We don’t normally receive press releases from the pro-business, pro-establishment, pro-tourism, pro-commodification-of-all-things-lovely-about-our-home Maui Chamber of Commerce, so when we do, it’s quite an event. And today, this afternoon, we had an event. Quite an event indeed.
“The Chamber of Maui Political Action Committee (COMPAC) will hold a forum this Wednesday night with former Governor Linda Lingle at the Iao Theatre on August 15th, 2012 from 5:00 to 6:00pm to hear from the candidate for the US Senate seat and to make an endorsement determination for this race,” Chamber President Pamela Tumpap said (in bold!) in the press release.
Sounds great and not at all surprising. The Maui Chamber is going to endorse former Republican Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle? Yawn. Except all was not well in the Maui Chamber world.
See, apparently the Chamber wanted to do a kind of “debate” in the Iao–an actual forum where “all major candidates” (what? there were others?) could gather and then some Chamber committee would decide who to endorse. But that crafty Congressional member Mazie Hirono threw a wrench into the finely crafted works.
See, Lingle agreed. Ed Case (who is no longer a candidate) agreed. But Hirono? “[D]espite numerous calls to the Hirono campaign, we have been unable to confirm Hirono’s participation,” Tumpap wrote.
For shame! Tumpap then weaved a tale of political terror. Hirono’s people said in writing that they would respond after the Primary. Calls were then made to Hirono’s people. Chamber fingers presumably tapped on Chamber desks, awaiting a return call that never came. Finally, undoubtedly despondent, Tumpap had to act.
“[A]t 10:38 am COMPAC made a decision to move forward with the forum since the Hirono campaign had not confirmed the congresswoman’s participation and it was within one day of the event. At that time the Lingle campaign was also contacted to inform them of the format change so that they could adequately prepare for this change.”
Seriously, on what planet would any of this be shocking, much less interesting? The Maui Chamber of Commerce endorsed Linda Lingle during her 2006 gubernatorial reelection campaign. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Lingle’s bid for Senate earlier this year. In 2003 and again in 2004, the Chamber’s PAC contributed $1,000 to Lingle’s campaign.
Lingle practically has the word “commerce” tattooed on her forehead. The idea that the Maui Chamber, with or without a “debate” involving Hirono, would endorse anyone other than Lingle is simply silly.
About Anthony Pignataro
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.