (let’s say four) R candidates. HRP needs 140 potential delegates committed to attending the National convention, if elected, plus additional appointees to fill the delegation if delegates drop out. To attend the ’12 RNC National Convention in Tampa a delegate pays their own way, about $2-4K. If you are on a cmte, it’s another 1-2k. The process is complicated anyway, more so if you don’t know what you’re doing. This situation can be resolved but it’ll take some smart people. In ’11 HRP Rules (BTW, where is our standing rules cmte?) convenes with one shot to fix the rule before it must be submitted to RNC for approval.

My last report.  I did not call for Exec Cmte and staff resignations, not that it is not a good idea.  That was Ryan.  I wrote simply that HRP would suffer if the current crew stays.  A friend suggests they should stay until they get it correct.  Nonaka called for change because Community Service Vice chair Leong was “too busy on” Aiona’s campaign and “counties need year round leadership.”

Hamada Nov 10 “After the drubbing, I can’t believe she [Pelosi] has the chutzpah to run.  Who would vote for her?
Limbaugh Nov 10 “You get shellacked and you want to stay with the same team?”

If you think the local media and Ryan emails are mean:  RedState on NRSC – “it could have done much better this year.  The Cornyn/Jesmer team …. throwing away money that could have gone to general election winners. Should he be retained at NRSC, Senator Cornyn ought to be begging for RS as a group to dictate primary strategy.”  And these guys netted six US Senate seats.  Cornyn was reelected by the caucus.

Think it’s only Hawaii?  New York Post is baying for the blood of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, noting that Rs lost every statewide election despite a political environment that allowed the party to pick up as many as seven House seats. “…the state GOP – as run by Chairman Ed Cox – proved to be pathetically ineffectual. … [A] person of integrity – seeing the embarrassing result of his fumbling – would step aside and give someone else the opportunity to rebuild the New York state Republican Party.”

Congratulations to S8 Slom and H17 Ward on their elections to leader in our respective chambers.  Also to LG candidate King on her pending election as OLRW President.

A look inside (me).  As a (perceived) cold-blooded SOB (and worse), I was surprised at how hard it was to send my final election predictions.  It may have been because it made my “guess” public but I believe it was because several predicted non-winners are friends.  I shook it off and pushed ‘send.’

Follow the money.  HRP picked up easy money this cycle.  Lingle and Djou each gave $25k max, a first.  RGA and NRCC maxed.  Lingle got Rove for LDD though HRP netted less on LDD and GB (especially GB) than we have in past years.  RNC funded staff as did RNCC.  You saw the S-A article about outside money for ads.  HRP is different than candidates in that HRP has to operate after the election when a candidate can close down.  The chair must be able to forecast requirements and realistic revenues to enable the party to operate.  Checking CSC and FEC reports, I am curious. We’re all watching.

Apparently, HRP ’10 wrap up call with ED Nonaka and Ward was Sunday night.  Not many on the call, so I will recap.  With 95 candidates and their teams invited, about 20 people called in.  About eight folks identified themselves, three or four local candidates, and perhaps ten others were on the line.  Some listeners, as HRP pointed out in the past, may have been media or Ds.  After introductions was a detailed analysis of HRP and R candidates strengths and weaknesses and a roadmap for the next six months……  no, not really.  Nonaka used 5-8 minutes of opening comments to tell how HRP dismisses (blogger, writer, media) critiques as not taken ‘seriously,’ though seriously enough to open the wrap up.  It is disconcerting that our elected chair did not convene the candidate wrap up conference call (or appear opposite the D chair on the televised wrap up show).  Nonaka presented….

  1. Have it Both Ways.  Nonaka gave HRP perspective to the elections:  he states that there was NOT a national R wave so Hawaii was not left out, that HRP performance is different from the rest of the US because elections are local (unlike other localities).  He says Abercrombie won because of D referendum on Lingle, overwhelming unions and D money, R lack of message and too many D voters.  “Nothing you can do about that.  Sometimes it just happens.”  No surprise, I disagree.  My evidence is named Johanson, Riviere, Fontaine, Pine, Slom, and Ching.  Can’t have it both ways, local for Abercrombie and not for everyone else.  It is not Ds fault that we lose.  It’s our (or R, just caught that pun) fault.  If we can never win, he can’t explain Lingle ….or Fontaine.  Contrary to HRPs ‘we can’t win,’ I say we can win and I write how down below.  And, this was a wave election.
  1. HRP wants you to change the electorate.  Ohana team promised to do so, and didn’t.  I don’t disagree with the ‘register more’ theory but I don’t think you’ll change the electorate.  Registering voters is a good thing.  Do it. There are considerations.  For instance, blanket registration nets you double the Ds as Rs.  And, you still have to get them to vote.  Stats show that newly registered voters are more likely to vote, but you still need them to vote for you.  Stats also show the electorate doesn’t change much.  Remember the ’08 Obama youth vote explosion?  Never happened.  Youth vote in ’08 increased by only 1%.  What changed was that many more broke for Obama than McCain.  A Big Island blogger muddles through numbers to suggest 15,000 new religious right registrations voted R but he doesn’t explain how Cavasso could earn only 21% of the vote.  That is a scary (low) number.  Cavasso is experienced and was fully supported by the Christian Coalition.  We’ve made several past assumptions based on any big race R getting about 30% of the vote (example, Thielen ’06 36%, Hough ’06 29%, Tanonaka ’04 33%).  The Cavasso number creates difficulties for our models.
  1. HRP has elaborate charts of what I presented in my last report.  Only 22% of voting-eligible residents elected the gov (You know – half the population is registered, half of them vote and half vote for the winner) so 78% did not.  Nonaka concludes that the only way we win, he titles it ”78% path to victory,’ is by registering the 300,000 eligible unregistered Hawaii residents.  One difficulty is that you have to find them and there is no evidence that the 30% wants to be registered or that they’ll vote in any greater numbers than the current 55% or in any different split than the voters already registered.  The other, obvious to fans of meaningless statistics, is that while 78% of eligible residents did not vote for Abercrombie, 84%did not vote for Aiona.  This raises another issue – R lethargy.  No one questioned any of this flawed analysis.  Not just questioning HRP theory, no one questioned the simple math.  We’re much too complacent and that is a bigger issue than registering 300,000 voters.
  1. ‘All polls are wrong.’  Maybe not. Perhaps HRP misinterpreted polls or pollsters used the wrong models.  I am not privy to HRP and campaigns’ internals used for HRP prediction of  HI-1 & four senate and ten house with a shot at Gov and eight more house.  I used public polls, CSC reports, a couple of phone calls and a little Kentucky windage, to come up with one senate and net one house (missed by one).  Last week, I sat with a senior D campaign advisor counterpart (giving myself too much credit, he wins a lot more than do I).  The D polls were accurate.
  1. “We need better branding.”  But, not because we didn’t have it.  R branding was much more effective than in ’08 or ’06 (’02 and ’04 wasn’t bad).  We’re a bunch of religious right wing zealots.  That’s how we are branded and it did not take Nonaka’s “hundred’s of thousand’s of dollars” of ads.  We have the opportunity to rebrand.  Legislators are going to try to help Rs.  Pine went out by UTube and email asking for input for legislation.  Slom will video committee meetings and hold a weekly press conference.  (I enjoyed joining the Slom ’10 campaign.)  However, legislators are not the party.  Legislators may go in many directions.  A party should stand on principle, once it establishes principles.
  1. “We need a real AB mail and walk in program.”  OMG.
  1. Message.  ‘Nothing you can do about it’ if the top-of-ticket loses by 17 with a poor message.  Yes, you can.  In ’06 Ds made it a referendum on Bush and Lingle went 51/51 districts.  Too conservative?  Slom hears that and he wins.  I prefer conservative, always, but think you’re too liberal?  Lingle and Thielen hear that and they win.  Johanson never distanced himself from Aiona or Djou, ran as a conservative and won while both of them lost in his district.  You can win.  Does it help to be on someone’s coattail?  Yes.  Well, we don’t really know but point is ‘nothing you can do about it’ is not a rule.  An R candidate:  “Forget about the party, as a common citizen, it’s my duty and it’s my district that needs to be educated…”
  1. Organize districts.  I agree with Nonaka and we covered that in these reports.  Winners organize.  Not organized districts = second place.
  1. Money.  The idea that ‘we can’t compete’ just isn’t true.  I am a money guy.  Leadership criticizes me because I “put too much emphasis” on money.  I believe funds are the single most important factor, more so than having a good candidate (good candidates probably don’t like reading that).  Here’s the secret – it’s not necessarily how much as long as it is enough (sorry, fellow money people).  Yes, I believe you can never have too much and you always “need” more.  Don’t be chided into believing you can’t compete.  Maybe HRP now can’t, but you can.
  1. Ward was more direct:  everyone loses the first time (we discussed that) and get involved (we discussed that) and write a campaign plan (I didn’t cover that.  Sort of before Campaign 101, don’t you think?).  Following Slom’s call (not this evening because HRP didn’t get our Senate leader on the line) for volunteers to cover committee meetings, Ward offered ‘internships’ for candidates to learn about the legislature.  Ward recommends spending the year contemplating ……Uh, No. You can define what you consider getting started but I recommend you get started.

Finally, when we’re satisfied with losing (or with winning only so much), we don’t improve or move forward.  I got my butt kicked in ’08 and feel fortunate to keep what we did, but I was not satisfied.  Yes, you can win.  It’s harder without HRP watching your back, but you can win.  Ask Slom, Pine, Djou (before this fall) or anyone other candidate who runs outside of HRP.  I don’t do ‘cheerleader,’ many of you know that, but some of you are really solid candidates and would be very good legislators.

Moving on.

Conservative issues stay in the forefront.  Lower taxes, cut spending, relief from gov’t interference.  Nat’l:  Pro-US (anti-Akaka Bill) supporters cannot take their eyes off the Akaka Bill introduced Monday as S. 3945.  HI:  As Abercrombie finds out more problems with the budget and rail, watch Ds and the media push him towards tax hikes.

We need our coalition to work together.  Conservatives, the Tea Party, the religious right.  I write to the conservative-religious right relationship because HRP needs to make the message about conservatism.  We have to run on the issues that matter to voters, get elected, then allow legislators to do our work.  The tea issues are the issues currently resonating.

An emailed good observation.  Campaign and HRP volunteers, again, did a great job.  The questions remain:  Why did Lingle/A go 51/51 and Aiona/F go 1/51 four years later?  Why did Djou win where Aiona did not?  Why did the ‘strongholds’ not go for Aiona?  There is more but the point is volunteers make your campaign, leaders can break it.

I don’t like D policies or almost anything D.  This year across the US, many people didn’t.  A lot of people, however, supported Rs because that was who was available.  A reminder from RedState:  “Republican does not equal conservative.”  49 states felt the tea movement and it’s working in Hawaii.  You can pooh-pooh me but when you do so, read the para above about my ‘predictions.’  Ds understand that tea people will find candidates.  If Rs don’t hold to conservative principles, tea people are going to find someone else.  Not good or bad for Rs, just is.  Do not incorrectly interpret – the tea movement is not about making government better or making Rs stronger.  The tea movement is about fixing America and Hawaii.

Davis Intelligence Group studied R Senate race results and concluded that it was not tea candidates that cost the senate.  RNC could not raise funds for a GOTV program causing RGA to pick up the slack in states with gov competitive races.

Conservative Samizdat :  Interesting facts – #8. women split their votes 49-49 for D vs R House candidates which is the record for House Rs since ’82. #9. In ’08, House Rs got 19% of gay voter. In ’10, it jumped to 31%.  #10. the largest single constituency in the ’10 elections were self-identified evangelicals, who compromised 29% of the vote and cast 78% votes for Rs. #12. Seniors went 60-40 for House Rs after splitting in ’06.
Not Hawaii.  State newspaper asked, “SC Democrats headed for extinction?” “an analysis of general election results from 1998 to 2010 shows Democrats are losing ground.”  AL Birmingham News wondered, “After Election Day beat down, are days numbered for Alabama’s Democrats?”  “In the wake of a historic election that saw Democrats lose every single statewide race and lose control of the Legislature for the first time in 136 years, is the Alabama Democratic Party, like the dinosaur, extinct?”

I asked for it.  Excerpts from other writers: “I learned first-hand many months ago that the predictable consequence of disagreement with GOP hierarchy would be sarcasm, ridicule and intimidation…so I am prepared.  There was no organized teamwork nor was there fire in the belly.  Do you have any idea how flat the LLIFE values fell with many citizens outside the enthused GOP patriots?  The vast majority of social conservative voters are sympathetic to the Tea Party and the vast majority of those who consider themselves Tea Party are, in fact, conservatives on social issues.  We cannot win in 2012 if the ‘elite’ Hawaii GOP leadership continues to be self-absorbed and short-sighted.”

Another wrote.  “we need to start for 2012 now.  The Republican Party needs to start to stand for something.  The Republican Party Leadership wanted a vague platform to allow for a diversity of candidates to run under the Republican Platform.  That shows a lack of leadership by the party. I got the impression it was better to win than to win on Republican issues and principles. I get the feeling that Republican leadership doesn’t really agree with the National Party Platform and would prefer Democrat lite. Republicans should not shy away from their social positions. If it is true [it is], it is dereliction of duty for the required meetings of the Party not to be held. As long as the party won’t take a stand and won’t fight to the end, I can’t imagine anyone donating to the Party. I see some people want to bring in “Tea Party” participants, yet, when “establishment Republicans” disagree with one point or another they are silenced.”

Ready, sort of. Some candidates are campaigning. Oahu tea meets this week. Maui tea has several events this and next week. Conservative groups have meetings and presentations next week and immediately following TG. HPU College Rs met with a legislator and candidate to plan activities. Looking towards sometime next year, HRP Strategist asked me to include “Our plan going forward is predicated on what happened in 2010 and since that happened just 5 days ago we are just starting to put together what that plan will be. However, we will report on what happened, what we did wrong, how we will address it, and what the plan for 2012 will be and then let the party vote [May ’11] for best team”.

Finally, Winning.

One newly elected R Rep says he succeeded by ensuring constituents know that he cares about them and the community more than anyone else who would ask for a vote.  Constituents liked him first and asked his positions second, if ever.  Another new Rep spent the last four years being involved in the community, two of those years before he ever thought he would run for office.  Neither raised these techniques during the wrap up, perhaps because only a couple other candidates were on the line.

How you win:  read ’10 Lessons and the other reports – it is Campaign 101.  Start now, get trained & organized and funded, etc.  It is nice if HRP, or anyone, helps but don’t count on it.  Busiest people in Hawaii should be Riviere, Fontaine and Johanson.  HRP and those many recruited candidates should ask for two hours each of ‘how did you do it?’  Next is Chang, Baron and Hapai for ‘how did you raise it?’   Finally, Le’au and Kawakami on ‘What would have won it?’  You probably wanted more instruction.  It’s that simple.  Not easy, but simple.

Many of you are in a considerably better position than HRP makes you out to be.  You can win.  My evidence is Riviere and Johanson and…..

Tuesday’s 24-hour College BBall marathon was mind-numbing goodness.  Have a great Thanksgiving, then get your campaign moving.





’10 Learning

What Happened?

National Field Tilts

Let’s Elect Some Conservatives

Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 2

Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 1

Djou – Remember When?  Update

Races to Watch

Primary Election – Fun With Numbers