As I predicted yesterday, Tim Eyman’s latest initiative garnered little media attention… a single, obligatory AP newswire story that appeared last night in the online edition of the P-I, and was excerpted in today’s Olympian. Quite a step down from the media circus that accompanied the introduction of I-892 last March.
Media fatigue has steadily grown for the-boy-who-cried-tax-revolt, and it seems likely Tim’s performance audits initiative will continue to draw a collective yawn from reporters and voters alike.
It’s not that performance audits are necessarily a bad idea (I’ll reserve comment on the merits of Tim’s initiative until I read the specific language.) It’s just that it’s not a particularly controversial idea, and controversy, after all, has long been Tim’s currency in the public debate. D’s and R’s have repeatedly passed competing performance audit bills through the state House and Senate, and now that the D’s control both houses of the legislature, it seems likely the new governor will have an opportunity to sign something into law.
Of course, if that happens, Timmy will claim credit for forcing their hand. Don’t you believe it.
Only the most politically unobservant legislators are still cowed by Tim’s threats of voter backlash, or impressed by his frenetically maintained celebrity. Gone are the days when Tim can qualify an initiative for the ballot on the strength of $200 contributions from kitchen-table conservatives. And his attempts to feebly display grassroots support have been pathetic — the last few times he emailed his 3600-weak list to ask them to show their passion by joining him at an event, you could count the turnout on one hand.
Sure, Tim may yet find some special-interest sugar daddy to bankroll another for-profit initiative… though his talk of pushing slot machines again naively assumes his mini-casino buddies are bigger chumps than their customers. And even a politically marginalized Eyman will maintain a degree of media appeal in a state inordinately blessed with boring politicians. So I’m not suggesting we let down our guard and relax our rather effective efforts at refuting his lies.
But as an initiative sponsor, Tim’s track record over the past two years speaks for itself.
To call Tim a paper tiger would be to exaggerate the dangers of paper cuts.