Neil Abercrombie’s re-election pitch often revolved around his ability to bring home federal money. His premature retirement from Congress will, of course, erase all the seniority that has accrued to Hawaii over the past twenty years. Our new Congressman or woman, therefore, will start at the bottom of the totem pole.
But, the real question is how effective was Neil with all that seniority Hawaii’s voters gave him? He often bragged about his ability to secure federal dollars with his “earmarks” and his senior positions on key defense committees, but what did this mean for you? Apparently not much. He produced major funding for his defense contractor friends, but littlle if any of that money made it to the average Hawaii citizen. His military industrial connections responded in kind becoming among Abercrombie’s largest political campaign contributors.
BAE, among Neil’s largest contributors, got earmarks and government contracts. Lockheed Martin, another regular donor got a contract for jet engines nobody else seemed to want. Even Hawaii Biodiesel, a local large contributor whose president is an “honorary” campaign chairwoman for Neil, got a $3.5 million “earmark.” The list goes on and on and their reciprocation to Neil’s political war chest was standard procedure.
So, again, what did you get from the 2009 contender for CAGW “Porker of the Year,” Congessman Neil Abercrombie?
According to Cliff Slater, long time student of Abercrombie’s record, you pretty much got screwed. One of his is regular “Second Opinion” op ed columns laid it out vividly:
“Our delegation rightly points out that Hawaii is sixth in the nation as a recipient of federal spending on a per capita basis.”
“Quite simply, the military’s defense requirements dictate high spending in Hawaii and Guam…”
“The real test of an elected official’s ability to deliver ‘pork’ is in non-defense spending—social welfare, transportation, highways, education and non-defense procurement. For this, we rank a lowly 37th among the states on a per capita basis. Some pork. We rank so low that what our Congressional delegation brings home is not real pork but luncheon meat—a pastiche of the more unmentionable leftovers of the pig after the choice cuts are taken.”