The problem with Sen. Jim Inhofe is that he is overly partisan to the detriment of common sense. He comes so close to being right on issues. But it seems like no matter how many times he starts down the right road, he always takes a detour through crazy town.
Jim Inhofe is an ignorant, crotchety old man. But that's not why I don't like him.
I don't like him because he is an ignorant, crotchety old man who is also a senator from Oklahoma. And when people find out that's where I grew up, I don't want them to hold it against me.
The problem with Inhofe is that he is overly partisan to the detriment of common sense. He comes so close to being right on issues. But it seems like no matter how many times he starts down the right road, he always takes a detour through crazy town.
On global warming -- or climate change -- he is almost on the money. I also have trouble going as far as to say we are experiencing a man-made problem climate change. The planet has experienced weather cycles since the atmosphere first began to blanket the world.
But to try to say that industrial activity including oil and gas drilling and refining don't produce pollution is ridiculous.
Who are you going to believe, your lying nose that can smell the chemicals being released into the atmosphere, or a little old senator whose home state and campaign war chest just happen to benefit greatly from those activities.
We know the chemicals that are released by these activities. We know many are carcinogens. That's a good reason to regulate how and where these activities take place.
Inhofe was on the right track, but he got sidetracked.
The latest logic train to jump the tracks is Inhofe's take on profiling.
"I know it isn't politically correct," he said. "But I believe in racial and ethnic profiling."
It's not just politically incorrect. It is generally incorrect. He backed up his statement with two arguments that shone a spotlight on his fallacy.
First he said, "A terrorist is a terrorist. That's what they do. They kill people."
I don't know where to begin to point out the absurdity. The Sept. 11 hijackers had committed zero murders or acts of terrorism before that fateful day. They were students, workers or regular Muslim guys who were influenced by extremists.
They only killed people once and they were among the dead.
He also believes he can profile people racially or ethnically. The Christmas Day Underwear Bomber was a black man of African descent, not Middle Eastern. We did know some of his ties to extremists due to intelligence gathering. But his race and ethnicity gave no clues to his motives.
Inhofe also noted that he understood his own state's encounter with terrorism -- the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Bombing in 1994 -- had nothing to do with race, ethnicity or religion.
But Inhofe was certain that his theory was accurate 90 percent of the time.
I think he is the only person that thinks using ethnic and racial profiling to catch 90 percent of the potential terrorists while letting the 10 percent who are "non-traditional terrorists" succeed is a good idea.
He said security should be paying attention to young Middle Eastern men and not his wife in airports. To believe that, you would have to forget that women are often used as suicide bombers because they can blend into crowds more easily without rousing suspicions.
It's a no-win game.
No one wants to go through long lines and invasive checks at airports. However, if that helps keeps planes in the air and out of the control of hijackers, it's a small price to pay.
These choices don't offer black-and-white solutions, and "good old boy" wisdom doesn't always cut it when you're dealing with people willing to die themselves in an effort to kill you.
Just because Fred at the coffee shop can get away with being a racist toward Muslims thanks to their terrorist activity doesn't make patterned racism good policy for airport security.
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta Gazette in Augusta, Kan. Contact him at email@example.com.