Initiatives

Josh Feit wants to know why conservatves are more aggressive in using voter initiatives than liberals.

I think a large part of the answer is simply the fact that Democrats control both houses of the legislature and the Governorship. Initiatives referenda are better suited to the party out-of-power.

But Feit also makes a larger point here that goes way beyond initiatives:

Why do conservatives attack on all fronts, pushing legislation and running ballot measures … while liberals twiddle their thumbs?

Conservatives are simply much better at playing permanent offense (it’s not coincidental that Permanent Offense is also the name of Tim Eyman’s organization). This goes way beyond just Washington state initiatives; it’s true of electoral politics at every level, as Karl Rove showed. Got a Senator who lost three limbs in Vietnam? Question his patriotism! No-holds barred.

I go back and forth on this. On one hand I want Dems to come out guns blazing on this stuff, but on the other hand, I believe pretty strongly that the Democrats are a natural majority party, and they don’t need to be quite as divisive to win.

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