When the sum of the truth adds up to a lie
"Gee, O.P." : Crist, not feeling the love

"Gee, O.P." : Crist, not feeling the love

I was listening to the radio while driving recently, and heard the most surprising thing. I’ll tell you what I heard in a moment, but my reaction to what I heard put me in mind of a statement made by a fictional character, Dutch the baseball manager, in the film “Bang The Drum Slowly.”  When confronted with an absurd tale by one of his players, Dutch told him that he thought that all of the little statements the player made were true, but that they added up to one big lie.

What made me think of this was a radio ad by Governor Charlie Crist, who’s seeking the Republican nomination for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2010.  In the ad, Crist touted his “A” rating by the conservative Cato Institute when it comes to fiscal matters.  I looked into the matter and found that the governor was telling the truth, but perhaps not the whole truth.  It is true that he was rated as a fiscal conservative by the author of the report, Chris Edwards. But now, as Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story.

In an email on the subject, Edwards wrote in part: “I am pleased that Crist values Cato’s rating because we work hard to make them accurate and nonpartisan.  But as the report’s author, I am concerned that the governor has fallen off the fiscal responsibility horse since the report was written in mid-2008.  In particular, Crist approved a huge 2.2 billion tax increase for the fiscal 2010 budget, even though he had promised that the $12 billion in federal “stimulus” money showered on Florida over three years would obviate the need for tax increases.  About $1 billion of the tax increases are on cigarette consumers, which will particularly harm moderate-income families.  The rest of the increases are in the form of higher costs for often mandatory services, such as automobile registration, which is really just a sneaky form of tax increases.”

My own experience with Charlie Crist was as an attendee at one of his global warming – or, to use a more popular but less definite term, “climate change” – conferences.  I am a skeptic about man-made global warming, and started a Web site called climatescam.com. It was because of the site that I was invited to the conference as a member of the press. This is some of what happened at the conference.

After the governor delivered his keynote address, he held a press conference. I waited for one of the what I assumed would be skeptical, or at least inquisitive, reporters to ask Governor Crist a question that might acknowledge some challenge to his conclusions that global warming is man-made and caused by greenhouse gases. But no questions of the sort were forthcoming. 

So I decided to ask one myself. “Governor, Dr. Tim Ball, Dr. Tim Patterson, Dr. Roger Pielke, and Dr. Reid Bryson are all credentialed-scientists who have disputed anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.  Which scientists have you consulted with or which academic paper have you read that has led you to your conclusions.”

Governor Crist smiled and pointed to a man named Terry Tamminen and quickly moved on to another question. Tamminen had been the head of the California EPA, but when I asked him later he admitted to me that he was not a credentialed-scientist. It was clear to me that, at that moment at least, Governor Crist could not really explain why he believed what he believes.

I am a registered Republican, and I vote in every primary and in every general election. Years ago, there would have been no question about my support for Charlie Crist (whose numbers, according to a new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times poll, have dipped to just 42% of Floridians who think he’s doing a good or excellent job as governor – his lowest of his 34-month term). At this moment, I do not know whether I will vote for him or his opponent, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Marco Rubio. Stay tuned.

– Nat Trayger, Ed. D