’10 Learning

Has it been only one week since those great returns flowed in across America and morphed into an evening with that sinking feeling in my stomach?

Let’s wrap this election. This is another report that will sit easier with conservatives than others. We already discussed some and we can’t cover every facet. Previous reports are listed at the bottom.  Feel free to share with other conservatives.

Rehash: We kicked butt on the mainland and got our butt’s kicked here. If you see it differently, write.

We worked hard. I am joyous about our national sweep. I am excited about our local legislators. Some have slapped a smiley face on our effort. We don’t want to hurt feelings.   Let’s be pleased.

How about instead we try to get better? This is about politics, not people. Rs need Aiona, Finnegan and Djou. We need Baron, Chang, Kaauwai and more. We had some good campaigns but we got kicked. Don’t be thin-skinned. The ’08 crew took it, so should we. Use what you will and delete the rest.

Do over. Last report inferred to some that I am critical of Maui County fundraising. Not so. Maui succeeded in raising money to support candidates. Big Island and Kauai tried. Honolulu County promised then didn’t do a thing.

At least two of our best first timers began their ’12 campaigns by soliciting input and making adjustments. At least two incumbents already reached out to use new media and to bring new (to Hawaii) techniques to enhance local races. They are not afraid to learn. On the other hand …

… a legislator is upset with my critique. We need stop shoving stuff under the rug. We did well to gain two house seats. His desire to ignore the gov double-digit loss, the HI-1 loss, having one senator and having every new candidate go down is unacceptable. Don’t be upset with members still in the fight. Scream instead at those who no longer care.

I asked HRP chief strategist “losing the [top-of-ticket races] and having only one senator, what is our message for members who ask if the HRP crew should get another opportunity?” His response “[Party chair] is an election.” Nothing about gained experience, new supporters, ability to lead or to motivate and nothing about connecting with donors. OK. Remember your reaction to Obama’s “humble but uplifting” post-election speech? Arrogance, with no sense of reality.

Top ten review:

  1. Money. Start raising and don’t waste it. Focus on voter contact. Non-raising candidates, PACs and HRP say that there isn’t money. You have to be more compelling, more innovative and more aggressive than the other guy. Whiners can’t explain Djou’s ’06 (non)council race $250k, can’t explain Obama’s ’08 $745M, or Djou’s $2.5M this year, or newcomer H28 Chang’s $95k.
  2. Investigative reporting. Support Hawaii Reporter and GRIH. Hit Ds whenever you have the opportunity.
  3. “Negative ads,” TV and mail. They work. They have to be factual and shouldn’t be from the candidate.
  4. Focus. If tea people focus time and money on one candidate on each island, they’ll win. If the religious right focuses on one candidate on each island, they’ll win. If everyone goes home, if we spread out, we lose everywhere.
  5. We got whacked but, at least, Kaauwai tried something different.
  6. Outside money. Great for the economy. Ds do so much better.
  7. Define your opponent: It is not good enough to ask voter’s support because you are a good person. Having a PAC tell of your opponent’s dismal voting record will change your perspective of outside money.
  8. Similar to national: we have a gaffe-prone Chairman who is adequate with grassroots and cannot connect with big donors. Not similar:   RNC Steele will take credit for the wave.
  9. Every vote counts. This again? H38 Kawakami by 17 votes? H6 Leau by 292? C’mon. Vote. Did you expect Ewa traffic to not be heavy? Vote early.
  10. If you have a D-lite candidate, point them to the D primary. Let’s run Rs, preferably conservatives, as Rs.

Some we haven’t discussed:

Begin. ’12 will be a challenging environment. Candidates. Run again and start now. Fundraising, ID, training, team building. Both pick ups were candidates who campaigned for 2½ years. Campaigners. Work with your candidate or join an off-year race. Like anything, every other year isn’t enough. District organization, cleaning lists, volunteers, fundraising, training.   Yes, we say this every year. No, we don’t do it.

Train this year. Send managers to Leadership Institute or RNC training. Otherwise, use local conservative or HRP training. Aiona & Djou tried inexperienced managers and this was the first ever campaign for that chief strategist. Sometimes drawing for an inside straight works, most of the time it does not.

Why don’t we have a House PAC and Senate PAC? Yes, I know the law.   Leadership is opposed but the new leaders in those bodies know better.

New media. Get up early. Define yourself. Define your opponent. Can we stop calling it “new?” There are no whisper campaigns. Utube, trackers, blogs and email are part of the campaign.

Voter ID and IDing your votes. ID is ANY information about a voter.   Don’t wait until 2012. If everyone (including top-of-ticket races which advocate and don’t use it) used voter vault every year, you’d be half way there. IDing your voters can cut your campaign costs by 40% and you non-raisers should like that. Unless you ID your voters, there is little reason for poll watchers.

Polling. You should get your money back. The local race data was way off. Apparently, so were the polls at the top. Polls are good for trends and message testing, careful on the horse race.

A loss. If you couldn’t defend an open seat, you have an opportunity as a challenger for your opponent’s first re-election. If you lost as an open seat challenger, you have an uphill battle. If you lost to an incumbent, you’ll want to make major changes before a rematch.

Message. This was not the state to nationalize the election. HRP, if allowed, needs to move from righteousness to economy, job and education. The religious right is a valuable ally for conservative moral values but they cannot again lead our message. Few campaigns are single issue races.

Organizing a district, house or senate. Why wouldn’t a candidate, especially an incumbent, want a district chair who is also his/her grassroots director? Elections are in Jan/Feb.

Unions. HRP changed from anti-union leadership to anti-union. Many union members are our voters. Keep the anti message against the leadership.

Tea party, religious right and conservatives.   Two things are certain as folks find their voice. Rs will be attacked by Ds. And, if Rs are not conservative, they are going to be attacked from the right. This doesn’t mean that Rs will face a primary challenge from their right, though they may. It does mean liberals (your moderates) will have to work harder to get tea people and conservatives to show at their phone banks and on Election Day.

It’s a two year cycle, not a three month cycle.

Follow this. Lind posts about Ryan’s recent announcement. Walden posts about Lind’s post but Walden does what he accuses Ryan of doing – being mean with false input, that Walden attributes to Lind. Lind must get a kick from seeing his stuff used by Walden to attack a conservative. There is consensus that Ryan writes with ugliness, stay on that. When you attack his message, your ‘liberalness’ shows. Don’t advertise liberal blogs. In his same posting, Walden thanks a (liberal) S-A editorial for giving HRP a strategy for ’12.  Today, Walden attacks another conservative.  I see a trend.

If thin-skinned people get past the way Ryan says it and focuses on what he says, they’ll see he is 90% right (no pun) on message. The latest Ryan email includes his expected vitriol. After our ’08 fights, I am suspicious of his raising my name.

Star-Advertiser editorial. How embarrassing to be compared to the Washington Generals.

Special Interests. If Lingle runs as an R for Senate, she and Hashimoto will tussle for control of HRP. Conservatives are discussing several options, none of which are good for Rs, including forming separate organizations, forming “Another” party or waiting to join a national third party.

In the past decade we moved to the left, then again tried to lead with the religious right and our numbers are where we were when we had principles. Perhaps, we should try conservative principles. Quit voting against our principles to get along. A leader who says D concepts are better for Hawaii than R principles is wrong. If our principles are wrong, let’s fold.


Thank you for your input. They are familiar. Some rec’d comments:

  1. Test. Ds know the winnable races. HRP doesn’t. Ds know the issues. Rs don’t. You have to test.
  2. We need a fresh start. Is there any reason why we should not expect the current Party officials to resign now?
  3. We can’t let Ds again make the election a referendum on Lingle policies and her [poor] interaction with the leg. If they do so, we need to defend conservative positions, not run away. We have to admit we disagreed on her tax and fee increases.
  4. Don’t wait until the election to brand HRP, espouse our principles and teach our fundamentals. HRP needs to do the branding and make the environment more R friendly.
  5. Get good candidates. Don’t run people who have no intention to run. It embarrasses the party, sucks our resources and scares voters. Recruiting neophytes and giving no assistance sours the candidate and makes supporters realize we are incompetent. Recruiting people who have no idea of or who do not support our principles makes no sense.
  6. If Lingle is going to continue to control the party, is there any reason for conservatives to support the party or candidates?


In spite of an ineffective HRP, in spite of a non-existent Honolulu county, in spite of legislators who go along and in spite of my critique, we need to train teams, find and prepare candidates and win races.

I was quiet because the “Ohana team” deserved to have a go. Folks, we got beat down. These are good people, but what’s left of HRP leadership failed, with few exceptions. They may stay, no one wants the job, but it is going to hurt us. When we get whacked we make changes, if for no other reason than to let our party, supporters, donors and voters know that we’re moving forward. Exec cmte is a disaster. Kaauwai’s subordination to the religious right missed ‘the election of the decade’ by taking the focus off of the economy. Communications Bryan went AWOL after six months. Recruitment Finnegan brought one-issue candidates to a two (or more) issue fight. Ask candidates if Coordinated Campaign Klompus coordinated anything. Hellriech’s conflict of interest with her Aiona paid position again damaged HRP. Morioka shared his experience in zero Exec mtgs, two state and one national meeting in two years. Community Service Leong was Aiona paid staff and County Chair Gray was Aiona’s religious director. Coalitions Hong resigned 15 months ago. We need to show the public that we’re trying to do something.

There is another general election. For some teams, the campaign has already begun. For campaigners, the next election is end of December.

Poster at Reagan National Airport “New Congressmen To Do List 1. Find your office. 2. Cut spending.”

Enjoy Veteran’s Day with your favorite vet.

Next is shift to 2011 and 2012.





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


“… all candidates must assume now that they are being taped, wherever they are, including private conversations.” Peggy Noonan