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.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Permanent Defense Celebrates Four Years

Every year, in early February, (in what has become an annual tradition) I compose and publish a statement acknowledging the anniversary of the founding of Permanent Defense and reviewing what the organization accomplished during the previous twelve months.

Today's the day that I've released this year's statement. Four years ago, Permanent Defense was launched to oppose Tim Eyman's destructive initiatives and work for a healthier Washington. The organization started out as a website run by one man (me) but since then it has grown tremendously and now has hundreds of hard working supporters.

Permanent Defense has one of the state's oldest continuously operated political websites. If you look at the short history of the Internet, four years is like an age.

To put the site's existence in perspective, Permanent Defense is older than just about every blog in the local progressive blogosphere. It's also older than national blogs like Daily Kos (founded May 2002) or Atrios (founded in April of the same year).

In fact, Permanent Defense is even older than its parent organization, NPI, which was founded a year and half later (in August of 2003).

I'm often asked what prompted me to launch Permanent Defense in the first place. Four years ago, as many of you know, Tim Eyman admitted to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars supporters had donated to his initiative campaign - for himself:
Tim Eyman, who became a household name for pushing tax-revolt initiatives, admitted Sunday night that he has taken $45,000 in campaign contributions as salary and had intended to divert another $157,000 this year.

"It was the biggest lie of my life" that no donations had made their way into his personal bank account, Eyman told The Associated Press.

"The fact is, it is true that I made money in past campaigns and planned to make money on future campaigns."


On Friday, after the P-I first reported the massive transfers to Permanent Offense Inc., Eyman lied to newspaper, radio and television reporters, saying he wasn't personally benefitting from the separate organization.

Over the weekend, the weight of his lies caught up with him, he said on Sunday night.

"I was in lie mode," he said. "I became riddled with guilt. It was the biggest lie of my life and it was over the stupidest thing in the world. The biggest thing I'm guiltiest of is an enormous ego. Hubris."


"This entire charade was set up so I could maintain a moral superiority over our opposition, so I could say our opponents make money from politics and I don't."

Eyman said he became consumed with the heady power of running initiatives and felt the man-of-the-people angle was part of his cachet.

"It was addictive. I was getting deeper and deeper and deeper into this charade. I thought I found a way to make money off our initiatives without our opponents knowing it, or knowing it for sure. I was too clever by half. I just got deeper and deeper into this lie."
The day that the news broke, Eyman was the top story on all the local news broadcasts in the Seattle metro area. As someone who was sick of seeing Eyman's arrogance in the newspaper and watching his initiatives pass year after year, the admission of deception was deeply satisfying. Finally, the faux populist had been exposed.

The next day I was discussing the news with two good frends of mine. I was fairly shocked to discover that both were in support of Eyman and his initiative to destroy Sound Transit's light rail project (I-776). "We may not like the fact that Eyman took money from his donors for personal profit, but we support what he's doing," they said.

I was infuriated. How could any of my friends possibly support Tim Eyman, an admitted liar?

I had to respond - but how? At the time I had absolutely no political connections, and I didn't know what I might do. Then I realized there was one thing I could do: set up a website in opposition to Eyman's initiatives. And the rest is history.

To read my full statement commemorating the four year anniversary of Permanent Defense and reviewing what we achieved this year, follow this link.

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