Sen. Jim Inhofe Announces Retirement After Decades Pimping For Fossil Fuel Industry
Sen. James "Jim" "Fuckhead" Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who voluntarily became a national joke when he "disproved" global warming by bringing a snowball to the floor of the Senate in 2015, has announced that he will retire in January 2023. His announcement triggered a special election for his replacement, to be held at the same time as the November general election. Inhofe's departure isn't likely to change the balance of power in the Senate, since Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the country and he'll almost certainly be succeeded by another Republican.
Inhofe, 87, was just reelected to the Senate in 2020, but Politico reported last week that he's missed a lot of votes lately, and that he "told reporters in December his wife has been sick." We're sorry to hear that and hope she's doing OK. Politico also says that when the news broke, other GOP senators tried to convince Inhofe not to leave office early, but nahh, he's going to skedaddle. At least, he'll skedaddle in January. It'll be a long, deliberate skedaddling.
The timing of Inhofe's announcement is mostly due to a new state law in Oklahoma, the New York Times explains:
[If] Mr. Inhofe waited beyond March 1 to announce his resignation, the special election to replace him would not take place until 2024. And if he were to resign immediately, his seat would be temporarily filled by the governor.
Instead, Mr. Inhofe’s announcement is expected to fire the starting gun on a wide-open dash to be his successor, a race that will most likely be decided in the Republican nominating contest.
Inhofe has already endorsed his chief of staff, Luke Holland, for the special election, although that ultimately may not count for much since there are a whole bunch of Oklahoma Republicans who think they could do just as good a job as Inhofe at stoking culture war issues and making sure fossil fuels continue to be profitable as long as possible, regardless of the damage to the planet.
Among the contenders is Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who announced his bid for Inhofe's seat over the weekend. Mullin first got our attention back in 2013 when he said he'd spotted "physically fit" people shopping with an EBT card, proving that there is no real poverty in America. More recently, Mullen has complained that metal detectors in Congress are tyranny, because the Founders were good with members shooting each other we guess. Then in September, his brilliant plan to do his very own A-Team rescue of Americans in Afghanistan was thwarted when neither the Pentagon nor the US Embassy in Tajikistan would support his harebrained, illegal scheme.
Mullin announced his run in a Facebook video he recorded while driving his son to a wrestling competition, because if you're not driving a truck in a video, someone may not know you're really on the Right. In a stirring oration, he explained,
I’m not one to beat around the bush. I’m just going to tell you the way it is. I’m in. I’m not one to back away from a fight; in fact, I believe 100 percent if you’re going to get into a fight, you win it. So, we’re in it to win it.
And should he win, he will surely stick it to the libs, make America great again, and protect our great Judeo-Christian heritage.
Also too, there's state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who had originally announced plans to run in the primary against Oklahoma's other senator, James Lankford, whose term is up this year. Instead, Dahm switched to the incumbent-free race, proof that he has the courage to take what looks like an easier route if he can find one.
Other potential candidates, according to Politico, include Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who "has increased his national profile over the past two years," mostly by allowing the coronavirus to run rampant and by telling the state's National Guard members they could ignore the Pentagon's vaccine requirement, although the Defense Department and the courts overruled that shit. There's also Lt. Gov Matt Pinnell and former state House Speaker TW Shannon, who previously ran for an open Senate seat in 2014, losing to Lankford in the primary.
Just to be sure it included everyone, the New York Timessays potential contenders also include "most members of Oklahoma’s House delegation."
Inhofe has been in Congress since he was elected to the House in 1986; he successfully ran for the Senate as part of the 1994 Republican wave that brought us House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Contract on America, and the total Luntzification of American political discourse. He's been an absolute asshole on environmental issues; as the Washington Postreminds us, he wrote a book-shaped object in 2012 with the title The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, from that most reliable publisher, WND Books, so you know it was very accurate. (Big surprise: A contemporary review noted that Inhofe's own belief that climate change is a hoax was based on a "scientific" paper that was itself completely fraudulent.)
In other notable achievements during his Senate career, Inhofe once explained that it would be ridiculous to extend unemployment benefits in 2014 because climate change isn't real, something something too much regulation, go get a job. He also nearly killed everyone on the plane he was flying when he landed on a runway that was closed and had to "hop" over several vehicles and workers on the runway. The FAA required him to take some remedial training, to which he responded by trying to give pilots greater ability to challenge FAA disciplinary actions. Then in 2020, he did a campaign ad in which he flew his plane inverted, to prove his fitness for office, or at least to demonstrate his worldview.
Also, he argued in 2013, following a quadruple bypass, that he never would have survived if America had "socialized medicine," which led a lot of people to point out that even if he didn't have his government health plan, he was 79 at the time and would have qualified for Medicare, which is pretty much socialized medicine.
In conclusion, whoever wins the special election to fill out Inhofe's seat will have some mighty big clown shoes to fill. Sadly, they'll almost certainly slither to the occasion.
[KTUL-TV / Politico / New York Times / WaPo]
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