Voters will respond to the "shock treatment" given by the president's national economic policies by sweeping in enough Republicans in November to take over the U.S. Senate, Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator said Thursday.
"Every institution that made America great happens to be under attack today," U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe told members of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber during a breakfast at the Oklahoma City Marriott. "Maybe America needed a shock treatment, and we got a shock treatment. ... I will predict the shock treatment will precipitate in a
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said he expects Republicans could pick up as many as 13 seats in the Nov. 2 general elections to gain control. He listed off potential wins in Arkansas, Colorado, California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Connecticut and Oregon. Republicans need to pick up at least 10 seats to be in the majority; 34 seats are up for election. The Senate is made up of 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans and two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Todd Goodman, asked later to comment, said Democrats should hold onto the majority in the Senate.
"The national trend of being anti-
Inhofe, elected in 1994 to the Senate to fill an unexpired term and re-elected three times since then, said Americans are starting to understand that policies by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats are attacking the oil, banking, insurance, health care and military industries.
"By attack, I'm talking about the government taking over," Inhofe said. "The public never believed that we would get to the point where our government would do what government is doing today."
The federal bailout programs that have added to the country's deficit are having an adverse effect on the economy, he said.
"There's no one out there who can read or write who doesn't know you cannot sustain a deficit of one year of $1.4 trillion," Inhofe said.
Looking to 2012
If Senate Republicans gain control, it's likely Democrats up for re-
"When the ship sinks, the rats jump off — they're not going to go down with the ship," he said. "We're going to see a behavioral change in Democrats who have been following and doing everything they could to help with the administration."
Inhofe criticized a one-year moratorium on requesting earmarks, or money for special projects, which was announced earlier this year by Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Inhofe said earmarks should be called appropriations, saying that appropriating funds is the job of Congress. He said no money is saved when a congressional earmark is removed — the money remains in the budget and is spent by bureaucrats and administration officials.
"It goes right back to the bureaucracy," he said.
Inhofe this year requested more than $615 million in special projects, with about two-thirds of that for defense contractors and military bases.
Inhofe said he gets along with U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-
"When you really need something for Oklahoma, he's there," Inhofe said. "All I want him to agree with is just to define earmarks as appropriations, then we wouldn't disagree on anything. If there's a ridiculous appropriation out there, we'll go out and fight it together."
Inhofe said he is proud to bring federal money to pay for improvements at the state's military installations and highway
Inhofe, last re-elected in 2008, said he hasn't thought about whether he would seek another term in 2014.
"I'm 75 years old, but I still fly airplanes upside down and I don't know why it is — I don't hurt anywhere and I don't feel any different than I felt five years ago," Inhofe said. "If circumstances are the same as they are today, yeah I would be running."