King Kamehameha's got nothing on Sen. Daniel Inouye (D). The former may have united the island kingdom of Hawai'i in 1810, but the latter's been a reliable vehicle of federal taxpayer pork for the Aloha State for more than 50 years.
That, in a nutshell is the thrust of "Tropical reign," today's Style section front page profile of the 86-year-old president pro tempore of the Senate:
More than any other statesman in the history of these volcanic islands -- more than Kamehameha the Great, who united them into a kingdom in 1810, or Gov. John Burns, who led the political revolution that established Democratic Party rule here in 1954 -- Inouye, 86, has ruled over Hawaii.
As the federal funding he has provided has grown, his political opposition has waned. Hawaiians have voted for Inouye for 56 years, first for territorial representative in 1954, then for Congress in 1959. In 1963, he became the nation's first Japanese American senator. His uninterrupted stretch of service in the country's most exclusive chamber is the second-longest in history behind the recently deceased Robert Byrd, whom Inouye replaced as the Senate's senior member and president pro tempore in June. That position, ceremonial though it is, puts him third in line to succeed the president.