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, June 07, 2006

Eyman's failure the latest in a series of losses

In this morning's Seattle P-I, reporter Neil Modie concisely drives home the point we've been making for years about Tim Eyman and his image:
The public perception of the attention-loving Eyman has been that of a successful promoter of tax-cutting or tax-limiting initiatives. But that perception is out of date.

With the failure of Referendum 65, only two of the last six ballot measures sponsored by him have reached the ballot. Voters approved only one of the two, last year's innocuous I-900. It empowered the state auditor to conduct performance audits of state and local government agencies, but the Legislature had already passed a similar law.
Those were the best two paragraphs in a newspaper article that I've read in weeks. Somebody finally picked up on the point that we've been trying to make.

Modie's entire article is a real gem, and also includes scathing comments from former state GOP chairman Chris Vance, who went out of his way to blast Eyman and his ballot measures. Here's a sampling of Vance's comments:
"Now he's coming in and hijacking issues and shoving his way into an issue because it's become a business for him. It's how he gets paid." (Vance, on Referendum 65)

"I would think this issue would light a fire with people, and (Eyman) even had a built-in infrastructure with evangelical churches helping." (Vance, on the potential popularity of R-65 with the religious right)

"It's about people in Spokane and Wenatchee voting to repeal taxes adopted in King County." (Vance, on Initiative 917)

"[Tim Eyman is damaging] the legitimate perception of the initiative process. When you've got a clown out there in a Darth Vader suit lying to the press and things like that, it's not good for the initiative and referendum process." (Vance, on Eyman's behavior)
Wow. I really can't find anything in this article that Chris Vance says that I disagree with!

That's a first, and truly amazing. Modie has Vance quoted pretty extensively in this thing. According to Modie's article, Vance also said most GOP leaders loathe Eyman (not a direct quote).

That's a bit surprising, because we know Eyman sends email regularly to GOP luminaries like Dino Rossi. Rossi has certainly expressed support for Eyman in the past, as has Rob McKenna (who actually helped write I-747). Maybe they've wisely decided not to do that any longer.

Yesterday's spectacular demise of Referendum 65 was a great victory, not just for activists fighting for equal rights, but for all Washingtonians. This campaign to legalize discrimination is dead.

It's very fitting that ESHB 2661 will now take effect today.

Local evangelical leaders, by the way, are clearly very unhappy with Eyman after Referendum 65 bombed yesterday:
[Gary Randall, president of the Faith and Freedom Network] said he wasn't happy with the way Eyman handled the campaign, calling his antics "embarrassing."


The lack of signatures, [The Rev. Joseph] Fuiten said, tells him that "Tim Eyman has a knack for messing stuff up. He's kind of an interloper on this whole thing, in my opinion. Part of the deal is resistance to him."
Randall told me and reporters standing around him that Eyman had kept him in the dark and largely uninformed throughout the entire campaign. It seems pretty certain that the religious right is determined never to work with Tim again. Can't blame them for that decision, of course, but hopefully they will continue to fall short without Tim being around to wreck things.

One Eyman ballot measure down, one to go. Eyman still has a month to collect signatures for I-917. We're pretty sure he's going to make it with a Dunmire-financed army of paid signature gatherers working to collect what's needed.

So expect Initiative 917 to be on the ballot - and hope it isn't. What is nice, though, is that we already have one less right wing ballot measure to worry about this year.

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