Joe Kenehan Center

Thursday, November 07, 2002
The Day After the Day After

Harold Meyerson was out of the gate early with his analysis of what went wrong for the Democrats. An obvious problem was indicated in an AFL-CIO election night poll that showed union members were baffled about the Dems’ agenda for creating jobs and economic growth.

Here in Washington State, the picture wasn’t much prettier than it was nationally. The big surprise was that anti-tax crusader Tim Eyman’s latest ballot initiative, a car tax cap that will effectively defund several transit projects in the Puget Sound area, passed easily.

What was weird was that there was not much of a public campaign about I-776. The op-ed pages and letters to the editor columns were dominated with debate about R-51 (a gas tax to fund another hodgepodge of transportation projects) and a new tax in Seattle to build a monorail. But nobody was talking about I-776.

Eyman had hardly any campaign money and he was seen as deeply wounded by a personal campaign finance scandal. The unions and the environmental groups pretty much ignored him this time.

Also, the media’s statewide polls showed I-776 losing badly. A KCPQ-TV poll showed it down by 16 points less than a week before the election, and a KOMO/Seattle Post-Intelligencer survey had it going down by about that much the week before that. The media's pre-election polls seem to be getting much less accurate.

The end result meant that Washingtonians were subjected to another night of Tim Eyman’s shit-eating victory grin on TV. You could actually see the guy’s ego double by the half-second.

Eyman’s already announced his next initiative: a permanent ban on public investment in just about anything, accomplished by requiring a 75 percent majority in the legislature for any tax or fee increase.

The Battle for the Future

The New York Time’s Steven Greenhouse on Wal-Mart employees’ campaign to join the UFCW.

Sunday, November 03, 2002
Lula On The Spot

Take a look at this smart performance by Brazil’s President Lula in a hostile interview with the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth.

Weymouth testily badgers Lula with silly, simplistic questions like “[t]here are two ways to generate growth: the free market or the socialist model that relies on the state. Which course will you follow?” Lula reminds her about a little thing called the New Deal:

I don't think that the state has to manage companies. I remember what President [Franklin] Roosevelt did with the Tennessee Valley Authority. The state's role is to plan, stimulate development with incentives and, if necessary, provide funding in partnership with the private sector.

He also calls attention to some important differences between himself and Chavez in Venezuela, is upfront about his attitude towards Castro, and provides a sobering reminder of where he came from. The whole interview is worth reading.