fresh voices from the front lines of change







Andrew Reinbach is right. Deservedly or not, the political gods continue to smile on the Democrats, gifting them with an opposition so predictable and caricaturized — from punishing the unemployed, to defending Wall Street — as to be right out of central casting. Now, the GOP has morphed into the party of BP. Except that after Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP, they’re worried about being typecast.

David Broder says that Barton’s comments only "highlight the GOP’s propensity for gaffes." But here’s the thing. Barton is only guilty of sticking too closely to the script. He only said was 114 of his fellow caucus members already agreed with.

First, let’s review.

BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and spilling oil into the Gulf at a rate of (we’re now told) XXX,000 barrells per day. Since then the stuff has destroyed livlihoods, devestated wildless and begun lapping at the shores of several states with Republican governors. The CEO complains that he wants his life back, and proceeds to claim it by going yachting while BP’s oil still poisons the Gulf. (BP, then, defends the yachting trip.)

Meanwhile, BP has been working overtime to cover-up as much of the damage as possible, while telling Congress as little as it can get away with — a big job, for a company as big as BP. Keeping pictures of dolphic carcasses and oil-covered animals is one thing, but the damage in the Gulf will not only destroy livelihoods, but may leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of Gulf residents.

It’s in this context, and during Tony Hayward’s abysmal appearance before a congressional subcommittee that Barton delivers his sincerest apologies to BP.

Does this remind anybody but me of the time that the vice president shot a guy in the face, only to have the guy apologize for aparently walking in front of the BP’s buckshot? Why didn’t Barton just say, "We are deeply sorry we had that Gulf down there (along with the industries and ecosystems it supports) getting in the way of your oil"?

Basically, as Robert Creamer put it, Barton merely said was (slightly) more sophisticated members of his party know better than to say in public.

The way the Republicans reacted to Congressman Joe Barton’s "apology" to BP at the hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee reminds you of what happens when a group of teenagers find out that a member of their "secret club" has revealed the secret handshake to the school principal.

Barton had the audacity to say out loud a secret that everyone else in the Republican fraternity knows very well — that the Republicans are a Party of, by and for Big Oil. From Cheney’s secret oil executive populated "Energy Taskforce" to "drill baby drill" — and for decades before – the oil industry has held the Republican puppet strings.

Except that a In fact, Barton was a day late. The Republican Study Committee beat him to it.



Digby points out, via a Sarah Palin tweet, that conservatives seem to be all of solutions since there’s nothing to invade.

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