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June 17, 2010

You've Got To Be Kidding: Texas Congressman Apologizes To BP For Administration's Actions UPDATE: GOP Not Happy With Barton

Look, I get that the Obama administration is pulling off a cheap shakedown on BP with the $20 Billion 'escrow' fund. The propriety of that is certainly open to debate and attack but actually apologizing to the CEO of the company responsible for a disaster of this magnitude? That takes a special kind of cluelessness.

Behold, Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas.

I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton said. "I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown."

He complained that "the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, [is] participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got no legal standing, and which sets, I think, a terrible precedent for the future."

"I apologize," Barton added. "I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is -- again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize."

"I'm speaking now totally for myself," he noted. "I'm not speaking for the Republican Party."

Yeah, let's make that last bit clear. Very clear.

Naturally, the White House didn't let this crisis gift go to waste.

What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a ‘tragedy’, but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments.

Again, there's plenty to attack in the Obama approach but calling it a 'tragedy' and apologizing for it is not the way to do it. It's stupid and bad politics.

You want to save off shore drilling and stop the spread of government thuggery? Great, do it by making the other side the bad guys. Shape the narrative to your advantage (prosperity, jobs, cheaper energy), don't reflexively defend the indefensible simply because Obama is on the other side. Barton could have been tough on BP and Obama but instead chose this tactic. It's mindless and self defeating.

UPDATE: Barton is not the most popular guy in the GOP cloakroom at the moment. But hey, they are just a bunch of RINOs.

Boehner disagrees
with Barton.


digg this
posted by DrewM. at 12:23 PM

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