Representative Cole (R., Okla.) says it’s “incredibly arrogant” for Republicans to oppose legislation to create a race-based government for “native Hawaiians.”
“We’ve always recognized the right of native peoples to govern themselves,” he says. He claims that “Hawaii has told us again and again, on a bipartisan basis, this is what we want to do. . . . The people of Hawaii have told us we’d like it.”
Actually, there have been polls suggesting that a majority of Hawaiians oppose the bill. And the usual criteria for recognizing native American tribes require the existence of a separate and distinct community that has exercised sovereignty for a long time. Native Hawaiians, on the other hand, live, shop, work, and pray alongside other Hawaiians and have a high intermarriage rate. There’s no good reason for the federal government to treat them as a sovereign people.
Cole didn’t say anything in that article about the legislation’s constitutional infirmities.