“GOP CALLS ON LOCAL DEMS TO TONE DOWN”
American Samoa Democrats threw their best one-two punches at the Republican Party this week and missed their target by a mile. Party Chairman Ali'imau J.R. Scanlan recited talking points generated right out of the White House and the Democratic National Committee to falsely castigate Republicans for shutting down the federal government as a follow up on a press release issued a day earlier by his former boss, Congressional Delegate Faleomavaega Eni.
We could easily knock down Ali'imau's arguments one by one with talking points of our own but, at the risk of boring readers who could not care less about assigning blame, we will not do so. Besides, Ali'imau is expected to attack the opposing party because that is one of the main responsibilities of a party chairman. We won't take the bait.
However, Faleomavaega is another story. We are saddened that he has chosen to level a scathing partisan attack rather than trying to seek consensus on a solution that will restart the desperately needed federal funds to the territory. As a Democrat, he is a member of the Minority Party in the House of Representatives and knows very well that he has very little leverage in that role; even less as a non-voting delegate.
Governor Lolo has appointed both Republicans and Democrats to high levels of his administration and wisely has chosen to register with the National Governors Association as an independent so as to give himself maximum flexibility to seek alliances on both sides in a Washington where political power is shared by both parties.
We much prefer the approach taken by the other Samoan in Congress, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D), who represents Hawaii's second congressional district. Deploring the shutdown as fervently as any of her colleagues, Tulsi, who recently formed with a Republican colleague a bipartisan caucus to seek solutions to common problems, has chosen not to lay blame at the doorstep of any party or person but to seek common ground to break the deadlock.
Faleomavaega's persistent attacks on Republicans weaken his already limited ability to obtain federal assistance for American Samoa in a very tough budgetary climate and he is doing a great disservice to our new governor, who is trying to do the same.
American Samoa has no voice in the House Republican Conference, where all the House decisions are being made and the Conference is not going to listen to those shouting at them from the outside. We much prefer Tulsi's approach and the Governor's approach, and call upon both Ali'imau and Faleomavaega to lower their voices and tone down the rhetoric. It is not serving any useful purpose.
The Republican Party of American Samoa
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