Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Faleomavaega is Super Tuesday No Show

After President Bush delivered his State of the Union Address on Monday, January 28, Congress remained in session one more day, then went on recess so that Members could return to their districts to prepare for "Super Tuesday" on February 5. Twenty four states and American Samoa are conducting primaries, caucuses or conventions today to select their delegates to the two national party conventions later this year.

Does that mean that Faleomavaega winged his way home to spend a week trying to persuade local Democrats to vote for Barack Obama, the candidate he has endorsed for his party's nomination? No way. As we wrote earlier, he headed for New Zealand to, um, discuss the visa pilot program for the independent sate of Samoa and learn about the Maori Language Commission. That was a week ago. Where is he now? He's still there!! One wonders how he is spending all that free time.

It seems he is staying on for Waitangi Day observances on February 6, which is February 5 just across the dateline in American Samoa, which still leaves a lot of down time. So it looks like he is taking a pass on the caucus, although you can bet he will be front and center at the convention itself.

It also therefore looks like the epic "Battle of the Titans" won't occur since Governor Togiola Tulafono, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, will be absent from the caucus as well. He continues to be laid up in a Honolulu hospital recovering from complications resulting from surgery first performed in Pago Pago in January.

Incidentally, in contrast to the Northern Marianas, the American Samoa governorship has not been kind healthwise to its holders. Both territories first elected governors in November 1977. Six men have held the office in CNMI while American Samoa is only on its fourth. The first CNMI ex-governor to pass away only did so in 2007 while all the former governors of American Samoa are gone. Moreover, all of American Samoa's elected governors suffered significant health problems while in office.

The American Samoa delegates have not fared much better. There have only been two but the first left office in disgrace and served federal prison time for a ghost payrolling scheme. The second one, Faleomavaega, despite all his world travels, is not all that healthy either. Despite foot surgery he can still barely walk and also has had heart bypass surgery. Nonetheless, he gives no indication he ever will retire even though he turns retirement age this year.

2 comments:

Philip Murphy said...

Are you suggesting it's more important for Eni to be in the territory than in NZ? If so, why should his presence matter for Super Tuesday? It's an election, not a beauty contest.

It seems to me it's very beneficial to have a Congressman that's eager to educate himself. I'm glad he does more than collect a paycheck and sit behind a desk.

Although I am curious as to what he does in his "off days" in NZ.

And by the way, what exactly is "retirement age?" Are you referencing the fact that he's eligible for Social Security retirement benefits?

Anonymous said...

This cannot be a serious comment. Perhaps Mr. Murphy is unfamiliar with Faleomavaega's career. Over the course of his nearly 20 years in Congress, he has spent more time abroad than any other member of Congress and is as educated as he needs to be about dozens of countries, particularly NZ, through which he practically commutes. If he had been sitting behind his desk when many bills were passing, maybe American Samoa would not have been excluded. He has been an unmitigated disaster for American Samoa. I will leave it to Mr. Murphy's imagination as to how Eni spends his idle time in NZ. Let's just say "There is talk."