At the risk of sounding somewhat Pollyannish, it seems to us that Maui County and Hawaii state governments are performing at a much higher level than their counterparts in the federal government.
Yes, there are continuing problems with education and one could only hope there was a more business-friendly attitude flowing from state government but, on the whole, the climate of trying to solve problems in Hawaii is much healthier than at the federal level.
Locally, it appears both the County Council and the administration are functioning very well. The Arakawa administration is very responsive.
Contrast that with the federal government. There is absolute gridlock in Congress and it seems a whole city (Washington) is fiddling while our version of Rome burns. The president has refused to seriously address deficits and the national debt. Instead, he engages in demagoguery about the "Buffet Rule" - a non-solution that would address less than 1 percent of the projected federal shortfall over the next decade.
The Republicans are no better - by stubbornly rejecting any movement on taxes, they have shut off any possible debate that would provide solutions.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans will accept publicly that the solutions are two-pronged - significant cuts in spending coupled with real, meaningful tax reform. It is time for the tax code to stop being a candy store for large political donors.
That is why we keep writing about candidates who talk about "working across the aisle " - engaging in debate and compromise with the other party to reach solutions. That is what we like about the candidacies of Mufi Hannemann, Linda Lingle and Ed Case. Each talks repeatedly about working with the other party.
Now if only we could get the candidates for president in 2012 talking about the real issues and working cooperatively. Throw in the party leaders and we might get somewhere.
That scenario is probably a dream. For now, all we can do is look for candidates we can vote for who are serious about solving America's big problems.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.