Toward the end of the three-segment senatorial forum hosted by the Guam Medical Association at the Hyatt Regency on Wednesday night, Dr. Tom Shieh and Dr. Nathan Berg asked one candidate from the Democratic panel and another from the Republican aisle to choose a candidate on the opposite party whom he thought he may have a conflict with on any issue. Apparently, this portion was designed to be the grand fireworks to cap the three-hour forum in a more dramatic fashion.
Republican Brant McCreadie chose Democrat Dennis Rodriguez, who in turn chose Mike Limtiaco.
It was a dud, however. The three candidates wound up agreeing with one another and patting each other on the back. “There’s no real conflict; can I just address all the Democrats?” Limtiaco suggested. It was already 9:20 p.m. so Dr. Shieh waived the rule just to get it done with. OK, whatever; say whatever you want to say.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise though. Guam’s two-party system is a poor copycat of the national political landscape. We have two political parties for the sake of having two political parties. A conflict-based check-and-balance is a scourge of the democratic system. Except for the tax and budget issues, local Republicans and Democrats think alike for the most part —although some are funnier than others.
To be fair, their ability to think outside of a set belief system and willingness to defy their respective parties’ stance is what set local politicians apart from their national counterparts.
Bill 52 showed us the independent thinkers who are not scared of being judged. My votes go to those who voted against the bill: Democrats Speaker Judi Won Pat, Sens. Ben Pangelinan, and Tom Ada, and Republican Sen. Aline Yamashita.
I am biased, allright. Bill 52 is another piece of nanny legislation meant to micromanage our private affairs. It creates a layer of ambiguity to the legality of abortion. Bill 52 is not designed to inform; it is designed to scare and tell you that you will burn in hell. But of course, the bill has to be set in place because we are too dumb to make decisions for ourselves and our families are not engaged enough to guide us through the right decision.
Going back to the GMA forum: Dr. Shieh’s script for the grand finale may have flopped, but all in all, it was an awesome show. The three-segment forum showed a parade of characters, with moments of brilliance, candor, humor and quotable quotes.
Here are some snapshots:
Judi Guthertz flavored humor to the Fab 5 reference. “I am proud to be fabulous.”
Judi Won Pat: “I don’t introduce appropriation bills with no source of funding.” Applause.
Mana Silva Tajeron called out Ben Pangelinan for intellectualizing too much. Our government, she said, suffers from “paralysis due to over-analysis.” Indeed. Sometimes, too much analysis takes over common sense.
Michael San Nicolas is a statesman in the making. He should run for Congress later because he is the type that D.C. folks would take seriously.
Dennis Rodriguez is a rising star. He is focused on his healthcare issue. He should run for governor.
Leah Beth Nahalowaa has the clearest platform: the development of microenterprises on Guam. Too bad she didn’t get enough chance to expound on the issue.
Frank Gumataotao announced that he was “happily divorced three times,” just in case anyone cares to know. He used to be a Republican and became a Democrat when he found Jesus.
Aline Yamashita was wearing a sequined yellow dress covered with a jacket over a pair of Cowboy boots. I’m just trying to keep up with Yahoo’s brand of journalism, in which celebrities’ outfits are top story material.
Brant McCreadie (“that big guy in red prints,” to quote Speaker Won Pat) is a visionary. His solution to healthcare problems is a gym in every mayor’s office. But I have a better idea. Somebody should file a bill requiring every citizen on Guam to learn the Gangnam Style dance. That way people don’t have to go to the mayor’s office to work out.
Roland Blas, if elected, would be the chief standup comic in the Legislature. He is perpetually single. I think he mentioned that four times. “I told my neighbor if you smell something funny coming from my apartment...that's me.”
Xavier Atalig was resentful that he always had to speak after Roland Blas because he lacked a sense of humor. “Stop laughing,” he said. “Our problems are no laughing matter.” But politics is.