Wow (Sexism, And Intraparty Warfare Edition)

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 8, 2010

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So, there is a pretty significant race going on in Hawaii, with Charles Djou–whose candidacy is discussed here–possibly primed to become the Republican Congressional Representative for the state’s first district, a district in which Barack Obama lived and grew up. Naturally, Democrats are worried about Djou’s ability to win, and so, they want to find a candidate who can hold the seat for the Democratic party.

Two Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination. One is former Representative Ed Case. The other is state senate president Colleen Hanabusa. Democrats believe that Case would be the stronger candidate against Djou. So the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has cut an ad for Case, in which the narrator states the following:

. . . “Hawaii needs a Congressman on our side.” That’s CongressMAN not CongressWOMAN. And, no, that’s not by accident — nothing ever is in a 30-second television ad. (For the record, DCCC officials insist nothing should be read into the “congressman” message.)

Yeah, right. Is there any doubt that if a Republican campaign committee or organization pulled this kind of move, it would not be denounced for sexism within the space of a few seconds?

Of course, the ad–and the DCCC’s favoritism games–are upsetting a whole host of Hawaiian Democrats:

The problem for national Democrats is that Case is roundly loathed by the Hawaii party establishment. Why? In 2006, Case decided to challenge Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary — a no-no in the go-along-to-get-along, wait-your-turn politics of the Aloha State.

Both Akaka and Inouye are behind Hanabusa — Inouye’s Hawaii-based chief of staff is helping her in the special election — and don’t appear to be budging.

And, the perceived favoritism for Case among some national Democrats is already rankling some interest groups. The Asian American Action Fund released a statement today saying that it is “unseemly for party officials to step into a special election with more than one Democrat” and noted that nearly six in ten residents of the 1st district are of Asian Pacific descent.

The White House and DCCC are in an extremely difficult spot. Initiating a top-down endorsement isn’t ideal in an outsider political environment like this one — particularly with the state’s two U.S. Senators lined up on the other side — but losing a special election in a district that went for President Barack Obama with 70 percent in 2008 would add to a negative national narrative for Democrats heading into the fall.

I would smell trouble for the Democrats, but for the fact that Republicans are popping popcorn all over the country in order to have something with which to snack as they watch Hawaii’s Democrats beat up on each other.

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