THE BLOG

If James Inhofe Doesn't Hate The Troops, Why Has He Voted Against Them 100% Of The Time?

09/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

There is no one running for re-election to the U.S. Senate further to the right than Oklahoma's James Inhofe. His roll call votes from 2007-08 show that he is the 3rd from the bottom of the barrel. Worse than him-- though only fractionally-- are Wayne Allard (R-CO), whose polling numbers were so atrocious that he decided to retire, and Jim DeMint (R-SC), who isn't up for re-election. There isn't a single bright spot in Inhofe's voting record. But there are two issues that really confound people in Oklahoma when they hear about them: his utter lack of support for our military personnel and his similar posture towards veterans.

There are few Republicans who have been louder, more shrill and more exploitative when it comes to chanting mantra-like, "support the troops." Apparently, though, in Inhofe's case he was mixing up supporting the fighting men and women with the corporations that make military hardware (and fatten his campaign coffers with "donations"). Defense and aerospace contractors have showered Inhofe with contributions-- $222,350 as of June 30... and rapidly rising-- and he has repaid them handsomely, having never voted against a bill his donors have lobbied him on. But supporting war profiteers like Black Water and Halliburton is far from supporting the troops. Since May of 2003 there have been 14 Senate roll calls affecting the well-being of American's active duty military. At least Inhofe was consistent. He voted against their interests all 14 times. Whether we're talking about exempting active duty military members from harsh bankruptcy rules or we're talking about body armor for the troops, Inhofe has been voting against our troops every single opportunity he's had.

Let me give you an example. On April 21, 2005, conservative pro-war Democrat Evan Bayh introduced an amendment, S.Amdt 520, the purpose of which was to provide funding for armor for Humvees. It was a dramatic vote that found both Obama and McCain on the same side-- voting for the troops. Even arch-conservatives like George Allen (R-VA), Rick Santorum (R-PA), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Conrad Burns (R-MT) joined the Democrats to approve this by an overwhelming 61-39 veto-proof majority. Inhofe apparently didn't want to break his perfect record of having opposed the troops on every single vote. And, of course, when Jim Webb (D-VA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) have tried to pass amendments to specify minimum periods between deployment of units and members of the Armed Forces deployed in Ira and Afghanistan, Inhofe was always in the bitter and shrinking minority of opponents.

And, you know what? His record on veterans isn't any better! Apart from the 2 votes he missed, there have been 10 votes affecting military veterans since 2003. And Inhofe has voted against vets all 10 times.

When most people think about James Inhofe they think about his deplorable record on the environment, the worst in the entire Congress. The non-partisan League of Conservative Voters, for example, named him the #1 worst member of the Senate.

"Our future will be significantly impacted by how we work to fight global warming, yet Senator Jim Inhofe won't even acknowledge that global warming exists," LCV Senior Vice President Tony Massaro said. "During his tenure in Congress, Senator Inhofe has made it his mission to vote against commonsense solutions to global warming and our nation's energy challenges, earning an abysmal 5 percent lifetime LCV voting score and a place on our 'Dirty Dozen' list."

As Ranking Member and Former Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Jim Inhofe has earned his place at the top of the Dirty Dozen for consistently voting against important environmental protections. In fact, Sen. Inhofe doesn't even believe the world's best scientists on global warming. This belief puts Sen. Inhofe at odds with President Bush and members of his own party. When it comes to his voting record, he has voted against any amount of progress on addressing global warming pollution or investing in clean, renewable energy.

But that's old hat in Oklahoma. Everyone knows it and, love him or hate him... well, they know he's kind of weird about the environment. No surprises.

But his lack of support-- even disdain or contempt-- for our vets and active duty service members... Almost no one in Oklahoma knows. That's why I was so excited today when I found an organization, Progressive Kick, that had actually managed to create a 60 second TV spot that explains Inhofe's positions about the troops perfectly. They're trying to raise the money to keep the ad on TV in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. They have a pledge of $50,000 from Oklahoma sources if they can find the funds to match the pledge online. Please take a look at the ad and if you'd like to help get it on the air-- and keep it on the air throughout Oklahoma, consider making a donation to Progressive Kick's Oklahoma Fund at ActBlue. Since Progressive Kick is just about issues and not about candidates or elections, there's no limit to what you can donate. If you want to give $5.00, that would be very much appreciated. If you feel like this message warrants $25,000... don't hesitate.