Monday, November 28, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, January 20, 2017
Competition Matters … In Sports and Government
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 2:14 PM :: 6468 Views :: Democratic Party, Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Competition Matters … In Sports and Government

by Dr Keli’i Akina, PhD, Grassroot Institute, January 20, 2017

Imagine a football game in which there is only one team playing. Instead of seeing dazzling plays, the entire game is spent watching that one team sprint down the field and score over and over again. The winning team might glory in the score, but for the crowd, there's an eerie feeling that something is missing. 

That's exactly what I felt as I sat on the Senate floor for the opening day of the Hawaii State Legislature

As the Senate President began his opening speech, he said, "There is no Senate minority...and we are getting used to dealing with that." Obviously, Senator Kouchi was aware that the last Republican in the state Senate lost his election. Now, Hawaii has the dubious distinction of having the only state Senate with no opposition party whatsoever. 

As the Senate president continued, he spoke about his support for the Honolulu rail project, adding that we are sure to have enough money to run the state because of the good planning the Senate has done in years past. He promised that although money is going to be tight this year, we will still, "take care of everyone in Hawaii."

It was a speech that begged for criticism and another viewpoint--on rail, on fiscal responsibility, on spending, and more--but there was none to be had. I was struck by the sheer silence of it. There was no minority response to Senator Kouchi's speech because there is no minority.

From the Senate floor, I was ushered to the House chamber with other VIP guests. There, I observed the Speaker of the House rise to address the audience. 

And what was the most memorable part of his remarks? The introductions of Rep. Kouchi's campaign manager and of the highest paid lobbyist for the Democratic Party (also the largest campaign donor to Democratic candidates). This lobbyist and campaign manager were introduced with all the pomp befitting a public official. 

It should go without saying that no Republican lobbyists or campaign officials were introduced from the House floor.

Like Sen. Kouchi, Speaker Souki also gave a speech that was startling in its nonchalant assumption of total political power. For the opening of the legislative session, the Speaker delivered an easygoing speech presuming his party's control of Hawaii. It even included this statement, which is both telling and unlikely to make it into any compendium of great political oratory: "When change comes to this place, we begrudgingly accept it."

I cannot tell you how strange it was to witness firsthand. It was as though no one present seemed to understand that the lack of a minority voice makes their victories seem empty and artificial.

You might assume that I'm merely griping about the leftward tilt of the Hawaii legislature, but the problem is far deeper than that. This isn't about who is ahead or behind with the voters. It's that the lack of opposition is a serious problem for all of Hawaii--even the Democrats, who think a weak Republican Party works to their benefit.

I can't help but think back to the words of Lord Acton, who famously noted that, "All power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Knowing that, why aren't we more worried about handing so much power to one political party in our state? Why haven't more citizens made the connection between Acton's dictum and the corruption they take for granted as a fact of state government?

Believe me - if it were the Republicans in sole control of the Hawaii legislature, I would have the same concerns.

At Grassroot, we speak a lot about the marketplace of ideas and how competitive federalism is necessary to sort out good policy from bad. But the sad fact is that we have no marketplace or competition in our state when it comes to public policy. Instead, it's a monopoly. And Hawaii's citizens are the ones who lose out by not having options, opposition, or a critical debate over what is best for our state.

E hana kakou (Let's work together!),

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.

President/CEO Grassroot Institute  

Correction Jan 27, 2017:  We received great responses to last week`s column entitled "Competition Sports and in Government". We are also grateful for a correction. We mistakenly referred to an individual introduced at the opening of the State Senate as a contributor to the Democratic Party. We should have said he is a contributor to Democrat candidates.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life 

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii