Sisters in arms

July 23rd, 2012

EMILY’s List, the national group that supports Democratic women candidates who favor abortion rights, has purchased $128,720 in television advertisements for Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign for Congress.

The ad buy is the latest sign that political analysts believe Gabbard has a chance against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the primary to replace U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, who is running for U.S. Senate.

From Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List:

Our research shows that women voters want leaders like Tulsi right now who understand what they’re going through, and will take their fight to Washington. The EMILY’s List community is thrilled to stand with a dynamic, accomplished leader like Tulsi. We know she’s working hard to make it easier for women and their families – and that’s exactly what we need right now in Congress.

Esther Kiaaina, a former chief advocate for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs who is also running in the primary, said she is offended by the ads.

I am particularly offended by the ads being paid for by Emily’s List, an organization whose supposed mission is to help women candidates. It is clear to me that all this group cares about is which candidate has the most money in her campaign war chest as opposed to which candidate is the most qualified or has demonstrated an ability to fight for women’s rights. Shame on Emily’s List.

25 Responses to “Sisters in arms”

  1. Goober:

    Esther speaks as if in anger. Tulsi speaks in a soft tone. I assume many listen to one who speaks softly and not to one who seems to shout.
    Esther is in anger because she is ignored by anyone’s list.

    Maybe another reason is because Tulsi is prettier.

  2. kama'aina808:

    Sounds like Esther bought some sour grapes @ the farmer’s market.

  3. Siera808:

    Wow!!! Ms GABBARD has a lot of special interest backing her, yet her commercials say she will put an end to special interest. Just another politician….!

  4. GoodOlBoy:

    Grapes aren’t indigenous, maybe three month old poi.

  5. maybe:

    Emily’s list a great organization – I’m just embarrassed for Esther that she would let her political ambition and anger out in the open like this. It’s been so weird to see the way she fawns over Mufi at every debate and candidate forum. Obviously they’ve worked out a deal where she’s going to get chief of staff if Mufi gets to Congress – then she can run for his House seat when he tries to get to Senate.

    She’s obviously just another ambitious politician like Mufi; she doesn’t care a whit about progressive values or she and her supporters wouldn’t be trying so hard to get Mufi elected when they’re supposedly on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

    I was kinda liking her until this strategy became so obvious. Now it’s obvious she’s just a little Mufi without the political clout.

  6. Emma W.:

    What a joke! Esther Kiaaina says, “Stand with me against mainland-style politics and negative campaigning…” she then goes on to trash Emily’s List using all kinds of abusive language because they endorse another candidate..

    This is why the majority of the people of Hawaii are not getting behind you. You made your bed by doing a deal with Mufi now you have to lie in that bed. Shame on you Esther Kiaaina!

  7. wahine:

    I heard from people connected to Esther’s campaign they’re trying to help Mufi get in because Esther knows she can’t win – so she and Mufi are teaming up to attack Tulsi and Esther will get to run for his seat in Congress when he goes for Senate.

    This means Esther has ZERO integrity and how could anyone who cares about Hawaii help try to get Mufi elected in an underhanded way.

    Another self-serving, ambitious politician – just like Mufi.

  8. Marc Wyers:

    This is awesome for Tulsi Gabbard! I’m so impressed with her campaign. She’s a refreshing change from the self-interested politicians who always reveal their true colors. Go Tulsi!

  9. Amber:

    Tulsi is the only progressive in this race who has shown she can actully BEAT Mufi! This is great news.

  10. Vaginal Voter:

    Superficial gender identity politics, anyone?

  11. maui_boy:

    Esther Kiaaina’s tendency to be shrill and just plain nasty is disappointing and beneath the office she seeks. Emily’s List is to be praised rather than criticized for their endorsement and support of Tulsi Gabbard. Emily’s List is not looking at the size of Tulsi’s war chest but rather at her stunning resume: the youngest woman in the U.S. ever elected to a state legislature, a captain in the Army and hero of two tours of duty in war zones in the Middle East, an aide to Sen. Dan Akaka in the U.S. Senate, an effective member of the City Council, a proven environmentalist, a champion of equal rights for all (including women!), and an exceedingly bright, articulate public servant. Tulsi is a throw-back to Hawaii’s heroes of the past who came back from WWII and devoted themselves to fighting for Hawaii’s little guy. She is an inspiration to women everywhere–including to my daughters! This is Hawaii’s chance to elect the first female war veteran to serve in Congress. Tulsi Gabbard is a class act who will make Hawaii proud for years to come. Shame on Esther.

  12. PaiaGirl:

    The Civil Beat poll on 6/18 showed: Tulsi Gabbard 35%, Mufi 31%, Undecided 14%, Bob Marx 11% and Kia’aina 10%. Margin of error 5%

    So at that time it was a statistical tie between front runner, Tulsi Gabbard and Mufi Hannemann with Marx and Kia’aina trailing behind “undecided”

    Normally an article would have the other front runner comment.

  13. Jordan:

    The real question here is: why is Emily’s List airing ads for Gabbard but not Mazie?

    Isn’t having a pro-woman senator far more important than electing a waffley freshman in the House minority?

  14. Kolea:

    This talk of a “deal” between Mufi and Esther is a lie and it is obviously coming from Tulsi’s campaign workers. Comments 5,6,7,8 and 11 are from Tulsi-bots. I seriously doubt any of those people had said anything nice about Emily’s List or a woman’s right to an abortion prior to Tulsi deciding she needed to reverse her positions in order to have a chance in this race.


  15. Goober:

    Francis on other woman’s right to an abortion.
    Mufi opposes.

    Esther says:
    “Reproductive health care options including access to contraception, safe abortion, and maternity services must be protected. We must preserve a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and I will continue to fight for a woman’s right to choose.”

    Tulsi is getting prettier.

  16. Sierra:

    I take offense to all of the Esther volunteers who sit around on comment sections all day calling Tulsi supporters “Tulsi-bots.”  It’s offensive.  You guys need to get a new hobby and stop attacking random voters who support a different candidate.

  17. Proud to be Hawaiian:

    As a Kamehameha graduate and a proud Hawaiian, I am very ashamed of the way Ms. Kiaaina’s is running her campaign. We were educated to be industrious men and women. We were also educated to be truthful, honest, and humble.

    If you are going to offer yourself to be a public servant for the people of Hawaii, please do so with aloha.

    What I have observed in your campaign and statements made by you and your supporters is very, very disturbing for me.

    Ms. Kiaaina, shame, shame, shame on you for disgracing our people.

  18. Starry Eyes:

    I don’t know, Tulsi’s looking pretty artificial these days, and her negative campaigning and innuendo is a real turn off. Most of all, many of her supporters here and elsewhere seem like real Kool-Aid swiggers, and that’s kinda scary.

  19. PaiaGirl:

    Esther’s campaign is descending into the same dirty politics as her Blue Dog mentor, Ed Case.

    To call me a “bot” because I repeat what Esther’s campaign people actually TOLD me – that they want Mufi to win because then Esther can run when Mufi goes for Inouye’s Senate Seat, is insulting and so typical of Mufi-style campaigning.

    And ironic because I was supporting Esther prior to the Civil Beat poll…I guess I was an “Esther-bot” then, right?

    I find it disturbing that Esther would do Mufi’s dirty campaigning for him so that he can keep his hands clean and be “such a gentleman”. Anyone who has had dealings with Mufi’s campaign manager, Gruenstein (last seen screaming F— you at officials of the Democratic party who wouldn’t disqualify delegates he didn’t like) knows the Mufi campaign is not a “gentle” one.

    And the incredible damage this has done and is continuing to do to Esther Kia’aina’s reputation is just sad. This was a woman with good positions (except for her Blue Dog tendencies on balancing the budget in a time of recession) who had so much going for her — it is just tragic that she let her political ambition destroy her reputation.

    If she had taken the high road instead of doing Mufi’s dirty campaigning, she would no doubt have been elected next time out. Now….well, I know she has lost my vote for any election.

  20. Kolea:


    There is nothing “random” about the organized effort by Tulsi volunteers to flood the online comments with their campaign talking points. These people speak in the same tone. making the same arguments and have only appeared for the sake of this campaign. If you cannot see that, you are very naive.

    There are “random” voters who, when faced with a choice between Mufi and Tulsi, have decided to support Tulsi. While I disagree with that choice, I can understand the logic which is driving them. But the core of Tulsi’s volunteers are members of the Butler cult and have been active in anti-gay and anti-abortion activities for years. Heck, they are on the third generation of Hare Krishna kids.

    Try talking to some of Tulsi’s campaign workers to get to know what they believe as individuals. You will find that they are very secretive. They are hostile to “karmi” culture, believing we are all caught up in maya and ignorant of the need to surrender our independence to a bonafide spiritual master. The only “bonafide spiritual master,” by the way, is Kailua’s homegrown guru, Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, Chris Butler, aka “Jagad Guru. Tulsi was born and raised in this cult and continues to worship Chris Butler as her spiritual master. Most of these online comments, surely all those I numbered on this thread, are coming from other Butler followers.

    PaiaGirl is an exception. She has long been an online figure, has come to support Tulsi for her own ideas and does not limit her comments to the approved talking points. She also has a history of commenting on a broad range of issues. (I still think she has gone too far in her uncritical support for Tulsi. A little skepticism is essential for any progressive to maintain their bearings, IMO.

    And, while I do support Esther, I am not a part of her campaign. I also like Bob Marx and Rafael del Castillo. I just think Esther is much more qualified than any of the others. I actively dislike Mufi and would normally be in the Anyone But Mufi camp, as I have been in every previous election. But Tulsi’s lifelong involvement win one of the nastiest political cults in recent Hawaii history lead me to oppose her election and to drag out into the open information the official, commercial press refuses to share with the public.

  21. Kolea:


    You seem to be drawing a lot of firm conclusions based upon pretty shaky evidence. If you review what I wrote above, I listed the numbered comments I regarded as coming from “Tulsi-bots.” Yours was not listed.

    Not sure if I read you correctly. Are you saying that my dismissal of the Tulsi-bots is a sign “Esther’s campaign is descending into the same dirty politics as her Blue Dog mentor, Ed Case”? COuple fo points. First, Esther’s campaign is not responsible for what I have written here. Second, Esther worked for Danny Akaka, Guam Rep. Underwood, Ed Case and Kamehameha Schools, so why is Ed Case her mentor? Why not Danny Akaka or Rep. Underwood?

    I have no iuse for Blue Dog Democrats in general or Ed Case in particular and have denounced Ed and the pack of dogs he favors with frequency in online forums. I do not see Esther as a Blue Dog and could not support her if I did.

    The example you cite for Mufi’s “dirty campaigning” actually works against your argument. Justin Gruenstein did get upset and yell at the 2010 Maui county convention. But you omit from your story the niggling detail that the leaders of the Maui Party at the time were openly aligned with Neil Abercrombie’s campaign and were engaged in widespread cheating in order to pack the convention with handpicked Abercrombie supporters. Gruenstein was yelling because it was so outrageous, blatant and shameless. Aside from his “potty mouth,” the real “dirty campaigning” was being done AGAINST Mufi in that instance.

    But I know some Maui Democrats feel Mufi is the Anti-Christ and must be defeated “by all means necessary.” That attitude is apparent in your own intense hostility to Mufi, which you have now transferred to Esther because she does not buy into your passionate, absolutist belief that “Mufi must be stopped!” Mufi IS a scoundrel. I suspect some of us here on Oahu know that better than you do over there on Maui. But Tulsi, the Gabbard clan and the Butler cult group are also scoundrels, though you may not see it because of their healthfood aura and Tulsi’s beatific smile. But for those of us who have watched them up close, packing Board of Education meetings and denouncing programs in the schools to shelter vulnerable gay high school kids from bullying, we do NOT buy the hippy-dippy, “peace, love, dove” mantra she is now chanting. Not so long as her fellow devotees are the foot-soldiers in her drive to get elected.

    If you listen to what I am saying, I can imagine you might interpret this as more evidence of a “deal” between Esther’s camp and Mufi’s camp. After all, I am not willing to subordinate my distrust of Tulsi to your primary goal of defeating Mufi. I do not see the election of Mufi as a complete disaster. Yes, he would hold the seat for two years and can be defeated in the next election by someone more trustworthy than Tulsi. Maybe over the next two years, Tulsi could actually DO SOMETHING to demonstrate her support for gay equality and women’s reproductive rights. Because, you may have noticed, she has not DONE ANYTHING to advance those causes, even as you and others are pretending her shift actually means something.

    So if you and I were to talk, as you say you talked with some of Esther’s “campaign people,” you might very well conclude that I do not see Mufi’s defeat and Tulsi’s election as the most important thing and might even say, if Mufi wins THIS time, we can defeat him next time. Maybe with Esther. Maybe with someone else. But that does not constitute a “deal.” And by saying such a “deal” exists,” you are demonstrating a willingness to exaggerate and bend the truth in your holy crusade to stop Mufi, the Anti-Christ.

  22. Goober:

    When I vote I should check my Ouija Board and see who to vote for.

    Try talking to those who favor rail.

  23. PaiaGirl:

    “But you omit from your story the niggling detail that the leaders of the Maui Party at the time were openly aligned with Neil Abercrombie’s campaign and were engaged in widespread cheating in order to pack the convention with handpicked Abercrombie supporters”

    Whooo boy is that backwards!!!!!! Mufi guys were the ones packing their people into delegate positions which is why the Maui County Democratic party has all but collapsed – these Mufi supporters are 100% MIA when it comes to doing the WORK of the positions they were placed in.

    However, it was true that many of the Maui officials were supporting Abercrombie. But, heck, turn and turn around is fair play. Now the top Maui officials are Mufi supporters — and like I said, the party is in shambles because they aren’t there to work for the party – they are there only to get their own Mufi agenda implemented. Talk about strong-arm tactics and blatent rule breaking. At least the Abercrombie officials had respect for the party rules and for open and transparent party processes.

  24. EducatedVoter:

    Kolea, thank you so much for your reasoned response to some of the craziness we have been deluged with during this primary season. I agree with you – Gabbard has done nothing to prove her so-called “conversion.” Not only that, she is backed by these groups that can’t point to anything she has done to deserve their backing. Even the Sierra Club’s mailing could not list a thing she did for the environment. This race is all about ending Mufi’s career, yet the cult followers keep taking potshots at Kia’aina, as they fear her experience and know-how will get in the way of the manchurian candidate’s win. It’s a sad state of affairs, especially with Emily’s List being duped by someone who voted against the morning after pill for rape victims. That sure indicates high level dem party participation for Gabbard to have obtained that backing.

  25. Goober:

    Maybe one so educated will need a condom from getting any venereal disease or AIDS, from a fellow civilian. It will help against one getting pregnant by rape. The female if not pregnant may continue life after with therapy dealing with her trauma.

    Seems those against Tulsi have their foot in mouth.
    Mrs. DOMA needs to pull out weeds or her garden will not grow.

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