BP Could Mean “Bought Politician”
Texas Republican and House Representative Joe Barton apologized to British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward as a way of protesting the twenty billion dollar relief fund the company agreed to finance under political pressure by the White House in order to compensate the victims of the oil that continues to spew into the gulf from the well damaged by the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Mr. Hayward was sitting front and center at the witness table for another round of high profile reprimands from Washington politicians.
With financial contributions totaling more than one-point-four million dollars since 1990, Mr. Barton is the House’s top recipient of oil industry campaign offerings. Mr. Barton is paid handsomely to be a friend of big oil and he was more than happy to come to BP’s defense. After the apology, Mr. Barton went on to say that he did not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something wrong it is then subject to some sort of political pressure that is little more than a shakedown. British Petroleum with its history of cutting corners and risking the safety of the public and the environment for the sake of bigger profits is the poor victim and the White House with its black Democratic President trying to look like it wants to do what’s best for the public is the nasty tyrant.
I seriously doubt if the majority of the public sees things that way. Right now there’s a lot of anger against British Petroleum. Anything wearing the company’s green and yellow logo is subject to be vandalized these days. People are protesting and picketing in front of BP branded gas stations not realizing that the business isn’t actually owned by the giant oil company but is actually a mom and pop shop simply trying to earn a living. People are so incensed at BP that these gas stations are now being penalized for their unfortunate decision to market themselves with a BP affiliation. There aren’t very many people with much sympathy for anything BP.
Mr. Barton is cut from a totally different cloth. None of his constituents have been harmed by anything BP has done. That, and BP has paid him very well. Like a good little whore, Mr. Barton went to bat for his pimp. Political conservative have a well earned reputation for protecting the interest of big corporations. Mr. Barton simply kicked that sentiment into high gear with his apology to Mr. Hayward and the rest of BP on behalf of the American people.
But not all Republicans were onboard with Mr. Barton. By apologizing to BP, Mr. Barton has put the Republican Party at another disadvantage. Rumor has it that the GOP leadership demanded that Mr. Barton apologize for his apology or have the congressman stripped of his seniority as next in line to chair the oh so important Energy and Commerce Committee where big oil could really get payback for their investment in the Representative. Democrats are more than happy to tie the Republicans to the oil industry in the middle of this crisis in the middle of this midterm election year. It wasn’t enough that members of the GOP continue to insist that the spewing well was some kind of natural environmental disaster. That pipe spewing all that crude happened naturally without any human intervention. Mr. Barton simply added fuel to the fire and gave the Democrats the best political talking points until Election Day later this year.
Smarting from his trip to the woodshed, Mr. Barton was back with a half-assed apology for his apology. Mr. Barton wanted to set the record straight and wanted to be perfectly clear that he thought BP was responsible for this accident. He went on to say that if anything he said earlier that morning had been misconstrued, he wanted to apologize for that misconstruction.
Not quite the contrite statement GOP leadership was looking for, Mr. Barton then issued another statement. He apologized for using the term “shakedown” with regard to the actions by the White House and retracted his apology to BP. He went on to say that he regretted his statement implying that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident.
But don’t feel bad about Mr. Barton. Radical right tea partiers will embrace him with open arms and he’ll be the next darling of their take America back campaign. Anybody with the cojones to make outrageous statements about the Obama administration always seems to do well with this group. It wouldn’t matter if Mr. Barton is greasier than one of those pelicans soaked in oil along the gulf shore and just as clueless. It seems that’s just how some people like their politicians.
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