One of the pleasures of reimmersing myself in programming these past few weeks is that I haven’t had as much time on my hands to fisk the Seattle Times op-ed page. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite been able to break the nasty habit of reading it, so I’ve accumulated quite a backlog of Blethenesque pontifinuggets just begging for ridicule.
For example, take this gem from a recent editorial castigating the governor for signing the bill repealing Initiative 960’s blatantly unconstitutional two-thirds supermajority requirement for tax increases:
Surely the people wanted it that way. Over the years they have voted three times for the two-thirds rule. They still favor it. In a poll of 500 adults done for KING-TV, 74 percent favored the two-thirds rule, and 68 percent said the Legislature and the governor had done the wrong thing to suspend it.
Huh. I suppose we could run our government along the (small “r”) republican principles laid out in our constitution, or, as the Times suggests, we could just craft our policies based entirely on the latest KING-5/SurveyUSA poll.
And as for its provisions’ alleged support at the ballot box, it might be instructive to remember that I-960 just barely passed in 2007, with only 51% of the vote… and in a relatively low-turnout, off-year election. By comparison, the measure’s 816,000 Yes votes would have amounted to only 27% of the vote in 2008, when turnout was nearly double, and voters handed Democrats overwhelming control of both the legislature and the governor’s mansion.
Perhaps the Times thinks Washington would be better off if we were more like California, where citizens initiatives, of both the tax-cutting and money-spending varieties, are nearly impossible to overturn or amend by anything less than another citizens initiative, thus handcuffing lawmakers in a nearly perpetual state of fiscal crisis. But personally, I prefer a system where our elected officials are forced to make the tough choices we elected them to make, and then face the consequences at the polls.
And you know, the real polls… not the bogus ones conducted by TV stations.