Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Joseph A. Palermo Headshot

Senator James Inhofe: Supreme "Bullshitter"

Posted: Updated:
Print

A philosophy professor, Harry Frankfurt, wrote a book in 2005 with the illustrious title: "On Bullshit." Frankfurt's central argument is that a "bullshitter" is far worse than a liar because "he does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does," but "opposes himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are." (p. 61) During hearings of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where former Vice-President Albert Gore, Jr., the Governing Council Chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection, testified on global warming, the Republican Senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe, showed himself to be a supreme bullshitter.

Senator Inhofe questioned whether global warming was "manmade," and he attacked Gore's film, the Academy Award-winning, "An Inconvenient Truth," for asking at the end: "Are you ready to change the way you live?" Inhofe bluntly denigrated the Gore family for allegedly consuming an inordinate share of greenhouse gas-producing carbons.

Gore deflected the aggressive Oklahoman by insisting that his personal consumption is "green." He also cited the consensus among the world's most esteemed scientists that global warming is indeed "manmade" and is rapidly reaching crisis proportions.

But Inhofe was undeterred. He cut off the former Vice President in mid-sentence in order to belittle him for being disingenuous. Inhofe says that his lovely state of Oklahoma experienced three extremely cold winters of late, and quipped: "Where's global warming when you need it?" He denounced "the George Soroses, the Michael Moores, and the Richard Bransons" for conspiring to scare the decent, god-fearing folk about global warming. He produced a placard with the names of "a hundred scientists" who believe global warming is a hoax.

In an insulting and sexist manner, Inhofe repeatedly interrupted the Chair of the committee, California Senator Barbara Boxer, who had to brandish the gavel to remind him that "elections matter," and he was no longer the chair. Inhofe is clearly one of the greatest minds of the 11th Century.

Gore called for a "freeze" in the production of additional greenhouse gases, and for a "cap and trade" program that would unleash market forces to help reduce greenhouse emissions. Gore showed that he is still a class act. During his testimony he was congenial and collegial even when under the acrimonious and personal assault from Inhofe and other retrograde Republicans whose loyalties lie with the petroleum lobby. Al Gore is way ahead of the curve. He is committed to saving the planet. Inhofe and his fellow travelers, like the egomaniacal "novelist" Michael Crichton, are in the same category as flat-earthers and Holocaust deniers. They are all supreme "bullshitters" in the Frankfurtian sense.