Ed Case says there are two things about Mazie Hirono's refusal to engage in statewide debates that bother him and should bother others:
1. It demonstrates an arrogance toward the voters.
2. It demonstrates a fear to engage in one of the most important parts of being a senator - debating.
For the first part, Case says Hirono is relying on a huge economic advantage to win the primary election for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Case says Hirono is hiding behind "tightly scripted and managed TV commercials."
As for the art of debating, Case says that if Hirono is afraid of debating him, she will have no chance standing up for Hawaii in the Senate. Case told us Tuesday that "debating other senators is an essential part of the job."
In our interview with him, the former congressman said he believes his views of government are more in line with Hawaii's voters than Hirono's are. He described Hirono as "ultraliberal," noting that left-leaning rating organization Progressive Punch ranked her as the sixth most liberal member of the House of Representatives.
In contrast, Case called himself a "moderate progressive," saying he would probably rank in the "36th percentile" or somewhere "around 150th" most liberal if he were still serving in the House.
Case said he is very progressive on social issues but his years in the private sector have made him leery of the burden government sometimes places on business. Again, the former congressman says this is one of the big differences between him and Hirono - he has private sector experience, she does not. At one point he expressed the view that spending her whole life in office has made Hirono "part of the problem, not part of the solution."
The former congressman said growing the economy is the most important challenge facing the country. He also noted that finding an answer to the federal deficit and the national debt will require a "balanced approach."
He emphasized that the government will have to find more revenue through tax reform, but that it also needs "to cut the growth rate of federal spending."
Case said that when he is elected to the Senate, he hopes to join the "Gang of Six" - a bipartisan group of senators dedicated to finding a solution for the national debt.
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