It's hard to underestimate the emptiness of the Inhofe campaign. With no ideas and nothing new to say, Tulsa's former mayor and long-time Washington operator has reduced his reelection effort to illogical and angry attacks on his opponent, State Sen. Andrew Rice.
Inhofe's latest smear is to play the fear card—a televised claim that Rice is soft on crime and wants all felons, murders, and rapists to roam the Sooner state in search of new victims. Naturally, the ad features grainy mug shots of evil-looking suspects, as if Rice would invite these folks over to the family every night for cocktails and a game of Scrabble with the kids.
Really, now. The voters of Oklahoma are supposed to buy the simpleminded notion that Rice, a divinity school graduate, former missionary, young husband and father, actually wants criminals to walk the streets without punishment?
Sorry, Jim, this doesn't pass the smell test. Worse, it doesn't pass the basic decency test, even in a hard-fought political contest. Whatever his faults, Andrew Rice is hardly the criminal-hugging, values-bashing opportunist that Inhofe's ads pretend to represent.
In fact, one can make the case that Rice is the more thoughtful and principled candidate, one who is willing to actually vote his convictions, even when he knows it might cost him some votes.
Jim Inhofe, on the other hand, is willing to say and do whatever it takes to bully his way back into the senate.
Inhofe once stood for something positive and honorable. Not any more.