Senator Snowball Melts Away
July 9, 2024 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, famous for his climate change denial speech where he brought a snowball on the floor of the Senate, has died at 89.

Given his profile, Erik Loomis of Lawyers, Guns, and Money had an obituary prepared for the deeply incurious, deeply homophobic Republican:
If Inhofe is remembered for anything by the general public, it was his “herpty derpty it’s snowing here in DC so climate change is a lib conspiracy” speech, replete with the snowball brought onto the Senate floor. He thought climate change was just hilarious, thus the snowball. He stated, “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” OK Jim, sure.

For this, among other things, I once called Inhofe “arguably the dumbest person to sit in the Senate for a long, long time.” Amusingly, this quote is the lead for Inhofe entry at RationalWiki. Now, I stand by the statement mostly. Inhofe was a stupid, stupid man. However, that comment doesn’t really hold up to the test of time because the Republican Party really came to value stupidity as its central ideological point. People like Marsha Blackburn or Ron Johnson, not to mention Kirsten Sinema, genuinely very dumb human beings, managed to surpass Inhofe. And then there’s Tommy Tuberville. Good Lord, now that is a dumb person. It’s a sad nation where Inhofe isn’t the stupidest person in your governing bodies. In any case, Inhofe’s own granddaughter challenged Grandpa Dumbass directly the next time she saw her, saying that climate change was real and asking why he would not listen to science and help save the world. Inhofe’s response to his own granddaughter was to say that teaching science in schools was brainwashing.
posted by NoxAeternum (63 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
The petroleum-greased hand of the oil cartel is no doubt working its way out of his various holes and looking for a replacement host.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:58 PM on July 9 [28 favorites]


May he burn in hell . . . I beg his pardon, freeze in hell.
posted by dannyboybell at 1:00 PM on July 9 [17 favorites]


Where he's going, you can't find snowballs.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 1:00 PM on July 9 [15 favorites]


And no one of value has died
posted by Kitteh at 1:02 PM on July 9 [19 favorites]


.
posted by HearHere at 1:03 PM on July 9


Something something never speaking ill of the dead something something
James Inhofe is dead. Good.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:04 PM on July 9 [10 favorites]


.

(that's not a normal Metafilter ".", it's just a melted snowball)
posted by senor biggles at 1:06 PM on July 9 [25 favorites]


I’d say “good,” but he should have been forced to live through what he helped make. This is like eating an immensely expensive meal and dying as the check arrives.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:08 PM on July 9 [43 favorites]


With people like Inhofe, how can you tell what's genuine belief and what's part of the grift?

Regardless of the distinction, you're judged on your measurable actions/reactions and for that I imagine on history's great scales he'll been found incredibly lacking.
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:09 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


With the GOP, they really are that stupid. Remember, running for a GOP office starts by showing up at ALEC events, including the ALEC conference itself, and reciting the standard GOP platitudes in front of the Koch brother(s). (One's dead, one never wanted anything to do with this stuff, so we're down to one of them. And his chums, unfortunately.)

That's how you get the campaign funds, and at those auditions, they are not selecting for intelligence.

Sinema, however, you may recall, performed a heel turn after getting elected. She's in the grift.
posted by ocschwar at 1:15 PM on July 9 [11 favorites]


With people like Inhofe, how can you tell what's genuine belief and what's part of the grift?

Why worry about it? Judge them by their actions, rather than what hides in their rumored hearts.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:16 PM on July 9 [22 favorites]


Frustrations mount in the Houston heat after Beryl moves on and leaves millions without power

How record-breaking Hurricane Beryl is a sign of a warming world

Heritage Foundation's "Project 2025" also plans on gutting Federal electrification initiatives, natch.

"Although it is not true that all Conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are Conservative." – J.S. Mill
posted by torokunai at 1:16 PM on July 9 [17 favorites]


May the Lord judge him according to his deeds.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 1:17 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


And yea, good riddance. Now to repair the damage he caused.
posted by ocschwar at 1:19 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


*
posted by Foosnark at 1:21 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


🛢️
posted by adamrice at 1:23 PM on July 9


*
posted by kensington314 at 1:25 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


*
posted by Ickster at 1:26 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


he should have been forced to live through what he helped make.

Climate change for him - like the rest of us who are not poor, don't work outside, and live in a developed country - was and will be mostly an annoyance. It's the rest of the world who will truly suffer. And I doubt that he did acknowledge or would have acknowledged his contribution to that suffering.

On the other hand, credit where credit is due: "In campaigning for his last Senate race at age 85, amid some criticism that he was aging, he flew a plane upside down to announce he was running for a fifth term. 'When I can no longer fly a plane upside down, then I’m too old to be in the United States Senate,' he said in the ad."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:38 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


How appropriate an afterlife for him to be metabolized into various greenhouse gases and continue to warm the planet
posted by dantheclamman at 1:38 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


"I'm Mister Heat Blister
I'm Mister Hundred and One
They call me Heat Miser
Whatever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I'm too much!"
- Inhofe (if I'm not mistaken)
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:40 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Why worry about it? Judge them by their actions, rather than what hides in their rumored hearts.
Absolutely judge them by their actions, the distinction of belief/grift is more a question of curiosity and tactics. A believer would be hard pressed to ever change, a grifter will change the second it benefits them to. (also should be acknowledged that all politicians are grifters to some extent as compromise of principle is generally needed to get anywhere)
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:40 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


With people like Inhofe, how can you tell what's genuine belief and what's part of the grift?

You dunk them in water and see if they float.
posted by swift at 1:43 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Climate change for him - like the rest of us who are not poor, don't work outside, and live in a developed country - was and will be mostly an annoyance. It's the rest of the world who will truly suffer.
I'm all for recognizing that privilege of various sorts allows one to escape some of the consequences of climate change, but the quoted statement already isn't true, and will get less so over time. We've already had a link to the effects of Beryl in Houston (thanks, torokunai!), and I think it's callous to pretend that the affected people merely experienced an annoyance. Acknowledging the real damage done to them is perfectly compatible with acknowledging that there are others who suffer even more from the effects of climate change.
posted by It is regrettable that at 1:47 PM on July 9 [16 favorites]


.
posted by riruro at 1:48 PM on July 9


I'll remember him for being dangerously stupid.
posted by mazola at 1:51 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


> We've already had a link to the effects of Beryl in Houston (thanks, torokunai!), and I think it's callous to pretend that the affected people merely experienced an annoyance.

Then they can fly to Cancun during the storm, or move to wherever climate change isn't causing a problem.
posted by NotAYakk at 1:56 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Imhofe was an a-hole for being a really really really dangerous pilot, too.
https://www.avweb.com/news/faa-investigating-senator-inhofes-closed-runway-landing/
That is driving on the wrong side of the road stupid and blaming the other drivers.

In 2011, the senator ran afoul of the FAA when he landed a plane on a closed runway at a rural South Texas airport even though there was a giant yellow X and trucks on the runway. Workers on the ground scrambled to get out of the way.

Inhofe agreed to complete a remedial training program rather than face possible legal action and possible suspension of his pilot’s license. He later sponsored a bill to strengthen the position of pilots when contesting FAA enforcement of safety regulations in such cases.

He’s had other close calls as well: In 2006, an experimental plane he was flying spun out of control while landing in Tulsa. In 1999, Inhofe made an emergency landing in a Tulsa suburb after the plane he was flying lost a propeller.

Inhofe’s son, Perry Inhofe, died in a small plane crash in November 2013. But the senator has continued to fly, despite his advanced age.
posted by pthomas745 at 2:04 PM on July 9 [12 favorites]


I won’t celebrate his death, but I will celebrate the world being a better place because of it.
posted by chasing at 2:09 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Born and raised in Oklahoma here. My grandpa never said anything political in his life. I have absolutely no clue what his politics were or who he voted for if he voted at all. But man he hated Inhofe with a passion.
posted by downtohisturtles at 2:09 PM on July 9 [23 favorites]


Then they can fly to Cancun during the storm, or move to wherever climate change isn't causing a problem.
I hope that that's sarcasm. I would generally just silently assume so, but then I don't understand what sounds like hostility towards people who, though living in relative privilege, nonetheless just had their lives upended in ways that privilege does not entirely offset.

Of course Cruz did flee during Winter 2021, and, in general, the powerful and wealthy will often just flee the effects of their actions. But there are plenty of people in Houston and elsewhere who, while not poor, not working outside, and living in a developed country, cannot afford to relocate, possibly indefinitely, when their homes are ravaged by the effects of climate change. I am farther north, and was lucky enough not to be affected, but, while I live a life of great privilege by many standards, I absolutely would not have been in a position to "move to wherever climate change isn't causing a problem." Even setting that aside, if there's any such thing as "wherever climate change isn't causing a problem" now, then there won't be soon.
posted by It is regrettable that at 2:09 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


I deeply loathed him. I feel no relief at all that he’s dead. We aren’t better off with him gone - he’s left philosophical descendents to carry on. This state is on a long slide from a bad place to a worse place - thanks in no small part to Inhoff - and it’s not something that will be fixed or rebuilt or turned around overnight or over the next decade and maybe not the next century.

I’m mostly pissed. But I feel some grief that he had many chances to do a lot of good during his lifetime, and as far as I can tell he took a pass on each one.
posted by bunderful at 2:36 PM on July 9 [10 favorites]


The rich will not be able to run away from catastrophic climate change. The Earth is not the Titantic. There is no planet B. There are plenty of very wealthy oil executives living in Houston (hello River Oaks) and Beryl did not spare them or their property. The only way for them to avoid it is to die first and that's what that evil dullard Inhofe just did.
posted by Alcedinidae at 2:45 PM on July 9 [11 favorites]


99 more to go!
posted by jy4m at 3:09 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Came to also post about the pilot thing. The jackass tried to land on a closed runway and nearly killed someone. His response to the FAA investigation was to fight back and undermine the FAA's ability to censure pilots who do incredibly unsafe and stupid things like try to land on top of workers repairing a runway.
posted by Nelson at 3:13 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


As a Senator, he couldn’t be bothered to use his privilege to advance one piece of legislation that would have made the world a better place or helped one poor soul (as far as I know or care to). He isn’t getting a dot, or icicle or any more acknowledgement from me. I just don’t care.
posted by jabo at 3:23 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


Since someone already mentioned Texas stupidity.... The state is not on the national power gird because they don't want to be regulated at all. not super relevant to hurricane Beryl damage, since I gather the main problem is downed lines vs capacity.... But it definitely caused deaths during the freeze. Each and every person who voted Republican has some level of blood on their hands.
posted by Jacen at 3:28 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


what jabo said. I'd ask somebody to post the location of his grave so I could piss on it, but there's no way I'm going to Oklahoma.
posted by theora55 at 3:42 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


I hope he brought the snowball with him to hell.
posted by mike3k at 3:57 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


jabo, forget just not advancing legislation to help someone; although the willful climate ignorance/cruelty is rightly being focused on here, what I remember him for is one instance of his proud participation in the harm-based approach to legislation, the Inhofe amendment, where he didn't even have the figleaf of possibly ignorance rather than of malice.
posted by It is regrettable that at 4:05 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Did not realize that he had resigned from the Senate in the middle of his term because of Long COVID. Given his politics, that seems like a bit of poetic justice.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 4:14 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


When I got to the part about him being the dumbest senator, I immediately thought, "Wait, what about Tuberville?!" Reading only just a smidge further:

And then there’s Tommy Tuberville. Good Lord, now that is a dumb person. It’s a sad nation where Inhofe isn’t the stupidest person in your governing bodies.

Sitting here where we've had a heatwave for essentially the entire month, with temps 10 degrees (or more!) higher than the yearly average, I'd raise a cold beverage in celebration of his passing, but I don't want to waste the ice.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:18 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


On these occasions I'm always reminded of a story one of my longtime colleagues loved to tell. His uncle had passed, a man whose reputation preceded him as a scoundrel, grifter and small-time gangster, known his whole life for angling any advantage vs family, friends or foes, never missing any opportunity to grease his palms at the expense of anyone who entered his orbit. At the funeral home on the day of his service, my buddy stood near the open coffin, chatting quietly with several relatives when an unknown mourner approached, stood silently over the deceased for a moment, then turned to walk away and gruffly, with obvious intention to be heard, muttered, "I just wanted to make sure the sonofabitch was dead."
posted by thecincinnatikid at 4:19 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


A weak and worthless person has passed.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 5:01 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


The only way for them to avoid it is to die first and that's what that evil dullard Inhofe just did.

That's their plan, their whole plan. And most of them will get away with it the same way, by dying. Comfortably.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:07 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Good.

So Foosnark, kensington314, and Ickster, were those supposed to be cute lil' snowballs or were they an 'Inhofe is an asshole' emoji?

Eh, either way works for me.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:32 PM on July 9


Relevant XKCD #1: https://xkcd.com/154/

Relevant XKCD #2: https://xkcd.com/1321/

But I think, for Mr. Inhofe, this is the XKCD comic to apply to the occasion: https://xkcd.com/1357/

Rest in piss.
posted by AlSweigart at 6:21 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


To steal a phrase from John Oliver: despite what many people in this thread believe, Inhofe actually has done something to make this country a better place. In 2024, and this is true, he died.
posted by TedW at 6:55 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]


spits
posted by lalochezia at 7:01 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


He had a stroke over the July 4 holiday, probably because it was too hot.
posted by metatuesday at 7:25 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Inhofe was super dumb.

But I think his climate change denial is trickier. It was probably more venal than dumb. He was financed by people who had a vested interest in denying climate change.

That’s not dumb. It’s corrupt.

Good riddance.
posted by teece303 at 7:25 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]


What I heard through the grapevine was that he knew climate change was real but didn’t care.
posted by bunderful at 8:09 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


He spent his short time on this world making it a worse place for everyone, now and into the future.
posted by biogeo at 8:30 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


That’s not dumb. It’s corrupt.

¿Por qué no los dos?
posted by tzikeh at 10:35 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Oh. Darn. Well that's a total shame. I'm sure he had people who loved-- OH fuck I can't keep up that bit. Good riddance. I hope he's encountering global warming in person, but the warming is inside the globe and there's a big red horned guy torturing him.
posted by brundlefly at 11:52 PM on July 9


I grew up in Oklahoma.

Fuck Inhofe. May he be quickly forgotten and the harm he did repaired.
posted by allium cepa at 12:48 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Tommy Tuberville. Good Lord, now that is a dumb person

and with a name that might as well be Mister Potato Head, proving beyond doubt both that the writers exist and that they're just lazy.

Still, I'm pleased they've finally decided to wrap up Inhofe's character arc. Next!
posted by flabdablet at 1:20 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Normally I would not be joining in this kind of dogpile, but Omar Little from The Wire has my back on this.

Inhofe used his perch in the Senate to drag people into political theater who had no interest in doing it. In Omar's terms, "they weren't in the GAME."

The accusation of a hoax is not something to take lightly in science. The idea that a scientist who had no interest in running for office should get dragged into that kind of thing because his published results are inconvenient for one political party or the other, Inhofe did this.

Inhofe did this. And he did this by breaking the strictures of his own religion: "thou shalt not bear false witness."

Fuck him. If I make it to Tulsa for any reason, I will spit on his grave.
posted by ocschwar at 4:42 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


@ocschwar Spit? I think the champagne of human bodily fluids would be more apt. And if I ever come within 50 miles of his resting place...
posted by james33 at 7:11 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Said it before and I'll say it again: I have better things to do with my time than go out of my way to stand knee deep in piss mud.
posted by flabdablet at 9:15 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I hope that that's sarcasm. I would generally just silently assume so, but then I don't understand what sounds like hostility towards people who, though living in relative privilege, nonetheless just had their lives upended in ways that privilege does not entirely offset.

Of course Cruz did flee during Winter 2021, and, in general, the powerful and wealthy will often just flee the effects of their actions.


Very much sarcasm. But as many of them they are 60+ years old, they only need to be able to use millions of dollars to find a spot sheltered from the impact of climate change for the next 25 years before they die.
posted by NotAYakk at 10:05 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Good riddance.
posted by coppertop at 6:43 PM on July 10


Here's a roundup of his gay rights record. He wasn't just hostile to my civil rights, but actively worked to oppose them.
Inhofe has a long list of greatest hits in service to his anti-LGBTQ+ agenda, based in no small part on his membership in the Family, also known as the Fellowship, a network of powerful evangelicals with the goal of erecting a Christian Nationalist state.
posted by Nelson at 8:49 AM on July 11


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