Friday, June 18, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet the GOBP

Before BP CEO Tony Hayward heads back to England to “get back his life” he ought to send Texas Representative Joe Barton a huge thank you card and a dozen long-stemmed roses. How bad to do have to be to actually make the head of BP look even remotely human? We’ll let the Texas Congressman’s words speak for themselves.

“I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is it 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, with 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.

“Participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that is unprecedented in our nation's history, that has no legal standing, and which sets, I think, a terrible precedent for the future.

“I’m only speaking for myself; I do not speak for anybody else. But I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where anytime a citizen or corporation does something that is legitimately wrong it’s subject to some sort of political pressure that amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”

Yep, that bad. Are you listening Democrats? Texas Representative Joe Barton just handed you, on a sliver platter, your slogan for this fall’s mid-term campaign: The GOP and BP: Perfect Together!

So stupid was Barton’s brain fart that House Minority Leader John Boehner called Barton into his office for a little chat. I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall in that room. Suffice to say Barton wasted no time in issuing an apology for his apology.  Boehner isn't exactly immune to his own missteps. Last week he suggested that the government should help pitch in for the cleanup of the spill. Oops. Guess how long it took Boehner to issue his apology?

Yes, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could end up being the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history, but thanks to the Republicans’ inability to keep their mouths shut and hence reveal their true colors, it could end up being the silver lining in the storm cloud currently hanging over the Democrats’ heads.

“Drill Baby Drill?” “I Apologize?” Each day that goes by the GOBP can’t resist its primal urges to bend over backwards to defend an industry that has raked in hundreds of billions in revenue and subjected this nation to a dependence that would make a heroine addict blush. The worst of these corporations stands accused of negligence that goes above and beyond anything in history. Not even the Titanic disaster approaches their malfeasance. And yet the Right has gone to the mat not only in defense of it, but has accused anyone who is intent on holding it accountable guilty of a shakedown or an enemy of private industry.

In their obvious contempt for this president the Republicans have blinded themselves to reason and in the process missed a golden opportunity to grab hold of a populist issue that is resonating with the electorate. Outrage at the conduct of BP is so intense that the public is waiting for someone – anyone – to show some spunk and stand up to the transgressors.

President Obama’s performance the other night left many wondering whether Democrats could step in and answer the call. After Joe Barton’s latest faux pas, the ball, once more, has been fumbled back to them. What they do with it is completely up to them.

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