Holiday Missive To The President

Then-state Sen. David Ige (left) waves to his supporters and thanks Gov. Neil Abercrombie Aug. 9 after Ige defeated the governor in the primary election EUGENE TANNER / AP PHOTO

Then-state Sen. David Ige (left) waves to his supporters and thanks Gov. Neil Abercrombie Aug. 9 after Ige defeated the governor in the primary election EUGENE TANNER / AP PHOTO

Dear Mr. President,

I hope this finds you, Michelle and your lovely daughters enjoying Christmas in Hawaii. I apologize for not writing sooner with an invitation to spend your vacation with the Boylan family in Pearl City.

But, frankly, my feelings have been hurt. Twice earlier in your presidency, I invited you to bunk with us, and twice you ignored my invitation. You ensconced yourself instead on a Windward beach, in an upscale neighborhood where, ever so occasionally, a Republican can win an election.

That would never happen in Pearl City. Never. Drink the waters of Pearl City and you imbibe the nutrients of big “D” Democracy.

You doubt? Do you, Mr. President, know the origins of the nation’s first Filipino governor? Ben Cayetano is his name; as a young lawyer, Ben settled his family in Pearl City. There he won election to the state Legislature, where he served 14 years, then eight as lieutenant governor, then two terms as governor.

Cayetano left office in 2002, moved from Pearl City to East Honolulu, ran for mayor in 2012 — and lost.

Still doubt my “power of Pearl City” thesis?

OK. Try this: Last summer, Hawaii’s incumbent governor was running for re-election. He enjoyed the name recognition of God and rhetorical skills that rival Barack Obama’s. His campaign treasury contained $5 million. And, get this, he boasted the endorsement of the president of the United States. That’s right, I’m speaking of your friend Neil Abercrombie.

His opponent? A little-known state senator who’d never run a county or statewide race, whose campaign treasury topped out at less than $500,000, and whose rhetorical skills could charitably be described as modest.

No chance, right?

Chance. State Sen. David Ige defeated Abercrombie. The verb is not “edged out,” nor is “defeated” adequate. “Trounced” works. “Smashed” is most appropriate.

Two-thirds of the voters in the Democratic primary voted for Ige, the great unknown and underfunded. Ige then went on to win a three-way general election contest against two candidates, both of whom at the outset were better known than he.

Abercrombie attributed his loss to having championed the cause of same-sex marriage.

All of us in the “Society of Professional Scribblers and Talking Heads” offered our explanations for the incumbent’s defeat, most multilayered.

One explanation suffices, however, but heretofore has gone undiscussed. A drum roll please: Ige was born in Pearl City, raised in Pearl City, educated in Pearl City and returned to live in and represent Pearl City in the Legislature.

Pearl City bestows electoral magic, absolutely and unequivocally.

And that, my good president, is why you should have accepted my earlier invitations to spend your Hawaii Christmas vacations in Pearl City. Had you done so, the Republicans would never have taken control of the House in 2010, of the House and Senate this past fall, or forced you to spend — trillions, wasn’t it? — on your reelection two years ago.

Nor would your approval ratings (43 percent, as I write) have dropped 24 points since your first inauguration six years ago.

Now please don’t misunderstand. We still approve of you here in Hawaii. And we’re thrilled that you come home for the holidays.

And I know, I know. The beach for the girls. But might I suggest you give me a call? Come over to Pearl City. I’ll take you on a little tour. Stop at a bar or two, order a few of Pearl City’s favorite drink: “Light beer, water back.” Be sure to drink that water back, Mr. President, and watch your numbers soar.