Sen. James Inhofe has become something of an epic figure, worthy of contemplation by historians, playwrights, or perhaps psychoanalysts. The zeitgeist, which once seemed to rise up around him like a thundercloud, has now moved on, leaving him dripping and bedraggled, resorting to ever more unhinged grand gestures to try to recapture some of the old magic. His historical moment is over, as his career may soon be, but he’s not going gently into that good night.
Quite the contrary: he seems to have entered some sort of bizarre fugue state, taking to the Senate floor for over two hours today to rail against rising tide of concern over global warming. It’s all there: ranting against "Hollywood," fear of world government, demagogic use of children, and meticulous stitching together of every flat-earth skeptic fairy tale Google has to offer. He might as well be the sweaty guy in the overcoat on the street corner, with his collage of newspaper clippings, the one that reveals the conspiracy They Don’t Want You to Know. Only this guy’s a United States Senator.
The country seems to be waking up from it Bush-era fever dream. When we have fully shaken off our slumber, I suspect we will look back on this late-period ‘winger reverie with amazement, as an exemplar and a warning of how far things can go off the rails.