Ousted By Tea Party, Rep. Inglis Looks Back

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Republican Representative Bob Inglis was one of only a few Republicans in the House of Representatives who lost their seats to Tea Party challengers in 2010. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz spoke with Inglis, a longtime conservative, just over a year ago before he left Congress. He checks back in with Inglis to find out what he has been up to since he left politics.


All this hour today and tomorrow, we're going to check in with some of the people we spoke with throughout the year to get an update on what's happening in their lives today.

Last year, I spoke with South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, just as he was packing up his office. Inglis was one of two Republicans who lost his re-election bid. Now, despite his lifetime rating of 93 from the American Conservative Union, the party establishment turned on Inglis, primarily because of his stance on climate change. He believes it's real and it's manmade.

Here's what he told me last year.

BOB INGLIS: I mean, if you look at it, I'm chairman of local losers club. And there are not many of us in the fraternity. There's only two of us in the House that weren't re-elected that wanted to be re-elected. So, it is a small fraternity. And so, it makes you feel a little bit like a moron.

RAZ: Congressman Bob Inglis joins me once again from Greenville, South Carolina for an update. It's great to have you back.

INGLIS: Good to be with you, Guy.

RAZ: So last time we spoke you weren't sure what you were going to do after you left Congress, after you lost your bid for re-election. Where did you end up?

INGLIS: Well, I spent a wonderful spring semester at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, and then started speaking and writing from a conservative perspective on energy and climate. And now doing that full time, getting ready to launch a new effort persuading the country that there are some wonderful conservative solutions to the energy and climate challenge.

RAZ: So, you are actually going around the country talking to conservatives about climate change, trying to persuade them that this is a conservative cause as well?

INGLIS: Right. And really trying to prepare the country for a conservative solution on energy and climate. You know, if we just do two things, attach all costs to all fuels and eliminate all subsidies for all fuels, then free enterprise can solve the energy and climate challenge.

RAZ: Are you, in a way, glad to be out of Washington, out of Congress? Is it kind of a relief?

INGLIS: Well, no, not really. I mean, you know, it's - a lot of people when they leave Congress say, oh, I don't like it anyway. I won't say that because it really was wonderful to be there. It's great to represent a wonderful district in South Carolina and I wish that I could have continued. But I am grateful for the opportunity to be doing what I'm doing now, which means that I'm able to give full time to this effort of trying to make progress on our energy and climate challenge by addressing a true free enterprise.

RAZ: How are conservatives reacting to your message, because you're essentially going against the mainstream Republican message?

INGLIS: The current orthodoxy is adverse to what I'm saying. But I think that perceived wisdom is going to change. We are going to see a renewal of real conservatism, which is, you know, let's be aware of risk and then let's move to avoid risk. That's what conservatives generally do. I realize that that's not the current flavor, but I believe that it will become a bit more natural flavor of conservatives over the next couple of cycles.

RAZ: That's former Congressman Bob Inglis. He joined us from Greenville, South Carolina. Bob Inglis, thanks so much for the update and happy holidays to you.

INGLIS: Thanks, Guy. Great to be with you.

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