Daniel Inouye

December 20th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Senator of Hawaii died earlier this week. He was aged 88, and was planning to run for a tenth Senate term in 2016, when he would have been 92.

In NZ politics, there is a general feeling that your peak political years are the 40s and 50s. Once you make 60, the timer has started and in your 70s you become (in my view) almost unelectable. However in the US it is very different, with many people being elected to office in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s.

Inouye had been the President pro tempore of the Senate since 2010. That made him third in line for the presidency after the VP and Speaker of the House. In reality he would never have become President (except in a Tom Clancy novel) as no Speaker has even become President, but it is a weakness in the US succession laws to have the President pro tem in the line of succession  considering the position is always held by the longest serving Senator of the majority party.

Inouye has represented Hawaii in Washington for as long as it has been a state. They became a state in 1959 and he was in the House of Reps from 1959 to 1963 and a Senator since then.

He was a Japanese-American and served in WWII, once the ban on serving was lifted. Like many in Congress, he was seriously wounded and lost his right arm. War heroes do well in elections.

All in all an extraordinary life of service, especially representing the state of Hawaii for its entire existence.

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15 Responses to “Daniel Inouye”

  1. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    What’s the bet Winston will still be in Parliament at 88?

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  2. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    “Like many in Congress, he was seriously wounded and lost his right arm. War heroes do well in elections.”

    Well, sometimes they don’t (Bob Dole, John Kerry, John McCain) – each of whom lost to either a draft-dodger (Bill Clinton; George W Bush) or someone who would never join the armed services (Barak Obama).

    [DPF: It is not a home run - especially at that level. But the proportion of elected officials who have served and been wounded is I believe much much higher than their overall population]

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  3. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    When I saw the news of his passing the other day, I stopped to wonder who the last WWII veteran was in the New Zealand House of Representatives. I had it figured as Muldoon (left in ’91), unless anyone has an advance.

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  4. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    toad – agree. first time ever.

    ps – stop trying to tax me more.

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  5. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Loved the fact on his wiki page that after he had his arm amputed due to wounds suffered during the war ” he gave up on the idea of being a surgeon”

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  6. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    “someone who would never join the armed services (Barak Obama).”

    Obama beat a draft dodger who protested in favour of the Vietnam war.

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  7. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    I think he was awarded the medal of honour as well.

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  8. alwyn (424 comments) says:

    He was certainly a veteran but he would have to have won in 2016 and then again in 2022 to get near the record for the oldest Senator.
    Strom Thurmond was still there when he had passed his 100th birthday. That is really hanging on to your job in old age.
    @Dean Papa. I think he meant John McCain who certainly counted as a war hero.

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  9. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    This Inouye chap sounds like one of the most impressive men I’ve never heard of… RIP.

    someone who would never join the armed services (Barak Obama).

    Service in the armed forces being, of course, the ONLY route to legitimacy. :???:

    None of the WWII vets I’ve met have really talked about their service – it’s always later that someone says “oh that was so-and-so… did you know he lost half his fingers flying Spitfires in the war?” or “he fought in North Africa” or whatever?

    I think it’s this because of this character, common to many of the veterans, that I always find it in rather poor taste when others who want to hang on their coat-tails for political purposes extol their service loudly, proudly and – dare I say it – crassly. It’s just really inappropriate – IMHO. :neutral:

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  10. Grant Michael McKenna (1,159 comments) says:

    MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT 2ND LIEUTENANT DANIEL K. INOUYE

    Unit: Company E, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, U.S. Army

    CITATION

    Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

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  11. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Well, sometimes they don’t (Bob Dole, John Kerry, John McCain) – each of whom lost to either a draft-dodger (Bill Clinton; George W Bush) or someone who would never join the armed services (Barak Obama)

    Bush V. Kerry is not quite so clear cut. Bush did in fact join the national guard and demonstrated during his presidency how to land on a carrier. Meanwhile, Kerry also joined a branch of the forces unlikey to go to vietnam but did in fact end up going. When he returned he did his best to slander his fellow solders by participating in things like the Winter Soldier Investigation, and pretended to throw away his medals.

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  12. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Service in the armed forces being, of course, the ONLY route to legitimacy.

    True. You can write two books and fudge your long history of association with extremists.

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  13. cha (4,010 comments) says:

    demonstrated during his presidency how to land on a carrier.

    Yeah, sitting in the dickie seat.

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  14. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    It seems to be the mark of the man that even the more rabid right wingers in the US are showing him respect for his military service. However, I do hope that term limits get imposed on the US Senate – I can’t think of any Senator who was much use in that body after more than three terms of office.

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  15. Johnboy (16,516 comments) says:

    “War heroes do well in elections.” …… Unless they threaten the incumbent!

    Truman soon told MacArthur to fuck off! :)

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