Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rossi's still a coward, Chris Vance stumbles around on Initiative 912

Yesterday, Kate Riley of the Seattle Times wrote a fine column titled, "I-912's politics of division". More on that column in a later post today.

The P-I today has a new article out by Olympia correspondent Chris McGann: "I-912 seen as more than vote on gas tax". The article includes some interesting quotes from proponents of Initiative 912 - giving you clear hints of what they care about.

First, GOP consultant and I-912 spinmeister Brett Bader:
"I really want folks to understand how unhappy citizens are with transportation planning in the state," I-912 spokesman Brett Bader said.

The initiative surged onto the Nov. 8 ballot when volunteers gathered more than 420,000 signatures -- nearly double the required amount. Initiative backers were helped by support from conservative talk-radio hosts.
No, Brett. What you want is to axe funding for public safety improvements in the state of Washington - and damn the consequences. If you've been following recent news coverage, you might have observed how well the state Department of Transportation is doing.

This initiative isn't about fixing transportation planning. It's about killing 274 transportation projects that are sorely needed. It's fueled by plain old anti-tax zealotry, not a desire to do better.

So Brett, you claim you're unhappy with our transportation planning. Where is your alternative? Oh, that's right, you don't have one. And you couldn't care less, either. This is just talk to make voters think the Legislature did a poor job. In fact, it did a splendid job of designing the 2005 transportation package.

On to Chris Vance:
"What's driving this campaign is a lot broader than just transportation policy," state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said. "It's an anger about the arrogant, out-of-control culture of the Democratic aristocracy that runs the state of Washington. People are just sick of it."

According to Vance, the Democrats have the same answer for every problem: "higher taxes and more spending.

"They don't care what the people of this state say or do," Vance said. "The people voted for Initiative 601 (which limits government spending) -- they threw it out. The people voted against Referendum 51 (a 2002 ballot measure calling for a 9-cent-per- gallon gas tax increase) -- they are passing gas taxes, anyway. The people elected Dino Rossi, and somehow Christine Gregoire ends up as governor. That's what their belief is."
Where to begin?

OK, let's start here: The "arrogant, out-of-control culture" Vance is talking about certainly applies to the Republican aristocracy that runs the federal government. And people are certainly sick of that - Bush's approval ratings are in the toilet.

But when it comes to Washington state, Vance has it all wrong. Democrats just retook the state Senate in November and only held on to the Governor's office after a lengthy legal battle in which Vance, Rossi & Co. were soundly beaten. There is no Democratic aristocracy in Washington State.

Evidence? You want evidence? How about the 18 state legislators - Republican state legislators - who voted FOR the 2005 transportation package? Including Senate Minority Leader Bill Finkbeiner (who represents NPI's home district).

So is Vance trying to tell us that 18 of the Republicans in the state Legislature are part of the "Democratic aristocracy"? How convenient that he forgot about them. How interesting Vance forgot that the package was passed on a bipartisan vote.

Wait a second...he did remember:
"Roughly one-third of the Republican legislators in Olympia voted for this tax package," he said. "Some of our biggest supporters in the business community are also supporters of this tax package. Obviously, that is something of a political problem."
Gee...ya think? But at least we know which side Chris Vance is on...when he has to choose, Vance goes with his dear old conservative base.

Then Vance brings up Initiative 601, which state voters barely passed over a decade ago. And he brings up Referendum 51, which voters defeated three years ago.

Memo to Chris: Those votes are way in the past. We don't shape our current policy based on how voters voted three years ago - let alone twelve!

Finally, Vance makes a snide remark about Dino Rossi was the legitimately elected governor, and "somehow" Christine Gregoire ended up winning ahead. Enough of the sour grapes. You lost. You need to get it over it.

Your sham lawsuit was kicked out of court - "dismissed with prejudice". Christine Gregoire is the legitimately elected governor of Washington State. End of story.

There's also a few quotes in there from Henrik Juve Junior. The 80-year old Junior echoed Vance's comments about the gubernatorial election. These guys never quit, do they? Well, Washington is sick of their public whining. As I said - end of story.

Now on to - well - one of our own:
David Goldstein, founder of the liberal blog, said a big part of the grass-roots support for Initiative 912 was anger about the gubernatorial vote.

"They really sold it from Day One as getting back at Queen Christine," he said. "It was a great move in terms of keeping their ratings going, because they moved from one big issue and used that to create another."

Goldstein said the issues have snowballed.

He said polls show if Rossi, who as a state senator voted for a nickel-per-gallon gas tax in 2003, would come out in support of the gas tax, I-912 would fail.

For weeks, Goldstein has been calling for Rossi to take a position. Rossi's spokeswoman, Mary Lane, said Goldstein shouldn't hold his breath.

"This is Christine Gregoire's baby," she said. "It's her job to defend it."

Lane said Rossi is "taking a well-deserved break from politics."
To which David Goldstein offers this comment:
Yeah… that’s right… if you’re going to take a break from politics, the first thing you need to get a spokesperson.

Gimme a break. We all know Rossi’s running for governor in 2008, and when his spokesperson smugly refers to the controversy surrounding I-912 as “Christine Gregoire’s baby,” what she’s telling us is that her boss cares more about politics than policies.
Initiative 912 proponents have sure been doing a lot of whining, complaining, and pontificating. But they have no alternative, no solution, no concern for the consequences, and no apparent grasp of reality.

Rossi is still a coward. Chris Vance is still falling over himself in his attempt to hurl insults at Democrats while having to acknowledge his own coalition is split over this issue.

Anything else new lately?

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