Inhofe searches for a silver lining

INHOFE SEARCHES FOR A SILVER LINING…. The day after Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) went on Fox News to explain why the development was … wait for it … good news for Republicans. Inhofe argued that Pennsylvania Republicans’ reluctance to support Specter was evidence of Democratic overreach.

Yesterday, while explaining why gay Americans can’t be allowed to serve in the U.S. military without hiding their sexual orientation, Inhofe repeated the Specter argument in more detail.

There is no evidence more visible that the American people are already rebelling against the far-left agenda than Senator Arlen Specter switching parties to become a Democrat. He did this for one reason, and that is his advisers told him he couldn’t retain his Senate seat as a Republican. In other words, the same people who supported Senator Specter six years ago have soundly rejected him today.

This is nutty for a couple of reasons. First, Inhofe is equating the shrinking GOP base in Pennsylvania with the nation overall, as if the prior is fairly representative of the latter. If conservative Republican activists don’t approve of a moderate Republican senator, then the only logical conclusion, according to Inhofe, is to assume that the “American people” have no use for a “far-left agenda.” This doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Second, there’s the context of Inhofe’s foolishness. As Brian Beutler noted, a DADT repeal is hardly a “far-left” idea — a majority of Americans support ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” putting Inhofe outside the American mainstream.

I can appreciate why a far-right lawmaker like Inhofe may want to spin Specter’s switch, but he’ll have to do better than this.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.