Former Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe died on Tuesday at the age of 89, and I was gratified to see that all the headlines included the fact that he was a prominent climate change denier. He was an army veteran, former state representative, state senator, mayor of Tulsa, U.S. congressman and five-and-a-half term U.S. Senator, but his biggest legacy is bringing a snowball to the floor of the Senate in an aggressively stupid effort to disprove global warming. Sadly, he’d probably be proud of that fact.

I didn’t write about Inhofe too often, but when I did it was never flattering. In 2013, after he promised to lead an unprecedented filibuster against his former Republican colleague Chuck Hagel, whom President Obama had nominated as Secretary of Defense, I was unsparing:

Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma is the Ranking Member (senior Republican) on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has promised National Review Online that he will lead a filibuster against the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. He says that he and “several” of his colleagues will place holds on the nomination and that it will be “a long, long time” before Hagel can expect a vote on the floor of the Senate. His rationale is that he believes that Mr. Hagel is anti-Israel. It is a somewhat astonishing accusation considering that the chairman of the Armed Services Committee Carl Levin is Jewish…

…Filibustering a major cabinet position like State or Defense would be unprecedented. The reasoning is just plain nuts. There are currently 12 Jewish Senators (all Democrats) who are all going to vote for Hagel’s confirmation, yet we’re supposed to believe that some Presbyterian yahoo from Oklahoma knows better than they do who is and is not a friend of Israel? A man whose main accomplishment in life has been to drive the Quaker Life Insurance Company into bankruptcy and liquidation? A man so deep in the pockets of Big Oil that he’s been calling climate change a hoax since 2003? A man who is such a reckless pilot that one man complained to the FAA, “I’ve got over 50 years flying, three tours of Vietnam, and I can assure you I have never seen such a reckless disregard for human life in my life. Something needs to be done. This guy is famous for these violations.”

I’ve said before that I don’t care whether Hagel is confirmed or not, but I’ll put the president up against Jim Inhofe any day. Let the people decide who is being unreasonable here.

In the end, John McCain helped end the filibuster and Hagel was confirmed. Later in 2013, Sen. Inhofe earned my Wanker of the Day designation for the second time after telling the parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims that “the gun violence debate in Congress had nothing to do with them.” It was an act of such cruel insensitivity that I wrote it “blows the asshole amp.”

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. All the way back in 2007, I carefully examined the following remark that Inhofe made at that year’s Conservative Political Action Conference:

“I have been called — my kids are all aware of this — dumb, crazy man, science abuser, Holocaust denier, villain of the month, hate-filled, warmonger, Neanderthal, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun,” he announced. “And I can just tell you that I wear some of those titles proudly.”

After concluding that it was unlikely that he was actually proud to be called dumb or crazy or villainous or a Neanderthal or a warmonger, I was forced to conclude the titles he wore proudly were “science abuser” and “Holocaust denier.”

The last time I wrote about Inhofe was in 2020 when he was threatening to hold up the annual defense spending bill to prevent the renaming of forts, buildings and ships honoring members of the Confederacy. It should be noted that he did that at President Trump’s behest. Supporting white supremacy is part of Inhofe’s legacy, too.

If there’s a hell, he’s probably there right now explaining that the oil and gas industries aren’t responsible for the heat.

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