Paul Jacob

Everybody hates Tim Eyman.

That’s what you might think if you spent too much time listening to politicians in his home state of Washington, or perusing ill-mannered and condescending Internet postings smearing the “initiative-crazed madman” for seemingly single-handedly starving their Big Brothers in Olympia, the state’s quaint capital.

Legislators have compared Eyman to a terrorist and a pig — but, ever-so-generously, not “a terrorist pig.” He’s said to lack “one ounce of compassion” and to be “the state’s most infamous political liar.”

David Goldstein, a progressive blogger and former radio talk show host, filed an initiative in 2003 that read in part, “[B]e it resolved, That the citizens of the State of Washington do hereby proclaim that Tim Eyman is a Horse’s Ass.” Yet, Goldstein lacked the gusto to get the signatures required to put the measure to a vote.

In September, a comment on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website took it to another level: “Won’t someone just kill Eyman already?” But don’t feel threatened, as the author added, “Oh wait, only righties kill people over politics.”

Tell that to Stalin, Mao, and the Weathermen.

Why all the vitriol?

It seems too many Democrats and “lefties” don’t like democracy nearly so much as they like to proclaim . . . at least when they lose. At Eyman’s hands, they lose fairly often.

But is Eyman the actual deliverer of the hated coup-stick thwackings? Eyman has no powerful political position. He’s simply a voter and, more importantly, a proponent of initiative measures. Everything he’s accomplished has merely allowed the people of Washington to vote and make the final decision. Eyman explains:

I didn’t repeal the state motor vehicle excise tax (I-695 in 1999) and local vehicle fees (I-776 in 2002) . . . impose 1 percent limits on property tax collections by state and local governments (I-747 in 2001) . . . give the state auditor the authority to do comprehensive performance audits of state and local governments (I-900 in 2005) . . . re-impose a 2/3’s vote requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes (I-960 in 2007), the voters did.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.
 



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