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August 07, 2013 4:40 PM James Inhofe and the Power of Inertia

By Ed Kilgore

There’s exciting news from Tulsa today:

Senator Jim Inhofe is all in.
“I am announcing I’m running for re-election to the United States Senate” Inhofe announced exclusively on KRMG Wednesday morning.

Exclusively! What a scoop!

It was a decision Inhofe told us was made for him just hours after the November presidential election.
“I went home and I talked to my wife and I said you know we’ve got a serious problem here, we’re going to have this guy around for four more years. I just can’t bail out now.”
The Senator told KRMG there are three things he considers vital. Those are funding the military, cutting back on what he calls crippling EPA restrictions, and opening Federal land for energy exploration.
“I’m the only one who will address these three topics and talk about and have the knowledge of it because that’s what I’ve been doing since 1994.”

Yeah, it’s well known that the military-industrial complex and the fossil-fuel industry have no friends left in Washington.

Otherwise, you might figure the 78-year-old Inhofe might finally hang it up. He’s been in public office for all but two of the last 46 years, as a state legislator, mayor, U.S. representative and then senator. He’s even found the time to lose a couple of elections. Throughout it all, best I can tell, he’s been the same hammer-headed conservative team player, never too proud to say something dumb for the team when the occasion demanded.

I’m sure he is beloved by some constituents. Some reports suggest he is a hail-fellow-well-met, with a close friendship with Barbara Boxer, exchanging “global warming gag gifts” with the Senate’s top environmentalist.

But the idea that the U.S. Senate needs Jim Inhofe to stick around well into his 80s just baffles me. He ought to be back home in Tulsa enjoying his retirement and shouting at the television instead of appearing on it. Lord help us, he’s easily replaceable in today’s Republican Senate Conference.

[Here’s Guadalcanal Diary performing “Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man” in Atlanta in 2011:]


Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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