Getty ImagesZach Gibson.
To be honest, all I ever previously thought of Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, was that she seemed to be a smart, pleasant person who largely voted in ways of which I approved. (There are a number of smart, pleasant people who largely vote in ways of which I don’t approve, and there are colossal dicks who vote in ways of which I approve, and there are colossal dicks who vote in ways of which I do not approve. Humans are a mystery.) I don’t recall her being terribly involved in the confirmation hearings for Justice Neil Gorsuch. However, starting about two weeks ago, or roughly the same time as Brett Kavanaugh dropped by the Senate Judiciary Committee on which she serves, Mazie Hirono decided it was time to unleash hell.
On Tuesday, frustrated at the piddling, dilatory response to the charges against Kavanaugh, Hirono said this:
“Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”
Then, on Thursday, responding to Republican assertions that they were doing all they could to accommodate Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and that they were taking her charges seriously, Hirono said this to ABC News:
“We’re not consulted at all. I would like to have us come together and figure out what is the best way to proceed. Not this seat of the pants stuff, and the latest being a letter from the chairman to the Democrats saying we have done everything we can to contact her—that is such bullshit I can hardly stand it.”
(I should note that the senator is welcome to swing on by the shebeen at any time. She seems to be a blogging natural.)
“I’ve been fighting these fights for a — I was going to say f-ing long time,” Hirono said in the interview, glancing over at an aide before uttering the expletive a few moments later as the interview continued.
Go for the gold, senator. Say it out loud.
The Senate’s only immigrant takes that fight to President Trump, whom she openly calls “xenophobic” and a “liar.” “To call the president a liar, that is not good, but it happens to be the truth,” the soft-spoken Hawaii senator told Time recently. The Democrat also takes that fight to Senate Judiciary Committee, as it weekly considers a tranche of Trump judicial nominees, abandoning long-standing rules that guaranteed significant time to examine each nominee’s record. There are lots of big-gun Democrats on the committee, senators who get a lot more attention than Hirono. But she is perhaps the most dogged, albeit polite, questioner.
She also has a remarkable personal story, as Totenberg relates. She is the only true immigrant in the Senate, having been hauled off to Hawaii from Japan by her mother to get the family away from an alcoholic ne’er-do-well father. She also apparently ran against the grain of the Hawaiian political establishment to get where she is today, a newly recognized legitimate badass in the Senate.
After a long day, this reporter asked her why her skepticism about Trump judicial nominees is any different from Republican skepticism of Obama nominees. Her reply was that what she wants are judges who are fair and qualified and “care about individual and civil rights.” And then, without missing a beat, she added, “If that’s considered liberal, as opposed to what I call justice and fairness, as I am wont to say, ‘F*** them!’ “