I don’t think that Joe Barton said anything that Republicans weren’t thinking. Remember Rand Paul (said the president was wrong for calling out BP) and John Boehner’s remark from last week? He said that the taxpayers should shoulder some of the burden for the clean-up on the gulf. Republicans don’t believe in punishing business for any reason.
According to OpenSecrets, Joe Burton received $162,000 from Electric Utilities and over $100, 000 from Oil and Gas (see chart below) during the 2009-2010 campaign season.
|Oil & Gas||$100,470||$24,470||$76,000|
If you are taking money from a lobby, you should be open about it like Representative Burton.
“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.” Talking directly to Hayward, Barton added, “I apologize. 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.”
Democrats have been desperate to paint Republicans as siding with BP during this crisis. Barton just made that task much easier, with remarks that may prove to be the most politically important apology in recent memory.
Incessant Republican criticism of the White House is one thing; a leading Republican lawmaker issuing a public apology to BP is another.
I just never thought I’d see the day when a leading Republican publicly groveled to a foreign CEO, who just happens to be leading a company responsible for a devastating oil spill disaster. It was just a stunning display. That the right-wing Texan has taken in over $1.4 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over his career makes his apology that much more unseemly.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs felt compelled to issue a statement: “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.”