The hypocrisy of ‘Captain Tom’ by John Johnson, Jr.
On March 20, “Captain Tom” Tiffany, A/K/A 35th Assembly District Representative Tom Tiffany, released a press statement attacking Senate Democrats, and attacking Republican State Senator Dale Schultz, for casting a “no” vote on the proposed northern Wisconsin iron mine (AB 426). Tiffany reiterated much of the same rhetoric in a letter to the editor in the Star Journal (Viewpoint, March 18). In his press release, “Captain Tom” assails the “environmental left” (represented by groups whom Tiffany labels as “Wisconsin’s Dirty Dozen”) blaming them for everything from killing blue-collar jobs to the Keystone Pipeline to American over-dependence on Middle Eastern oil. In Captain Tom’s letter to the editor, and in his press release, he blames the “environmental left” for their opposition to legislation aimed at relaxing environmental safeguards in the name of job creation.
The point of this letter isn’t to stake out a position for or against mining. The real purpose of this letter is to expose the hypocrisy of “Captain Tom” for taking advantage of environmental policies, enacted in the 1970s, aimed at protecting a 40-mile stretch of the Wisconsin River below Rhinelander, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids, which were so badly polluted by the paper industry that the waters, and the eco-system, were nearly ruined. Today, thanks to sensible environmental policies enacted many years ago, an entrepreneur such as “Captain Tom” might even run a river boat business on the Wisconsin River, which is precisely what Mr. Tiffany leaves out of his press release and letter.
Tiffany, A/K/A “Captain Tom” on his website, is the owner of Wisconsin River Cruises, Inc., an incorporated domestic business on file with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (Tiffany is listed as the Registered Agent), and he has literally made his living running a sight-seeing business up and down the Wisconsin River, taking advantage of the beauty of various wildlife on the Wisconsin River. On his website, he informs would-be tourists that they might even see a little turtle entering the water near the banks of the river. Thirty years ago, no one would have taken Captain Tom’s boat ride because the river was full of sludge, and wildlife was dying.
Mr. Tiffany’s hypocrisy makes me wonder how he can advocate for relaxing environmental safeguards at the same time that he’s protecting turtles (and making a buck) on his river boat excursions. Perhaps we should bring Captain Tom home to run his river boat full-time.
John Johnson, Jr., Rhinelander