When the campaign of Mufi Hannemann responded to Civil Beat’s poll Monday showing him way behind Tulsi Gabbard in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives, it was titled “Mainland ‘Robo-Polls’ And Mainland Money.”

The campaign said the poll results were “drastically different” than results from “well-respected local pollsters Qmark and Ward Research. … All of the latest polls conducted by local firms, which are familiar with Hawaii’s unique and diverse electorate, show Mufi Hannemann with a healthy lead.”

The press release added that “one of our opponents’ mainland special interest groups contributed another $51,000, bringing the total to over half a million in outside special interest money that they are using against us.”

The Hannemann campaign was referring to Gabbard, who has indeed benefitted from the spending of mainland-based groups.

Putting aside the fact that Hannemann has also received campaign donations from outside groups and individuals, why is it such an insult to level the charge that one’s opponent has mainland ties?

‘Mainland-Style Political Tactics’

Hannemann is far from the only Hawaii candidate to use the word “mainland” in the pejorative.

Also on Monday, Bob Lee, campaign manager for the U.S. Senate campaign of Linda Lingle, accused the UH faculty union of using “Mainland-style political tactics” in advertisements on behalf of Ed Case.

Lee has also criticized the campaign of Mazie Hirono for calling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “a powerful right-wing mainland special interest group.”

For his part, Case has attacked Hirono several times for her mainland backers.

In a May 11 email to supporters, for example, Case wrote, “Fully 64% of all of Mazie’s PAC and ‘itemized’ (over $200) contributions in this race have come from mainland donors, while 75% of mine have come from Hawai’i.”

Case continued:

Here’s the bottom line: whatever Mazie and her handlers say (and just yesterday one attacked “mainland special interest” money flowing into Hawai’i), Mazie’s infomercials and other endgame efforts will be bought and paid for in large part by mainland special interest money that expects everything in return and cares little for Hawai’i.

Sometimes, an actual mainland state has become the target of antagonism.

Consider radio spots by contractor Dennis Mitsunaga attacking John White of Pacific Resource Partnership for attempting to link Mitsunaga’s firm to pay-to-play politics.

In one, Mitsunaga calls White a “hypocrite” from Arkansas; in another, he states, “This migrant from Arkansas simply does not understand the ways of aloha and respect in our islands.”

White, who is part-Hawaiian and was born in Hawaii, moved to Arkansas as a boy and moved back as an adult. But, it seems from Mitsunaga’s inference, those formative years had a corrosive influence.

Hypocrisy is everywhere.

Many well-known politicians, including some of those mentioned in this article, were born on the mainland, went to college there and worked there.

Daniel K. Inouye has probably spent more of his adult life living on the East Coast than in Honolulu and has probably received more mainland campaign donations than any local politician in the history of the state.

But you’ll not hear the charge that Dan practices mainland-style politics and is beholden to their special interests.

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