Tuesday, August 19, 2003

A reader points out that I may have been naive to believe a claim made by that Ten Commandments-lovin’ judge, Roy Moore of Alabama -- and Fox News may also have been naive.

The judge told Fox that the state of Alabama has spent $125 million to defend the massive Commandments monument he’s had installed in the state judicial building; I quoted his claim in this post.

As my reader points out, $125 million is a hell of a lot of money -- by comparison, Kenneth Starr’s investigation cost maybe $70 million. Americans United for Separation of Church & State has noted that the state’s attorney general, William Pryor, now a Bush judicial nominee, arranged legal help for Judge Moore, but private citizens paid for that help. Even if they hadn’t, though, as my reader points out, $125 million “would represent the full-time services of a team of 25 lawyers working exclusively on this case for a period of five years.”

Why would the judge exaggerate like this? After all, he lives in a deficit-ridden, tax-hating state, and he's claiming to have been responsible for huge government expenditures. Is this innumeracy? Is it some sort of delusion of grandeur? Or does the judge think Alabamans really don't hate taxes under all circumstances -- that they'd be happy to support Big Government if Big Government were in the service of the Big Guy Upstairs? And, if so, is he right about that?

Or could it be that he really has managed to cause the state to spend more than Ken Starr spent to investigate everything Bill Clinton ever did in his adult life? And if so, how did he do it?

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