Jim Inhofe

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Jim Inhofe
Jim Inhofe

Assumed office 
November 17, 1994
Serving with Tom Coburn
Preceded by David L. Boren
Succeeded by Incumbent (2009)

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from
Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
Preceded by James Robert Jones
Succeeded by Steve Largent

Born November 17, 1934 (age 72)
Des Moines, Iowa
Political party Republican
Spouse Kay Inhofe
Religion Presbyterian

James Mountain "Jim" Inhofe (born November 17, 1934) is a conservative American politician from Oklahoma. A member of the Republican Party, he currently serves as the senior Senator from Oklahoma. He is the most vocal skeptic of climate change (global warming) in Congress.[1] Inhofe often cites the Bible as the source for his stances on various political issues.


[edit] Early life

Inhofe was born in Des Moines, Iowa and moved with his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma when he was a child. He served as a private in the United States Army from 1955 to 1956 and ended as a specialist fourth class.[2][3]

In 1959, Inhofe married Kay Kirkpatrick, with whom he has four children.

Inhofe received a B.A. degree from the University of Tulsa in 1973, at the age of 38.

In his business career, Inhofe was a real estate developer and became president of the Quaker Life Insurance Company. That company went into receivership while he managed it; it was liquidated in 1986, and despite a two year investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into accounting irregularities connected with the failure, Inhofe was never charged with any criminal offenses, and has since denied any wrongdoing.[4]

[edit] Political career

Inhofe became active in Oklahoma Republican politics in the mid-1960s.

He was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1967 to 1969, and a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 1969 until 1977, the last four of those years as minority leader. During his time in the state senate, he ran twice for election to other positions: for Governor of Oklahoma in 1974, losing to Democrat David Boren, and in 1976, losing a race to represent Oklahoma's First Congressional District (which was based in Tulsa) to incumbent Democrat James R. Jones.

Inhofe's political career was revived in 1978 when he was elected mayor of Tulsa, a position he held until 1984.

[edit] House career

In 1986, when Jones retired, Inhofe made another bid for Congress from the First District. This time, he won and he continued to serve in Congress from 1987 until 1994, being handily re-elected every two years in what rapidly became a strongly Republican district. He first came to national attention in 1993, when he led the effort to reform the House's "discharge provision" rule, which the House leadership had long used to bottle up bills in committee.

[edit] Senate career

In 1994, Boren, who had been serving in the Senate since 1979, agreed to become president of the University of Oklahoma and announced he would resign as soon as a successor was elected. Inhofe won the Republican nomination for the November special election and was swept to victory amid a strong Republican tide that saw the Republicans take both houses of Congress and elected the state's second-ever Republican governor. He took office on November 17, his 60th birthday, giving him a bit more Senatorial seniority than the incoming class of senators. After serving the last two years of Boren's term, he won the seat in his own right in 1996 and was re-elected in 2002.

[edit] Committee membership

Inhofe, as of the 110th Congress, is a member of the following committees:

[edit] Political views

Inhofe is one of the most politically conservative members of either house of Congress (the eighth-most conservative Senator, according to the March 2007 National Journal rankings of Liberal/Conservative members of Congress) [[1]]; among other political stances, he strongly opposes abortion and gay rights. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, he was among the panelists questioning witnesses about the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse. There he made news by claiming he was "outraged by the outrage" over the revelations of abuse, suggesting that shock at the crimes was more offensive than the crimes themselves. He has also criticized the Red Cross as a "bleeding heart". Against the wishes of the Bush administration, the Pentagon, and the American Petroleum Institute, Inhofe has persistently blocked American ratification of the international Convention on the Law of the Sea, claiming that the treaty would infringe on American sovereignty.

Inhofe's consistent citing of the Bible as the source for his stances on various political issues, such as gay rights, abortion and United States' support of Israel has made him very popular among Christian Fundamentalists.[citation needed]

[edit] Interrogation of detainees

In 2006, Inhofe was one of only nine senators to vote against the McCain Detainee Amendment banning torture on individuals in U.S. Government custody.[5][6][7][8]

[edit] U.S. support for Israel

In a Senate speech, Inhofe said that America should base its Israel policy on the text of the Bible:

I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk.

In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says:

The Lord said to Abram, "Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. . . . Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee." That is God talking.

The Bible says that Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, "I am giving you this land,--the West Bank". This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.

In March 2002, Inhofe also made a speech before the U.S. Senate which included the explicit suggestion that the 9/11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against the U.S. for failing to defend Israel. In his words: "One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them."[9]

[edit] Environment

Inhofe, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, is a strong critic of the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring as a result of human activities. In a July 28, 2003 Senate speech, he "offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation's top climate scientists." He cited as support for this the 1992 Heidelberg Appeal and the Oregon Petition (1999), as well the opinions of numerous individual scientists that he named (although most climate scientists, as represented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), now believe that climate change is an existing phenomenon). In his speech, Inhofe also claimed that, "satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century."[10] However the satellite temperature record corroborates the well-documented warming trend noted in surface temperature measurements.[11] Additionally, the satellite record begins in 1979 and the balloon record effectively in 1958, so it is unclear what Inhofe means by "last century".

In a 2006 interview with the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe compared environmentalists to Nazis. He said, "It kind of reminds... I could use the Third Reich, the Big Lie... You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that's their [the environmentalists'] strategy... A hot summer has nothing to do with global warming. Let's keep in mind it was just three weeks ago that people were saying, 'Wait a minute; it is unusually cool...." He then said, "Everything on which they [the environmentalists] based their story, in terms of the facts, has been refuted scientifically."[12] Inhofe had previously compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo.[13] He had also made allegations that the Weather Channel is behind the alleged global warming hoax, so as to attract viewers.[14][15] Inhofe had previously claimed that Global Warming is "the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state."[16]

Inhofe, claiming uncertainties related to climate science and the adverse impact that mandatory emissions reductions would have on the U.S. economy, voted on June 22, 2005 to reject an amendment to an energy bill that would have forced reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and created a mandatory emissions trading scheme. "Global warming is still considered to be a theory and has not come close to being sufficiently proven", he said.

Inhofe has similarly criticized predictions of ozone depletion, particularly in relation to the Arctic.[17]

In 2006, Inhofe gave a speech in the Senate in which he argued that the threat of global warming was exaggerated by "the media, Hollywood elites and our pop culture." Inhofe claimed that "From the late 1920s until the 1960s they [the media] warned of global warming. From the 1950s until the 1970s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate's fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years." He also accused the media of ignoring scientists such as Roger A. Pielke and William Gray who, Inhofe claims, disagree with global warming.[18]

During a 2007 hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee [2], Inhofe stated "I hope people understand what the issue is...because a lot of people don't know the issue. A lot of people think the issue is...is...uh...is global warming taking place? The issue is: is it man-made gases? Anthropogenic gases...uh...CO2 that's - that is the issue,". This somewhat ambiguous statement may represent a shift from denying the existence of warming (no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century, see above) to accepting the warming but denying any attribution to human activity.[original research?][dubious ]

Only Texas senator John Cornyn received more campaign donations from the oil and gas industry in the 2002 election cycle.[19] The contributions Inhofe has received from the energy and natural resource sector since taking office have exceeded one million dollars.[20]

[edit] Homosexuality

On June 6, 2006, in a speech on the Senate floor about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, Inhofe said, pointing at a large photograph of his family:

Inhofe points at large photograph of his family, proclaiming none have been divorced or homosexual.
Inhofe points at large photograph of his family, proclaiming none have been divorced or homosexual.

...As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we’ll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.


Inhofe did not make it clear why this picture would be "the most important prop" used in the debate, or how it was relevant to the debate.

He also said:

The homosexual marriage lobby, as well as the polygamist lobby, they share the same goal of essentially breaking down all state-regulated marriage requirements to just one, and that one is consent. In doing so, they're paving the way for illegal protection of such practices as homosexual marriage, unrestricted sexual conduct between adults and children, group marriage, incest, and, you know, if it feels good, do it.


[edit] Immigration

Inhofe wrote the Inhofe Amendment (to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006) which was debated in Congress in May 2006. The amendment would make English the national language of the United States and require that new citizens take an English proficiency test. The amendment was passed on May 18, 2006 with 32 Democrats, 1 independent, and 1 Republican dissenting.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science, page 75. Basic books, 2005. ISBN 978-0-465-04675-1
  2. ^ "James Mountain Inhofe, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress"
  3. ^ "Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier". Association of the United States Army
  4. ^ Hyde Mulvihill APC Lawyers - "Insurers in Liquidation, Rehabilitation and under Conservation/Supervision"
  5. ^ http://www.phrusa.org/research/torture/mccain_text.html
  6. ^ http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=McCain_Amendment_No._1977
  7. ^ http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1497443/posts
  8. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/05/AR2005100502062.html
  9. ^ Crackpot Theology Makes Bad Foreign Policy, The Cato Institute
  10. ^ 'The Science of Climate Change Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe'
  11. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate of 2004 Annual Review, section on temperature trends
  12. ^ Heat wave has senator sticking to beliefs
  13. ^ National Resources Defense Council: Tops Dogs - James Inhofe
  14. ^ Lawmakers hear of interference in global warming science. CNN. January 31, 2007
  15. ^ Inhofe appearance on "Fox & Friends", January 30, 2007 . Video available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eat-the-press/2007/01/30/fox-takes-fair-and-balanc_e_40001.html
  16. ^ Charles P. Pierce. In Praise of Oklahoma. The American Prospect
  17. ^ The Science of Climate Change - Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe
  18. ^ Text of speech by James Inhofe in the Senate on 25 Sept 2006 on global warming. Accessed 28 Sept 2006.
  19. ^ Opensecrets.org Top 20 Recipients of Oil & Gas contributions, 2002
  20. ^ Opensecrets.org Contributions to James Inhofe by sector
  21. ^ a b Inhofe: Unplugged and unhinged

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Robert J. LaFortune
Mayor of Tulsa
Succeeded by
Terry Young (R)
Preceded by
James Robert Jones (D)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Steve Largent (R)
Preceded by
David L. Boren (D)
United States Senator (Class 2) from Oklahoma
November 17, 1994
Served alongside: Don Nickles, Tom Coburn

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