September 30th, 2009 :: Permalink
This action by Lingle isn't surprising. The state is running a deficit and her administration is looking for every reason (and every excuse) to cut projects and save money. From this perspective, Lingle is acting rationally. In addition the total price tag of this facility has never been clear. With less expensive alternatives, such as housing inmates on the mainland, Lingle has no incentive to venture out on a political limb on this project under these challenging financial times. What is the carrot for her or her administration?
Cutting a program to improve conditions of those housed in our correctional facilities is also a rational decision by Lingle. When times are difficult and citizens are frustrated, there are few who will speak out for those who have been accused or found guilty of anti-social behavior. Lingle avoids the criticism on this issue that leaders suffered after school funding was cut, for example. Again, this is rational political behavior.
Finally, Lingle scapegoats Democratic State Senator Tsutsui by blaming his negative comments for her decision. This again deflects criticism from her and she also hopes the story will embarrass him and force other Democrats to be humbled by their objections to her administrative agenda.
From a purely political perspective, Lingle wins the day. She saves some money for the state during a financial crisis and pins the blame on a particularly concerned and hard-working senator from the opposition party. With no entrenched lobby to champion those who might reside at the facility, there is relatively no downside for Lingle, which further illustrates the rationality in her decision.