The U.S. senatorial debate Monday night between former Gov. Linda Lingle and Rep. Mazie Hirono was enlightening for two reasons:
Hirono has no platform, other than to keep mentioning that her opponent is a Republican! Lingle is conversant on a broad array of subjects and Hirono is not.
The debate on KHON reminded us of classroom encounters where one student had studied and the other one tried to bluff her way through. When asked to name a legislative accomplishment, Hirono could not.
Lingle used that opportunity to point out that despite an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature, she was able to champion the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. Lingle also pointed out that, working with members of the opposing party, Hawaii closed a huge revenue gap after the crash of 2008 and balanced its budget.
When asked to cite some examples of working on a bipartisan basis in Washington, Hirono talked about supporting President Barack Obama's policies. The only problem with her answer is that Obama and Hirono are in the same party. When pressed, she talked about working with Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, who supported her in her primary race against Ed Case.
Lingle quickly pointed out that Young is not supporting Hirono in the general election.
Hirono charged that, if elected, Lingle would toe the Republican Party line - and that the GOP doesn't reflect Hawaii values. Lingle responded that she has always been a moderate who worked across party lines. The Lingle campaign has also pointed out Hirono votes her party line 96 percent of the time.
Hirono also said Lingle is co-chairwoman of the Mitt Romney election campaign. In fact, Lingle is an honorary chairwoman of the Jewish Americans for Romney Coalition - not co-chairwoman of the Romney campaign.
But that was just one of a series of gaffes by Hirono. She spouted out figures about the causes of debt and taxing the rich that were so off base as to be laughable. She inaccurately called Lingle's plan to shore up Medicare "a voucher system" and it is not. In fact, it is just like a system Hirono participates in as a member of Congress.
In short, Monday night Hirono showed the state why she wanted to limit the number of debates against Lingle.
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