Monday, October 11, 2010

Election time again

Well folks, it's election time again, so we are opening up our survey to give you a chance to choose who you prefer to replace Faleomavaega as delegate to Congress. The choices this year are Aumua Amata begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, who has contested the seat several times in the past and Tuika Tuika, Jr., who has run for congress once before.

The good news for a lot of governments around the world is that they are safe from Eni's wrath for three weeks while he confines himself to the territory to face the voters. So, he will have to put aside his two main, seemingly contradictory preoccupations: coddling dictators and championing the oppressed. In the former categories are such people as Frank Bainamarama (Fiji), Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan), the late Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and Bouasone Bouphavanh (Laos). The oppressed people include West Papua's Melanesians, French Polynesian separatists, Armenians, Koren comfort women, Cambodian Agent Orange sufferers, Native Hawaiians, American Indians on reservations and low-wage cannery workers.

The only place where he has had any impact, as far as we can tell, is with the low wage cannery workers. He fought for and won for them an increase in the minimum wage, forcing one cannery to close and the other to downsize, so that now he can champion a new group: the no-wage ex-cannery workers. Atta boy, Eni, way to go in your never-ending search for "social justice."

The good news for Eni is that if he wins again, he is likely to have a whole lot more time to devote to his pet causes because if Republicans take control of Congress, as many analysts now believe they will, he won't need to show up in Washington every once in a while to chair hearings or cast committee votes at the direction of his party to give cover to real members. As was the case for the 12 years Republicans controlled the House between 1995 and 2007, he will be largely irrelevant as a member of the minority. Even though Republicans will control travel budgets, they do like to have Democrats on their fact-finding delegations abroad to show "bipartisanship," and Eni has proved useful for that purpose because he never refuses a trip he is offered.

He seems to have adopted a strategy of flying under the radar this election, as he made no formal announcement of his candidacy, just quietly filing his petitions to activate his candidacy. And he can count on Samoa News, where his sister-in-law is one of the editors, to play his little game of keeping controversy out of print. There are only 22 days left in the campaign and so far there have been exactly NO stories in the paper about the campaign. The candidates each made the first of their customary television presentations last week and Samoa News did not even bother to cover them. nor have any of the media taken the simple step of going on-line to the Federal Election Committee website to see how much money has been raised any from whom. Virtually every other newspaper in the country does this for their local congressional races but apparently not Samoa News. Maybe his sister-in-law won't like what she sees: massive contributions from people with Asian names with addresses in the U.S. No one seems to care or wonder why all these people would be so interested in a congressional race on a small, remote Pacific Island. As long as the voters are fed on Election Day, why bother, I suppose?

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