Jim Inhofe and the crazy old man who controls the weather

January 28, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

You sort of expect conservative legislators in a place like, say, Idaho, to be sort of, you know, not all that bright. As in, unsure which blob is Europe, Jesus-was-American, don’t-eat-the-yellow-snow sort of OMG embarrassing. And, as evidenced by this adorable little salamander story – coupled to the most hilarious 2014 gubernatorial debate you can’t believe was actually real – you’d be all kinds of terrifically right.

But the big honchos? The upper cadre of old, white Republican relics who run the show in DC and who openly despise everything you and I stand for – the planet, love, sex, water, beauty, air? With them, I sometimes tend to be of a slightly more generous spirit.

Silly of me, I know. Thing is, I want to believe these powerful men, many of whom have been in office for millennia and all of whom have college degrees and/or law degrees, I want to believe they play dumb about the Important Stuff not because they don’t know better, not because they actually believe man rode dinosaurs or women’s vaginas have teeth, but because they have to; they’re bound to the World of Dumb by the gross gravitational force of “the base,” that famously unlearned horde of tremulous conservative voters without whom the GOP would instantly lose all power and meaning.

Why do I deceive myself this way? Because the alternative – the idea that top Republicans are as savagely ignorant as a pile of oily bricks – is so unappetizing, so baffling, so heartbreaking, it hurts the soul to hear it proven wrong.

My soul hurts, again. Behold, Oklahoma’s crazy old Senator Jim Inhofe – a man never once known for his intellectual prowess, a man who has a simple BA degree from the University of Tulsa, which he got when he was 40, somewhere around the time he was helping bankrupt the Quaker Life Insurance Company.

Jim is, tragically, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, because apparently there’s a rule in Congress that says the less qualified you are for a post and the more you violently oppose (read: don’t the slightest bit understand) everything it’s supposed to uphold and defend, the more likely you are to get appointed to lead it.

Jim “Crazy Old Man” Inhofe, who also reportedly believes that Spiderman invented cats

Jim “Crazy Old Man” Inhofe, who also reportedly believes that Spiderman invented cats

Here is old Jim, who is 81, stepping up in the Senate chamber, actually saying that climate change, while sort of maybe happening, can’t possibly be caused by man.

Do you know why? Because the climate just too big. Even the Bible says so. “The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful, they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.” This is what Jim actually said. Watch the video, and be appalled that lightning, alas, did not strike Jim down on the spot.

You watch this clip, you blink a few times. You cannot believe what you are hearing. It’s as if your dimwit grandpa just told you the Earth is the biggest planet because, well, look up in the sky! Everything’s really tiny up there! We’re super big!

Should you try and refute Inhofe’s idiocy by pointing out a thousand studies, facts, evidence to the contrary? Of course not. Doing so not only validates the Dumb’s existence, it’s like trying to refute a child who claims Spiderman invented cats. There is no point, and you just feel sort of gross even trying.

So you are faced, once again, with a terrible truth: many of the world’s most powerful conservative men (and women, like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who is easily as frighteningly ignorant as Inhofe) are beyond facts, reason, science itself.

They are viciously, painfully dedicated to the Dumb, soaked to the bone in Stupid, and no matter how obvious is your hairdryer of Truth, you will never dry them out.

Meanwhile, the planet groans. Far more intelligent and urgent climate-change amendments, like the one proposed by the great Bernie Sanders just yesterday, get exactly zero votes from Republicans, as thousands of the world’s top scientists, men and women many multiples more intelligent than the entire Republican congress combined, are called flagrant liars and hoaxers. But it’s not just them; every major nation on earth now acknowledges that climate change is real, is largely caused by man, is severely dire and needs to be addressed immediately. They only disagree on how.

Doesn’t matter. The crazy old man waving the Bible around on the Senate floor makes the rules now. God bless America.

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Mark Morford

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