HONOLULU, March 12, 2012—Super Tuesday was barely in the history books as the campaign continued for the remaining spirited four presidential contenders. Saturday, March 10th, 2012, featured several contests with split results.
The Kansas Caucus was a throttling. Rick Santorum won big, capturing an outright majority with 51% of the vote. Mitt Romney had 21%, Newt Gingrich 14%, and Ron Paul 13%. Ron Paul, has never won anything at the presidential level, has supporters who insist this comes down to delegates. Rick Santorum won 32 out of the 40 delegates. Everybody else lost badly.
The Wyoming Caucus had reversed results. Mitt Romney won with 44% of the vote. Rick Santorum had 27%. Ron Paul won 12% and Newt Gingrich won less than 1%. That only adds up to 84%, with the remaining 16% going to other candidates no longer in the race. Barely more than 1,300 people voted in total, with Mr. Gingrich receiving exactly 7 votes. Mr. Romney won seven delegates and Mr. Santorum won three. Dr. Paul won a delegate, as his supporters declared victory and a mandate.
While the Paul campaign has talked about quietly amassing delegates in low turnout, little known contests, it seems that the Romney campaign is actually doing that. Guam and other islands outside the mainland gave Romney about 30 delegates, offsetting his loss to Santorum in Kansas.
Tuesday, March 13th, features a pair of primaries in the Deep South as Alabama and Mississippi enter the spotlight. Yet there is one other contest that day that is getting less attention. The Hawaii Caucus should not be overlooked. It is a big deal, and all four candidates are taking it seriously. They all paid the $5,000 filing fee for the first ever GOP presidential caucus in Hawaii.
Due to geographical and financial constraints, Alabama and Mississippi will get the candidates live in person. Yet surrogates were in Hawaii, and the action is already building to a crescendo. The reason I am reporting more about Hawaii is because I was personally on the ground there for ten days surveying the political scene. The excitement is palpable among Republicans.
I spoke to several groups, including the Oahu League of Republican Women. At their luncheon, all of the candidates had a spokesperson make a brief presentation on their behalf. All of the spokespeople consented to have their remarks covered.
Making the case for Newt Gingrich was Bonnie Wharton. She runs a Hawaii chapter of the Republican Women’s Federated. Back in the 1990s, she worked at the Republican Governor’s Association. She worked closely with Speaker Gingrich on the Contract With America. In the 1994 GOP landslide, Republicans did more than just take the House and Senate. According to Ms. Wharton. the GOP captured 36 governorships. This allowed the Republican Revolution to continue at the state level.
Ms. Wharton was also part of the Williamsburg Conference. She personally witnessed how Speaker Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole would quietly work together to solve problems. Ms. Wharton describes Mr. Gingrich as a brilliant communicator, a big thinker, and a good listener. She compared him to Winston Churchhill and pointed out that Newt is more than just big ideas. He can actually articulate and implement them.
Mike Greco advocated for Ron Paul. Mr. Greco was an Army Captain in the National Guard. He has served all over the world. He personally was located in the Strait of Hormuz, and has also been at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Greco is a proud veteran who enthusiastically supports Ron Paul. He points out that Ron Paul is the only military veteran still in the race, and that he is the choice of troops. Dr. Paul will bring them home a fast as he can.
Dr. Paul is promising one trillion in budget cuts in his first year in office in addition to closing five federal bureaucracies. Dr. Paul does not touch Social Security or Defense, and Mr. Greco is able to explain the difference between military spending and defense spending.
On the personal front, Dr. Paul has been married to his wife Carol for 54 years. Because she was born on February 29th, Dr. Paul joked that this year his lovely wife finally turned 18. Shifting to domestic policy, Dr. Paul believes that the lower taxes are, the better. On the political front, a recent Rasmussen poll had Dr. Paul defeating President Obama by a 43% to 41% margin.
Kimo Sutton is supporting Rick Santorum, and he took a very different approach. He does not like being videotaped, and let the videographer know this. Whether or not Mr. Sutton was joking is something he can clarify if he chooses. Mr. Sutton lambasted Mitt Romney over Romney’s narrow win over Santorum in Michigan. Mr. Sutton pointed out that Romney spent six times as much money as Santorum in the state, and asked if that was really a win.
Mr. Sutton is supporting Senator Santorum because he believes Mr. Santorum is the real conservative in the race. He asked the room if they wanted another John McCain or Bob Dole, or if they would rather have another Ronald Reagan. Mr. Sutton sees Mr. Romney as the former and Mr. Santorum as the latter.
Fritz Rolfing batted cleanup and made his case for Governor Mitt Romney. Mr. Rolfing pointed out that complaining about money is a waste of time because Romney was outspent by four to one by the late Senator Ted Kennedy in their 1994 Massachusetts Senate race. Mr. Rolfing also pointed out that even with a money advantage, President Obama has less than 50% support and is therefore at risk.
Mr. Rolfing mentioned a Hawaiian word “Ohana,” which means “shared responsibility.” Mr. Rolfing saw what he considered the “Romney Ohana” in 1972 at the GOP Convention in Miami. He was referring to former Michigan Governor George Romney, who ran for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Rolfing deeply believes that America would have been much better off had George Romney won the presidency, since it would have spared America the trauma of Watergate.
George Romney’s son Mitt graduated from law school Cum Laude. Mitt Romney finished in the top 5% of his class from the Harvard Business School. Mr. Rolfing sees Mitt Romney as a man of integrity and strong moral values. This election is not just about replacing a president. It is about saving the soul of America.
The Oahu League of Republican Women provided all four candidates a platform. Television did not record the event, so only those lucky enough to be at the Waikiki Yacht Club on March 1st, 2012 could evaluate the results. It is my humble opinion that while a couple of the presentations were quite good, Ron Paul had the best spokesperson in Mike Greco.
Mr. Greco is running for office himself to the Hawaii State Senate. Yet he kept his remarks disciplined and focused on Ron Paul. Mr. Greco made his case with passion and with a tightly disciplined set of bullet points. Dr. Paul is lucky to have Mr. Greco making the case for him.
One event that cast a shadow over the day was the death earlier that morning of conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart. The room kept him in their hearts. I began my remarks that day not advocating for any one candidate, but by honoring a mentor and fallen conservative warrior. Pointing to the sky, only one thing could be said.
“Andrew, this one’s for you.”
Emotions were still high two mornings later when I spoke to the East Oahu Republicans. There was another president forum, and more people would hear the spokespeople make their cases. One change from the earlier meeting was that Meghann Walker was now making the case for Ron Paul instead of Mike Greco. Mr. Greco most likely had a campaign event for himself, while Ms. Walker was the official state coordinator for Dr. Paul. The other candidates had the same spokespeople as before.
Unlike the earlier event, this time any actual remarks were to be kept off the record. Mr. Sutton in particular wanted all media to leave the room. Given that I was known to the spokespeople and had their trust, I was permitted to stay. Miss Walker had not heard me speak before, but I had heard her. She is young, smart, and passionate about Dr. Paul.
After all four presenters made their cases to the East Oahu Republicans, this time there would be questions for them. The bulk of the questions went to Miss Walker. She was excellent in energizing a group of young people the day before at a separate event, but this crowd was mostly older. She faced a withering assault, and responded with grace, aplomb, and intelligence. She was particularly eloquent in explaining Ron Paul’s position on Israel. What made her impressive was that she even anticipated some questions in advance, answering them preemptively.
One point of contention was not resolved to the satisfaction of the audience. Ron Paul supporters were accused in essence of being spoiled brats for not promising to coalesce around the actual winner. Miss Walker offered a different explanation. If Dr. Paul were to lose, his supporters would not stay home out of spite. However, apathy may set in since Dr. Paul excites his supporters and none of the other candidates inspire the same passion. The “apathy” answer was not accepted by the crowd.
Nevertheless, given that Miss Walker was the only person who faced tough questions, her responses again made Dr. Paul the winner of this event in terms of representation. This may or may not translate into votes, but for the second time in three days, his advocate made a strong case for him.
I again gave my remarks, but this time there was a role reversal. At the Oahu League of Republican Women, the presenters took no questions, while I did. At this meeting I did not end up taking questions. This was a good thing because Hawaii GOP voters ask very tough questions.
One issue in Hawaii is a bill being brought forward that would make any bar or tavern subject to being closed if it received three complaints. Weeding out legitimate complaints from frivolous ones has not been established in terms of methodology. My recommendation was that if Congress received three complaints, perhaps it could be closed.
While the four candidates engaged in spirited debate, for the most part they all agreed that replacing President Obama was of the utmost important. So closing my remarks allowed me to thank Adrienne King, the President of Oahu League of Republican Women.
“We have a president who thinks he is a king. He is not a king. I know a king when I see one. Adrienne, you are a president, a king, and a queen. Barack Obama is a court jester.”
Hawaii is not an easy place to be a Republican. Sam Slom was in attendance at the East Oahu Republican meeting. He is a Republican State Senator. Actually, to be precise, he is the Republican State Senator. Hawaii has many Democrats and exactly one Republican. Senator Slom has to be on every single committee, and he rarely wins votes. His hard work is an accurate reflection of the uphill struggle Republican face in very Blue Hawaii.
The Hawaii GOP Caucus has passionate Republicans willing to work block by block and Island by Island to take back their state and this country. While Maui, The Big Island, and the other Islands have some Republicans, about 75 to 80% of all Hawaii residents live in Oahu. For that reason, the hard work put in by the Oahu League of Republican Women and the East Oahu Republicans provide an accurate reflection of the Hawaii GOP political landscape.
Based on the energy and hard work of the local Republicans, President Obama should not take his birthplace and favorite vacation spot for granted.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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