With this issue,the Oahu Island News turns 18. That’s old enough to vote. So we felt it was time to extend our editorial voice into the political community. Now, we’ve always felt it presumptuous that a newspaper should lecture its readers as to how they should vote. So we’re not going to tell you how to cast your ballot. But only how we intend to cast ours. And why.
Our decisions are based upon three values we attributed to each candidate: accessibility, responsiveness and candor. Positions on issues really don’t mean much; it’s how a candidate conducts himself or runs his campaign that gives us more insight into character and integrity. In some cases, our calls and e-mails were simply unreturned, bounced or, ever worse, ignored. In other cases, we communicated directly with the candidates and then sent them a detailed questionnaire that focused on issues we felt important to our readers. Some questionnaires were returned and others were not. And in a few instances we had long chats with campaign workers and others that gave us an insider’s look into their races.
We are only concerned really with the two congressional campaigns and the mayoral race. In the First District, U.S. Rep. Ed Case was accessible enough bu not very responsive. He said he would be happy to have our endorsement and that was it. His opponent, Mike Gabbard, didn’t respond until after the primary, but then his staff worked hard to get our questionnaire completed and returned on time. The result is a split decision—no endorsement. But we are leaning toward Mike. In the Second District, we think Mr. Abercrombie has his act together. So we like him enough. He’s okay.
In the mayoral race, we met both candidates several times, but neither could remember us from event to event — they were both running on automatic and moved on quickly. Nor did either candidate feel the need to answer our e-mails or questionnaire. Our choice for mayor: None of the above.
Mark Twain once wrote the reason the wrong people are elected to office is that the wrong people run. We’ll see if that remains true today. At age 18, we’re old enough to vote for the wrong guy, but it seems we’re not quite old enough to know better.