Republican Barton Shoots GOP in the foot

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dreamer20, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. dreamer20

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    http://www.lpsg.org/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=42

    During a congressional hearing this morning, Barton suggested that BP's $20 billion contribution to an escrow fund for damages from the oil spill came after a White House "shakedown," and he apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the so-called "shakedown." He was referring to BP's agreement, at the urging of the White House, to make the contribution to an independently-run fund.

    Biden today called Barton's remarks "astounding" and "outrageous." The White House's interest in seeing BP contribute to an escrow fund was not a "shakedown," the vice president said. "It's insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused."


    After coming under intense criticism for his remarks Barton apologized for his apology to BP and use of the term "shakedown". And other Republicans in Congress called for him to step down from his position as top Republican in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Should Barton heed their call and step down from his position?
     
  2. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    Why not entitle this as Barton shoots Barton in the foot? You can't blame a whole party for one person. It would be no more right to blame the other party for what one idiot said or did.
    Although, I seriously doubt the government would have been able to leverage such a deal from a large USA oil company. BP just doesn't have enough members of congress in it's pocket.
     
  3. B_talltpaguy

    B_talltpaguy New Member

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    Barton said something that we have all heard repeated over and over in different ways by numerous people in that ideologically bankrupted party. Why would anyone write off his rhetoric to a single 'bad apple', when it is clearly the ideology of the whole bunch that is poisoned?

    What about when several other Republicans also voiced similar rhetoric as what Rep Barton said?

    What about when John Boehner suggested a couple of weeks ago that the US taxpayers should bailout BP for much of the cost of cleanup and recovery??

    No... Congressman Barton was NOT speaking just for himself. He's merely the one in his party who screwed up and let the truth slip out about how Republicans view the relationship between corporations and the taxpayers. Clearly, Republicans believe that taxpayers exist to serve corporations, not vice versa.
     
  4. maxcok

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    I personally found his comments outrageous - he not only showed extreme bias, but appalling insensitivity to Gulf residents, which include residents of his own state. However, he is free to express his views as a member of the committee and as an American. Give these Corporatists more rope, I say, let them spout whatever idiotic crap they want, and let the people see just how extremely out of touch they are. The Republicans should remove him from his status as ranking member, which would be essentially a formality, but I doubt they'll do that for fear of alienating the Teabagging fringe. Politically astute members of his own party have swiftly denounced his remarks, which included astonishingly an apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward:
    "I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) during a hearing on Thursday morning with BP's CEO Tony Hayward. "I think it is a tragedy in 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 . . . what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation's future. I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize," . . . "I do not want to live in a county where anytime a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, [it is] subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So, I apologize." -- Joe Barton
    The response from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was perfect:
    "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," said Gibbs. "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." -- Robert Gibbs.

    For the full story, video, crazy quotes from other Repubs and lots of reactions:


    It should be noted that Barton's biggest contributors since entering Congress come from the oil and gas industry. He is also the number one recipent of oil and gas industry campaign funds in Congress. His biggest contributor is Anadarko, a 25% investor in the BP drilling disaster:

    "Individuals or PACs associated with the oil and gas industry as a whole have been Barton's biggest patron since he entered Congress, donating more than $1,448,380 since the 1990 election cycle. The figure puts him at No. 1 among all House members for donations from the industry, fifth among members of Congress and fourth among active members of Congress."

    He's not alone in his comments. The Republican Study Committee with 114 House members, two thirds of the chamber, called the creation of the escrow account "a Chicago style shakedown".


    Rachel Maddow did a great piece on this last night:



     
    #4 maxcok, Jun 18, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  5. Joll

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    It did kinda show a difference between Democrat values, and the importance of big business to the Republicans - possibly the same kind of difference that exists between our Labour and Conservative parties?

    I did wonder tho, if perhaps he was the only person to think it inappropriate to haul a single person over the coals in a 6 hour+ grilling for something that several different parties are responsible for, to varying degrees?

    Also, it seemed like a horrific, witch-hunt style approach, lynching someone whose company has already accepted responsibility for the spill, and is already doing everything they can, not just to clean-up - but also in setting aside the requested $20bn into the escrow account.
     
  6. ColoradoGuy

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    You pose an interesting question. Personally, I think he disqualified his remarks enough (I paraphrase: "not my party's view... not the House view...") that he should be able to make them without stepping down. He had the floor and he had the right to speak his mind. However, just because you can doesn't mean you always should.

    Exposing corporate fund-raising for PACs and Congress is old news and it should come as no surprise that an elected official from an oil-rich state has a lot of so-called big oil contributors. I'm sure no law was broken in how those funds were obtained even if loopholes may have been exercised to exhaustion. However, the problem with this type of 'gotcha!' revelation is that as soon as anyone links corporate fund-raising to any one particular congressman, you should wait for the other shoe to drop with examples of equal or more egregious fund-raising efforts from the other party. This sort of tit-for-tat is tired and tiresome, but you know... lowest common denominator and all that.

    Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to be Tony Hayward yesterday and I suppose it's possible (this is a bit of a reach) that Congressman Barton was merely trying to soften the blows for the 7-hour mauling that was about to begin.The problem with this thinking is that it would characterize Mr. Barton as an apologist for Big Business and I doubt he'd want to come off that transparently biased since the Texas coast and the Texas economy are also affected by the spill to one degree or another.

    Perhaps it's my cynicism, but I suspect Mr. Barton was attempting to court the anti-big government / anti-Obama camps by giving them what he might have thought would be a priceless sound bite for countless replays on talk radio and hosted "infotainment" shows. If my suspicion is correct, Mr. Barton succeeded: he's getting the replays, alright. Unfortunately, he failed miserably to achieve the desired outcome and instead, comes off looking ill-informed, partisan, and defeat-able.

    Ironically, out of all the issues that Mr. Barton could tell his constituents about on his web page (and he lists nine "big categories"), his website's discussion of energy policy doesn't talk at all about the oil spill in the Gulf. Instead, we're offered this:
    We should discuss environmentally-safe ways to harness our nation’s reserves on federal lands, offshore, in the West, and in Alaska. In some cases, producers have been unable to employ more efficient, less costly and safe modern drilling technologies due to unnecessary regulations.
    I would have thought someone in his office would have bothered to update that particular web page before he decided to deliver his Hearing remarks yesterday.
     
  7. Trinity

    Trinity New Member

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    What he said.
     
  8. houtx48

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    "You can't blame a whole party for one person." Sure you can does the name Dumbass W. Bush ring any bells? He almost single handedly sunk the GOP.
     
  9. houtx48

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    Come to think of it If Bushy was handling this situation he would have Haliburton doing the cleanup and having the taxpayers paying BP for every barrel of oil and every cubic foot of gas lost. Maybe BP would cap what they took from the government at 20 billion and the goverment could pay for the cleanup.
     
  10. dreamer20

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    I don't know if Joe Barton thought Hayward's subsequent questioning inappropriate as his comments were made before the hearing commenced and weren't about that issue.

    BTW:The Congressman has a record of accepting big contributions from the oil industry, having raked in $1.4 million from the industry since 1989 and is one of the top ten all-time biggest recipients of BP money in the House of Representatives, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.



    Unlike you, I believe the Obama administration could have gotten a large U.S. oil company, similarly affected, to see the wisdom of making a $20 billion contribution, as such an action would be viewed as a gesture of good faith towards reconciliation and get the company good publicity.

    Post Obama's inauguration the GOP's recurrent, senseless, partisan obstruction of legislation introduced by Democrats caused persons favoring progress to label the GOP the "Party of No". E.g. Republicans, en mass, obstructed health care reform. When health care reform's more numerous Democrat proponents achieved some reform in March 2010, the Party of No spitefully vowed to not cooperate with Democrats for the rest of the year:

    McCain: Don't expect GOP cooperation on legislation for the rest of this year - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

    Hell no we can't! - Healthcare Reform | Obama Health Care Plan - Salon.com

    Furthermore, even in the face of this dreadful oil disaster, Barton and his ilk, where Barton is in the pocket of big oil companies, denounced Obama regarding the $20 billion compensation fund and presented opposition to proponents of improved safety standards, stricter regulations and an increased legal liability cap on oil companies.

    Thus GOP representatives who currently believe a blind eye should be turned toward big businesses instead of subjecting them to government oversight, regulations and punishment for their misdeeds, and continue on this course of non cooperation instead of working hard to address the nation's issues, should not be surprised when they are voted out of office in November.
     
  11. midlifebear

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    Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, portly and flush with the most political donations from oil companies rolls over on his chubby back and hopes the big mean oil execs don't kick him for not being able to keep the spin going in the right direction for Big Oil. The man is a major twit. I'm waiting to hear how his little smurf counter part from Alabama, Senator Sessions, weighs in on being as bombastically dumb.

    Yes, it is truly remarkable that the current GOP members of the House and Senate are so self-righteous about how "right" (as in correct about everything) they seem to think they are. But somehow I have hope that the truly mentally ill (Michele Bachman?) will be dethroned.

    Currently, we've got a long-ridiculed previous member of the Nevada legislature (Angle) who still claims floridated water is a communist plot and that making alcoholic beverages illegal is fundamental goal for the making of a better 'Mericuh. I'm certain she'd roll over for any and all Big Oil money that may be funneled to her campaign to unseat Harry Reid. It seems the current flock of GOP candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Dems are just as looney.

    There's a good chance we won't see Joe Barton run again. And if he does, there's an even better chance he won't win.
     
    #11 midlifebear, Jun 18, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  12. Bbucko

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    So you think this might be something like a Joe "You lie!" Wilson thing?

    Honestly, the whole thing reeks of a Limbaugh-fed talking point. Color me not surprised.

    His website is still completely mute regarding this entire affair, FWIW.

    Barton rallied to his constituency, which is obviously not the people from Texas who've voted him into power. The chances of his being reelected are directly tied to the extent to which voters in Texas suffer from such Obama Derangement Syndrome that they'll vote against their own benefit: we'll see.
     
  13. Bbucko

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    Another point of interest is John Boehner's reaction to Barton's "shakedown" rhetoric:

    Interesting...
     
  14. Trinity

    Trinity New Member

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    Obama and his administration gave BP an exclusion to a federal reg for that rig that exploded and allowed them to keep drilling:

     
  15. B_talltpaguy

    B_talltpaguy New Member

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    He must have seen the polls where Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of holding BP financially accountable for what they have done, rather than bailing them out with taxpayer dollars, as Boehner had suggested the US govt do a couple of weeks ago.
     
  16. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    As someone who lives on the gulf coast, we are constantly at risk of oil washing up on the beach from rigs, ships dumping bilge waste, and leaks from other nations bordering the gulf. It is something we just have to fight as it comes to us.
    The current bashing of BP was done to take the heat off the administration. The public tends to want the federal government to instantaneously intervene and fix things. To do so, would not only violate the rights of the states guaranteed them by the Constitution but it would require the massive pig to move swiftly. It just doesn't happen. The states must be the first ones to take action, and wait for the fat ass pig to get up and move. When New Orleans finally got what it had been predicted to receive for decades, people immediately blammed the president. When this rig nightmare began, people again blamed the president. In neither case was the federal government to blame.
    Blaming a whole party for what a few members state is just foolishness. It shows the closed mindedness of the person placing blame. It is no more appropriate to blame the republicans because of Barton than it is to blame the whole group of democrats for the few that want the government to seize all wealth, and turn the nation into a communist state.
    If you listened to all of the president's speech, you would have heard him once again state the goal is to have the nation conserve more energy. Stopping offshore drilling is part of that plan. The reason the enormous fund was demanded was to compensate people who were idled because of the executive order shutting down the deep well offshore drilling. It was to take all heat off the government for its' actions.
    If you follow the news closely, there is currently discussion among members of the government to place a heavy tax on coal burning power plants. Being that it is one of the main fuels used to generate power in the United States, it will amount to an enormous energy tax upon the public. The goal is to ultimately force us to conserve energy whether we want too or not.
    If you don't believe it, get ready for 2012 when we are going to be forced to use mercury filled compact florescent light bulbs. To save on energy, the government is willing to polute the land, and water with mercury.
     
  17. dreamer20

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    I understand that M.M.S. inspectors were supposed to inspect the rig on a monthly basis, but they became lax in their duties as stated in this article:

    Oil rig missed inspections, records show - Los Angeles Times

    "It appears that the Deepwater Horizon experienced dangerous gas 'kicks' before the April 20 disaster," said David Pettit, a senior attorney and drilling expert for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who reviewed the inspection reports Friday. "It is hard to understand why MMS did not learn about this potentially deadly problem" before the explosion.

    Despite federal regulations mandating that inspections be done monthly, the rig operation was only inspected three times over the first four months of this year; nine times in 2009 and six times in 2008. Officials at the Interior Department, which houses MMS, say rigs can miss inspections because they're on the move or because of weather conditions."


    When it comes to the top 100 ranking of wealthy companies that donate monies to politicians: with a specific focus on the oil industry:

    Chevron ranks 73rd with 75% of its donations going to Republicans & 24% to Democrats,
    Exxon Mobil ranks 76th with 85% of its donations going to Republicans and 14 % to Democrats
    BP didn't make the top 100. It is ranked 111th and 70% of its donations went to Republicans and 29% to Democrats.

    Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP

    I don't mind if any politician is funded by the oil industry. But no such politician should act as stupidly as Barton did, as the newly created fund he foolishly denounced was needed to help the many Americans affected by the oil spill, which would include persons who hailed from his constituency of Texas.
     
  18. Trinity

    Trinity New Member

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    The Obama Administration gave a catagorical exclusion to a federal regulation for BP. They did not fail to inspect due to "weather conditions." As previously stated, the Obama Administration can point to nothing that would have kept them from providing proper regulatory oversight. But thanks for pointing out that the Administration also failed to inspect the rig and that fact is documented.

    Countercurrents.org/ WSWS.org

    And Obama is STILL the biggest recipient of BP Cash according to the Center for Responsive Politics. - Politico

    We will have to see if Barton was stupid. So far, the Obama Administration has not handled anything correctly in this disaster. Everybody is on the side of protecting those affected by the oil spill but was "shaking down" BP and forcing their hand in the $20 Billion fund the right thing to do? That remains to be seen.

    Embattled BP asks 7 banks for $1 billion each
    Reuters
     
  19. dreamer20

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    ^^Could you please provide links to verify your above highlighted statements hootie.

    As far as I know the executive order only stops offshore drilling in new areas until further notice and the BP fund is to compensate persons affected by environmental damage caused by the oil spill.

    White House Puts New Offshore Drilling On Hold After BP Disaster | FDL News Desk
     
  20. Trinity

    Trinity New Member

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    You're both right.

    The Hill.com

    Offshore Drilling Moratorium: Your 4 Biggest Questions Answered

     
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