I-917's demise is significant
For us, it's a really sweet victory, because it's one less right wing initiative to fight in November, and it makes Eyman 0-2 for 2006.
For Eyman...well, I certainly can't imagine Tim is feeling very good right now. This is his most spectacular failure ever, and certainly not one that we were expecting. How Tim managed to trip himself up so badly remains a mystery because he has insisted that he turned in a fairly sizable cushion of signatures.
But Eyman likely knew back in July that this was going to happen.
He was ready to continue blaming everything on Secretary of State Sam Reed's office (a favorite scapegoat of right wing hacks since the 2004 gubernatorial election) when he got unexpectedly humbled on conservative talk radio.
After his grilling from John Carlson, Eyman changed his stature and seemed much more subdued in subsequent emails and letters to supporters.
We can only guess that what happened is that Eyman (or one of his cohorts) miscalculated the number of signatures they had collected and didn't realize it until a few days before the deadline - when it was too late to do much about it.
Eyman then made the decision to submit what he had, hoping it just might be enough - and used a made up number, likely the figure that was his original target - when he triumphantly declared to the media how many signatures were turned in.
He had the Secretary of State's receptionist stamp a piece of paper he'd written this figure on with the intent of having some additional proof to parade before the press corps later.
Unfortunately for Eyman, nobody bought his blustering and his charade with the receipt collapsed on arrival. Eyman's claims were widely dismissed or laughed at. Even right wing ideologues abandoned him, save for a few, including his sugar daddy, Michael Dunmire, and his pals, the Fagans,
Eyman, known for being cocky and opportunistic, was probably overconfident or distracted (or both) during the last two months of the initiative season. He certainly overreached when he decided to attempt to force a vote to repeal the anti-discrimination legislation passed by the state House and Senate.
Even if Eyman was distracted by R-65, that campaign ended a month before the deadline to turn in I-917. Yet in those final weeks, the only petitions on the streets were for other initiatives, including I-920 and I-933. Eyman had the opportunity to ensure he had a sizable cushion of signatures, but didn't.
Eyman was doomed by his own incompetence. Even if it wasn't his miscalculation, he bears the ultimate responsibility for not double and triple checking the work of his stooges. Eyman's entire operation has been exposed as lazy and careless. He doesn't take safeguards such as photocopying petitions and he doesn't keep good records.
Because for Eyman, the ballot measures don't really matter that much. What matters to Eyman is money. So long as Tim is lining his pockets, he's happy. The big question is how long will it be before his multimillion dollar backer, Michael Dunmire, stops writing checks to fill Eyman's coffers.
Money is the only thing that stands between Tim Eyman and obscurity.
It's been said that the worst damage to a politician's reputation or career is always self-inflicted. From repeatedly submitting poorly worded initiatives to taking money and lying about it, Tim Eyman has shown the people of Washington State that he's nothing more than a sloppy, greedy zealot.
He continues to defeat himself.
With Initiative 917 dead, the future of the 2005 Transportation Package appears secure. Revenues appropriated to improve public infrastructure will remain intact. The investments being made in communities statewide will remain undisturbed.
In closing, here's Eyman in his own words - some classic quotes for your enjoyment. All emphasis is mine.
..."It is absolutely critical that you contribute to our compensation fund. And we ask that you donate as much as, if not more than, what you gave during the signature drive."Lies, unfulfilled boasts, right wing spin. Or Tim Eyman in a nutshell.
(September 19th, 2005)
"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 (Big Business, Big Labor, politicians, and the press) year after year after year in these same tax battles. Even opponents know it's over."
(September 26th, 2005)
"With I-912, inevitably approved this fall, voters will say NO to Queen Christine's underhanded effort to sneak through a multi-billion tax increase when the voters clearly opposed it. But of the $8.5 billion tax increase imposed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature, I-912 only repeals $5.5 billion of it. '$30 Tabs, Round 3' fulfills I-912's mandate by repealing the remaining $3 billion tax increase. It finishes the job that I-912 started. IT'S RIDICULOUS TO MOW JUST HALF YOUR LAWN -- IT'S DUMB TO PAINT JUST HALF YOUR HOUSE. IT'S WRONG FOR US TO START SOMETHING AND NOT FINISH IT....The only way we'll succeed is if you support next year's effort."
(September 26th, 2005)
"Politicians need to look in the mirror and realize that it's their broken promises that have caused this distrust."
(January 3rd, 2006)
"It's early, but Jack, Mike, and I are thrilled with the energy and enthusiasm for SaveOur30Tabs Initiative so far. We're buried in phone calls, emails, and faxes from our supporters asking for more petitions. The feedback we're getting from people who are out getting signatures has been overwhelmingly positive - voters are eager to sign our petitions."
(February 27th, 2006)
"We have weekly reports showing our voter signature counts and we're certain we turned in 300,353 voter signatures. At this point, we will wait to see what the results are from their random sampling, and full count if necessary. Since the required number of voter signatures is 224,880, their recount number is still likely to be enough to qualify I-917 for the ballot."
(July 19th, 2006)
"Again, contrary to Nick Handys claim....Nick Handy was untruthful...Nick Handys claim that the July 7 receipt showed 265,806 signatures is demonstrably false."
(July 23rd, 2006)