NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

A frustrated Tim Eyman unleashes his e-fury on Republican State Senator Hans Zeiger

This past Wednesday, the Senate State Government & Tribal Relations Committee voted unanimously to advance Patty Kuderer’s Senate Bill 5224, which would permanently abolish Tim Eyman’s advisory votes push polls.

The bill is simple and straightforward: it eliminates the RCWs that require an “advisory vote” measure to appear on the ballot every time the Legislature passes a bill that raises revenue. We would no longer have to put up with the stupid things.

These RCWs date back to 2007, when Eyman’s I-960 narrowly passed. It wasn’t until several years later, in 2012, that the “advisory votes” began appearing on our ballots, because no one remembered they existed… not even Tim Eyman.

A total of nineteen “advisory vote” measures have now appeared on Washingtonians’ ballots, going back to 2012. We call them push polls because they are intended to influence rather than measure public opinion, just like the faux telephone surveys they appear to be modeled after.

NPI Advisory Councilmember Steve Zemke and I testified in support of Senate Bill 5224 on February 1st before the Senate State Government Committee, along with King County Elections Director Julie Wise, Kathy Sakahara of the League of Women Voters of Washington, and Carol Butterfield.

Eyman was the only speaker in opposition to the bill.

On Wednesday of this week, the committee voted unanimously to give the bill a “do pass” recommendation and send it to the Rules Committee.

To say that Tim Eyman was not pleased would be an understatement. Within hours, Eyman had flipped out. Lost it. Entered Total Meltdown Mode.

However, unlike on February 1st, when he trained his ire on Senator Patty Kuderer, this time his fury was directed at a more unusual target… Republican Hans Zeiger.

Zeiger (who in his younger years was a paid petitioner), voted with all four of the committee’s Democratic Senators to move the bill forward.

That left Eyman spitting mad.

In an email to his band of followers (many of whom are also active Republican PCOs), Eyman declared a campaign of electronic harassment against Zeiger.

(It’s his go-to tactical response when a Republican official crosses him.)

He exhorted his followers to email, call, and text Zeiger, supplying them and everyone else on his list with not only the Senator’s official contact information, but his personal cellphone number and non-legislative email address.

“One turncoat Republican,” Eyman fumed on Wednesday, apparently unaware that the committee’s vote in support of SB 5224 included all three of its Republican members, not just Zeiger. “That’s what Democrats want: just one.”

“Turncoat Republicans make a calculation,” Eyman continued: “the crumbs they might get from the Democrats are worth more than the blowback they’ll get from the people who supported their campaign and their party.”

“Zeiger thinks you won’t care that he sold you out or you won’t find out. Tell Zeiger what you think about him joining with Democrats on this.”

By the time this morning rolled around, Eyman was still angry.

And so he lashed out again.

“Zeiger thinks playing patty-cake with liberals and voting for their bills will shield him from Democrat [sic] attacks at election time. How’d that work out for the last Republican who tried that?” Eyman sneered above a picture of Joe Fain.

“Tell Zeiger what you think about his turncoat treachery,” Eyman thundered.

The publication of people’s personal, non-official or non-business contact information is explicitly against the Northwest Progressive Institute’s Code of Ethics and is a practice that we consider abusive and unacceptable.

Eyman, on the other hand, is happy to use any contact information he can get his hands on for the purpose of instigating campaigns of harassment. He has been trying to intimidate people in Washington politics with such campaigns for years.

I have firsthand experience. In 2011, Eyman tried going after me.

If his goal was to deter me from organizing opposition to his destructive initiatives, then he failed miserably. His campaign certainly gave me a chance to count the number of different ways that his followers spell his name (Eiman, Iman, Eman… I saw a number of different variations from the delightful folks I got emails from.)

But aside from entertaining me, the rude, obnoxious, and occasionally profane emails Eyman prompted his followers to send me achieved nothing.

If Eyman simply wanted to use something I’d written as a foil for his fundraising appeals, then he could have done that without asking people to bother me.

It is a different story with Republican elected officials, who run in the same circles as Eyman does as opposed to running progressive nonprofits. At least some of their constituents and even their friends are Eyman fans who Eyman can mobilize to engage in his campaigns of harassment. (Eyman has historically waged these campaigns using mass emails, but he’s also on Facebook now, so watch out.)

The thing is, by supporting the abolishment of “advisory votes”, Republican Senators Hans Zeiger, Barbara Bailey, and Brad Hawkins are actually adhering to conservative principles. Eliminating wasteful government spending is a core tenet of right wing beliefs. How many times have we heard Republicans call for eliminating red tape, or tackling waste, fraud, and abuse in government? I’ve lost track.

“Advisory votes” are not just useless, they’re harmful. They were crafted with malicious intent. When Eyman says their abolishment would mean less democracy, what he really means is that their demise would harm his self-serving efforts to undermine Washingtonians’ trust and confidence in their own government.

“Advisory votes” are actually push polls. They don’t measure anything, so they can’t be used for advisory purposes. And since the results are not binding and do not affect public policy, they are not votes. Rather, they are just another Eyman scam.

A scam that costs taxpayers each and every election cycle.

Of course Eyman wants to keep his con going. But that doesn’t mean the Republican Party or Republican elected representatives should want to. Honest conservatives and right wing intellectuals should be appalled by Eyman’s behavior.

If  Republicans are serious about getting rid of wasteful spending like they say they are on the stump, then they must join Democrats in voting to get rid of Eyman’s push polls. This is a perfect opportunity to save the taxpayers some money.

Senator Zeiger, if you get around to reading this post, then know that we’re sorry you have been subjected to this campaign of harassment by Tim Eyman.

From our vantage point, you are not betraying conservative principles or the Republican Party by supporting Senate Bill 5224. Rather, you are supporting sensible legislation that we should all (well, except for Eyman and his fans) be able to agree on. Thank you for your vote in support of this bill, and don’t let Eyman’s nastiness get to you. Unlike him, you were elected to serve our state. You’ve got a job to do. We appreciate your service even if we don’t always agree on the issues.

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