Yeah, winning the HI legislature isn’t going to be happening anytime soon. The HI House has gone from 32D-19R in 2000 (under Dem Gov. Cayetano, its high water mark in the recent era) all the way down to 45D-6R with this election (essentially tying MA for a GOP non-entity). Even worse, the Senate now has just 2 Republicans, down from the 5 it had won since 2002 (it had lost 1 in ‘07), so it is even lower a percentage in the Senate than in the House (8% of the body).
Lingle has been unable to turn it around. The GOP hasn’t held the majority in either body since just prior to statehood in the ‘50s. At one point, the GOP had an even smaller presence than it does now and came very close to being the first state in the nation outside the South in the modern era to have no Republicans in a legislative body.
It’s remarkable Lingle can even govern under such circumstances, as the obscene Dem majorities could rule without her input and reduce her to figurehead status.
Today, neither has delivered on that promise, because both would rather be liked by Democrat politicians at state cocktail parties than force real change. Arnie tried a series of half-ass "reforms" that didn't have a prayer of passing, including some really off the wall stuff, and so did Lingle (perhaps the silliest proposal being her plan to ship all criminals across the pacific ocean to prisons on the mainland in order to deal with the prison overcrowding issue on Hawaii without having to build new prisons). The "Republican Main Street Partnership" -- the premier RINO breeding ground in the U.S. -- has only two Governors who are card carrying members. Guess who? Yep, Arnie and Linda. Not even that annoying Conn. RINO is a member.
The hopes that Arnie and Linda had of campaigning across the state with like-minded "moderates" who would get elected on their celebrity coattails didn't work, because voters choose the real Democrat when their choices were Dem and Dem lite. So in both Hawaii and California, the situation is Dems control the legislature by lopsided margins for the foreseeable future, and every statewide office except the Governorship. As usual, RINOs deliver for no one but the left.
There are some differnces of course -- Arnie is a numbskull and Lingle is a bright speaker, Arnie is a showman and Lingle is an actual politican -- and of course Arnie PLAYS a tough and "manly" act, where Lingle has Charlie Crist syndrome (constantly being the subject of whisper campaign in her own party that she's a closet homosexual), but what it all boils down to at the end of the day is they are both ineffective RINOs.
The sole bright spot Hawaii might have is the Lt. Governor, James Aiona, had a reputation as a very conservative law and order judge and won the Lt. Governor GOP primary without the support of Lingle's faction of the party, but was elected to the office in November on her coattails. As a pacific islander, the average Hawaiian can identify with him more, and perhaps he can do a better job selling the GOP brand than the RINO Lingle. If Lingle is not term limited and doesn't retire in 2010, Aiona needs to step up to the plate and get the Governor's office from her.