Perhaps Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) isn’t such a harsh guy after all.

Inhofe is known as the leading voice against the science that proves climate change is happening and any policies that have been drawn up to address it. Inhofe has been lampooned over the years for his stance and the frequent use of extreme rhetoric to back it up.

But last week's quote put Inhofe in a new light, showing that the Oklahoman can stay above the often-commonplace personal attacks that tend to dominate rhetoric on Capitol Hill. Inhofe’s human side came out in the wake of the announcement that Carol Browner will be leaving the White House. Browner was the climate czar for the Obama administration tasked with implementing polices for adapting to climate change, mitigating its possible affects and trying to prevent it.

Every step of the way Inhofe has opposed the now-outgoing policy wonk. The two were policy rivals, but apparently not enemies. When Politico broke the news that Browner was leaving public life, it came with a reaction from her chief rival in the Senate. Buried at the bottom of the news story was this statement: “Carol Browner and I have long been on opposite sides of many issues,” he said. “I would say that I’m happy to see her leave only because she was so effective in advancing her side. Given her considerable knowledge and experience in navigating the bureaucracy, she will be irreplaceable. In the spirit of unity, I wish her all the best.”

Perhaps this was just Inhofe being graceful in victory — assuming he sees Browner’s departure as a victory. Perhaps this was just Inhofe feeling the effects of a more cordial Congress before the State of the Union, during which members sat with members of the opposite political party. But whatever the reasons or motivations, it was a sign that politics doesn't always have to be about scoring points. It usually is, but at least there are signs that it doesn’t always have to be that way. 

Sen. Inhofe shows softer side
The leader of the senate's climate change deniers shows that he can take the high road.