MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 25, 2011

Inhofe: Obama destroying US

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Oklahoma’s senior senator railed against the Obama administration Thursday during a stop at the Muskogee Civic Center.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe identified four issues he sees where the Democratic president is “destroying America.” Those four areas, Inhofe said, include the way President Barack Obama is dealing with the military, federal spending, regulatory oversight and energy issues.

Inhofe said the president’s plans to close Guantanamo Bay would have jeopardized the safety of Americans. He also advocated sending more prisoners to the U.S. military base in Cuba.

“We’re not dealing with criminals here, they are terrorists and they want to kill everybody in this room,” Inhofe said. “They are not entitled to constitutional rights or a trial, they are entitled to a military tribunal.”

With regard to federal spending, Inhofe said federal spending under the Obama administration has outpaced that of the president’s predecessor. Inhofe said under President George W. Bush, the average deficit totaled about $247 billion a year. Under Obama, Inhofe said, that total was about $1.5 trillion a year.

Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, also criticized increased regulatory oversight — especially by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I was the bad guy 10 years ago who called all this stuff about greenhouse gas ... was a hoax,” Inhofe said. “I still feel that way today.”

Inhofe said the estimated costs of regulating greenhouse gas are about $300 billion to $400 billion annually in lost gross domestic production, which equates to about $100 billion in lost tax revenue. Proposed changes to the ozone and air quality standards, Inhofe said, could cost the nation 7 million jobs by 2020 — 177,000 of those jobs from Oklahoma.

With regard to federal energy policies, Inhofe said more needs to be done to allow domestic exploration and production of fossil fuels.

“You can’t run this machine called America if you get rid of fossil fuels,” Inhofe said. He advocated the use of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve oil and natural gas from “tight shale formations.”

On other issues, Inhofe said the moratorium on congressional earmarks does little more than transfer congressional spending powers to the executive branch. The power of the purse strings, Inhofe said, is a constitutional power intended by the U.S. Constitution to be wielded by Congress, the representatives of which are closer to the people.

Inhofe also announced his endorsement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his bid for the GOP’s nominee for president. Inhofe advocates a national flat tax, but he doesn’t expect to see that happen until the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.