Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What's the difference between 'overwhelming approval' and a 'narrow loss'?

A few days ago, Tim Eyman sent all of his supporters a fundraising letter to raise money for his "personal compensation fund". On the cover of the envelope were these words:

CONGRATULATIONS!
I-900's audits overwhelmingly approved
I-912's narrow loss still a huge victory

It's obvious that Tim is trying to spin his way out of a devastating defeat - but we still have to ask: since he gave us such a sharp contrast, what is the difference between overwhelming approval and a narrow loss?

The answer: 1.92 percentage points.

That is, in fact, the numerical difference between the percentage of voters who voted for I-900 and the percentage of voters who voted against I-912.

The irony of these claims should not be lost on the media. Since the difference between the passage of 900 and the failure of 912 is fairly miniscule, does that mean I-912 was overwhelmingly defeated or I-900 was narrowly passed?

The answer, of course, is fairly obvious.

The defeat of Initiative 912 is a landmark political event. It was a crushing, devastating defeat for its zealous proponents, who had confidently predicted victory. And no proponent was more cocky than Tim Eyman:
Same goes for I-912, the gas tax repeal initiative. Put a fork in it, it's done. It's going to be approved overwhelmingly in November. Why? Because we've beaten this coalition of opponents year after year after year in these same tax battles. Even opponents know it's over.
If you hadn't already guessed, that was Tim in his own words. He sent those comments to supporters on September 26th.

Tim is living so far into his own fantasy world that he keeps making absurd, silly statements. Take this sentence from his fundraising letter:

"Thank to the I-912 campaign, politicians know how furious the voters feel about unilateral, non-voter approved tax increases. You should be proud of I-912."

That's funny, Tim - by defeating Initiative 912, voters showed that they are pleased with the leadership from those "politicians" in Olympia. And now that Initiative 912 hs been defeated, the 2005 transportation package has officially become a voter-sanctioned tax increase.

A majority of Washingtonians clearly understood the message that it's time to invest in our infrastructure.

For propenents, the demise of Initiative 912 is not a victory. It is a huge embarrassment - especially for Tim Eyman, who couldn't imagine anything other than overwhelming passage of Initiative 912.

Now that Initiative 912 has been overhwhelmingly defeated, Eyman & Co. have gone into full spin mode, searching for ways to turn a bitter disappointment into some kind of triumph.

Over the weekend, Eyman had a column published in the Olympian in which he repeated the same ridiculous mantra he's feeding to his supporters. We've asked for equal space to offer a response to debunk Eyman's spin - and our Permanent Defense division will continue the fight to defend the 2005 transportation package from being gutted.

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