The Sunshine Blog: Tulsi For POTUS? The Hawaii GOP Is Still A Mess, Budget Briefing - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.

Short takes, outtakes, our takes and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

Aloha, Pennsylvania Avenue? Is Tulsi Gabbard seriously considering another run for president?

The former Hawaii congresswoman turned right-wing political pundit seemed to tease the idea this past week during a guest appearance on Fox News with Sean Hannity. 

When asked by Hannity if she would consider another attempt for the White House Gabbard said “if there were a way for me to best serve this country in that fashion I would.”

Hannity followed up by asking if she would run as a third-party candidate. To which she offered a similarly coy response. 

“I’d consider all options, put it that way,” Gabbard said.

Oooh, the intrigue. 

As you’ll recall, Gabbard ran for president in 2020 as a Democrat. She barely registered in the polls and dropped out after a series of last place finishes

Since then, Gabbard, who’s known to be a political chameleon, has rebranded herself as a darling of the political right. 

Tulsi Gabbard on a recent show with Sean Hannity. (Screenshot/2023)

She abandoned the Democratic Party, took a gig as a guest contributor to Fox News and has been a reliable troll of President Joe Biden and his policies, attacking him over everything from immigration and his approach to Ukraine to culture war issues, such as transgender rights and “anti-white racism.” (Yes, those really are her words even though Gabbard herself is mixed race.)

Whether Gabbard actually runs is an open question.

In January, she was reportedly one of several women on former President Donald Trump’s short list of vice presidential candidates

Whatever she decides we can promise you one thing: We’ll be watching through the cracks between the fingers that cover our eyes. 

Dysfunction junction: The Hawaii Republican Party has lost its third chair in six months. Tim Dalhouse has told local GOP members that, well, the party’s problems are just too much for him to handle.

From the Hawaii Republican Party’s website. (Screenshot/2023)

“The legal and financial issues that existed prior to my tenure, severe dysfunction and factional fighting, subversive activities and blatant violations of confidentiality agreements, as well as the complete lack of focus on doing anything to achieve the goal of getting Republicans elected, have proven insurmountable to me,” Dalhouse said in an email Thursday.

Dalhouse was chosen to lead the Hawaii GOP just two months ago at the state convention in Hilo.

The party has had difficulty in recent years holding on to a chair, even as it has managed to place more party members in the Hawaii Legislature. It certainly cannot be any fun to be attacked online by dissident Republicans like Eric Ryan, who two weeks ago attacked Dalhouse on the Hawaii Republican Assembly website.

The internal squabbling among party leaders appears to have reached a new level. Diamond Garcia, the immediate past chair and currently the House minority floor leader, told The Sunshine Blog that he “totally understood” why Dalhouse resigned but expressed confidence that the conservative movement would continue to grow.

  • A Special Commentary Project

Budget in brief: The Blog confesses to finding the current Hawaii state budget, all 30,000 words of it, almost impossible to understand. And believe us, we’ve tried.

Which is why it is great to share that the Hawaii Budget and Policy Center, a program of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, has just released Budget In Brief 2023 along with Budget Highlights 2023.

Here’s a few highlights from the highlights:

  • $827.6 million for housing and homelessness
  • $175.9 million for healthcare and wellness
  • $52.4 million for early learning
  • $344 million less for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, “mostly due to post-pandemic reductions in unemployment”
  • $142 million for the Department of Land and Natural Resources to “better preserve and restore our at-risk natural environment”

The budget analysis also offers some very good observations and recommendations, including the following, which is worth quoting in full:

“The process and timeline for determining the budget this year received vocal criticism from, among others, legislators themselves. Multiple lawmakers have spoken about the inaccessibility of the process of creating the budget, our most important policy, and the need for a significant overhaul.

“Part of the problem is that there is no access to timely specifics about the budget, even for legislators who sit on the money committees. Budget worksheets are the most useful tools to understand budget details, but they can be difficult to understand, and can run up to nearly a thousand pages at times. Most legislators — and the entirety of the public — have no access to the worksheets before the final budget decision. This year, the worksheets for the final executive budget were not posted to the legislative website until May 19, more than two weeks after the legislative session ended.”

Read this next:

Honolulu's Natalie Iwasa On 2 Decades Of Minding The Public's Business

Local reporting when you need it most

Support timely, accurate, independent journalism.

Honolulu Civil Beat is a nonprofit organization, and your donation helps us produce local reporting that serves all of Hawaii.


About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.

Latest Comments (0)

For Tulsi or most any other politician of late, it seems more about marketabilty - in the sense of firming up one's "customer base" - than any ideology or coherent vision. Once a taste for the trappings of political office, or even just running, are acquired, it all looks awfully similar to televangelism. No need fix nothing: just concrete benefits for the principal now, in return for the promise of joyous returns for the flock in an unspecified next phase.Tired of flying economy ? Driving yourself around in traffic ? Paying for meals ? Low credit ? Standing in line ? Wish you had assistants to take care of pesky chores, from paying bills to renewing your registration ? Run for office, and be sure to fill the campaign chest to cover most of it. Curry favor with donors big & small, with minimal competition preferred. Position yourself accordingly: reason, crime, drugs, busybodies, immigrants, etc. are bad; belief, military, puppies, babies, borders, freedom, etc. are good.Keep aiming just over the next hill, and enjoy all your hard-won perks as the kala and favors roll in. Rinse & repeat.

Kamanulai · 1 month ago

If you think the state budget sheets are bad, try the far more voluminous and involved federal budget. The military budget in the federal budget is even worse. And then you have to dig down into all the agency budgets. And that’s just what’s being reported - who knows how everything is actually being accounted for.Good times. There’s a reason that the State House Budget Committee had the largest number of staff. The Federal government has literally thousands of people working on the budgets there. CB may be a touch too ambitious on this data journalism topic.

Frank_DeGiacomo · 2 months ago

When I saw that Gabbard was maybe running for prez, I thought - which party?I was stumped trying to think of a polite description of her record. But you could: "a political chameleon" . Well done! Her best ‘public service’ would be to shut her front door.

Mauna2Moana · 2 months ago

Join the conversation


IDEAS is the place you'll find essays, analysis and opinion on every aspect of life and public affairs in Hawaii. We want to showcase smart ideas about the future of Hawaii, from the state's sharpest thinkers, to stretch our collective thinking about a problem or an issue. Email to submit an idea.


You're officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. A confirmation email will arrive shortly.

In the meantime, we have other newsletters that you might enjoy. Check the boxes for emails you'd like to receive.

  • What's this? Be the first to hear about important news stories with these occasional emails.
  • What's this? You'll hear from us whenever Civil Beat publishes a major project or investigation.
  • What's this? Get our latest environmental news on a monthly basis, including updates on Nathan Eagle's 'Hawaii 2040' series.
  • What's this? Get occasional emails highlighting essays, analysis and opinion from IDEAS, Civil Beat's commentary section.

Inbox overcrowded? Don't worry, you can unsubscribe
or update your preferences at any time.