As expected, the two corporate initiatives that public interest advocates failed to effectively organize and mobilize against – Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 and the American Beverage Association’s Initiative 1107 – are passing handily in the first returns to be reported.
The success of I-1053 and I-1107 deals Washington’s fragile common wealth a devastating blow at a time when many families are especially in need of vital public services, particularly the state’s safety net.
It’s clear from the big margins that both I-1053 and I-1107 are getting that voters didn’t comprehend the true consequences of either when filling out their ballots. They didn’t realize that I-1053 sabotages our cherished tradition of majority rule, and has caused legislative gridlock in states like California. They didn’t realize that I-1107 destroys revenue that has been helping to keep our safety net from being eviscerated. And no wonder: Few progressive organizations put any resources into telling the story of the harm 1053 and 1107 would — and now will — cause.
The word feeble doesn’t even begin to describe the efforts against 1053 and 1107, which were a failure in every respect. The consultants tasked with coming up with a plan for responding to the initiatives were resigned to what they felt was an inevitable defeat from the beginning. They created a self-fulfilling prophecy by opting against responding aggressively. The broad-based coalition against 1053 and 1107 thus existed in name only, and accomplished very little.
The lessons of the past were forgotten, opportunities to take action were squandered, and the decisions that did get made lacked input from the people actually in the trenches trying to defend our common wealth.
The result is a travesty. The Legislature’s efforts to responsibly close the most recent budget deficit have been undone, and worse, Article II, Section 22 of our Constitution has been sabotaged again, preventing the House and Senate from democratically acting to raise revenue to protect our common wealth in the future.
If we’ve learned one thing from this campaign, it’s that the state of paralysis and the mindset of resignation are our greatest enemies. Permanent Defense will work to overcome both in 2011 by attempting to build an unprecedented first line of defense against the next crop of right wing initiatives, including Tim Eyman’s next scheme to wreck government. We pledge to do our best to ensure that activists, citizens, and legislators who want to fight have the ability to do so, and are not marginalized by the indecision and defeatism of others.