It is amusing to see commercials on television saying that former Gov. Linda Lingle will be a pawn of Republican leaders if she is elected to the United States Senate.
Lingle is the most independent politician we've ever run into. She certainly hasn't had a lot of practice being beholden to the GOP here because one could make a fairly strong argument that there isn't a Republican Party in Hawaii.
There's the Democrats and, well, Lingle. Oh, sure, we have a token Republican in the state Senate and a few in the state House, but they are just there for window dressing - they have no power. Maui's lone GOP state House member is there because his Democratic opponent in the last election had an error in judgment and backed a friend who was charged with a sexual indiscretion.
Oh, sure, you'll see your occasional Charles Djou and Duke Aiona on television, but nobody gives them the key to the car. They let Djou take the U.S. District 1 House seat for a spin in the special election when Neil Abercrombie resigned, but it was a fluke. His two Democratic opponents split that party's vote and let Djou go to Washington for a few months.
No, Lingle is the only Republican who is taken seriously statewide. And it is because she is so independent, so hard to button hole. Oh, and did we forget to mention, forthright. Lingle actually tells people what she is thinking.
We didn't agree with everything Lingle did as governor. But she never promised one thing and did another.
The former governor says she wants to go to Washington to work across party lines to find solutions to the country's big problems. She also wants to fight for Hawaii - make it easier for resident of the Far East to vacation in our islands, for instance.
As we've expressed previously, we think her opponent is too ideologically rigid to make the bipartisan compromises necessary to correct the country's debt and deficit problems. Lingle will put country first and work with anyone - no matter the party - to find the big solutions.
There's a reason Lingle has been successful. Put succinctly, it is because she is smart, moderate and honest. She is just what Hawaii needs in our next United States senator.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.