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Boehner distances himself from Barton apology to BP

So how bad is it for the GOP that select Republicans are slamming the White House for successfully pressuring BP to create a $20 billion escrow fund, calling it variously a "slush fund" and a "shakedown"?

Bad enough for John Boehner to distance himself from those making such remarks -- in particular, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who apologized to BP:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke with a top Republican on Thursday who suggested BP had suffered a "shakedown" by being forced to set up a $20 billion fund to pay out damages.

Boehner distanced himself from remarks by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) lamenting the BP fund, with the GOP leader expressing thanks for the fund.

"They've agreed to put this $20 billion dollars in escrow," Boehner said during an appearance on Fox News. "I don't know what context Mr. Barton was making that remark, but, I'm glad BP has accepted responsibility for their actions."

In addition to Barton, House conservatives on the Republican Study Committee have derided the BP fund as a "Chicago-style shakedown." Michele Bachmann has ripped the escrow account as a "redistribution-of-wealth fund," though she later backtracked.

Dems are going to be aggressively making the case that Republicans have crossed a line with these comments into something resembling outright collusion with BP against the interests of the American people, since if BP isn't made to pay damages, the taxpayer could be on the hook.

Dems intend to paint GOPers as stooges for Big Oil heading into this fall's elections, and these latest attacks on the White House for successfully holding BP accountable obviously will be used to support this case. Republicans I've spoken to today offered mixed views on how bad this is for them, though Boehner's rapid distancing of himself from Barton is a pretty clear tell. This isn't going away.

UPDATE, 11:47 a.m.: The White House slams Barton and calls on lawmakers of "both parties" to condemn his remarks:

"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."

I hear more Dems will weigh in shortly.

UPDATE, 12:08 p.m.: From DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan:

"While the President has gotten BP to rightfully apologize to the American people for their reckless behavior, their inexcusable response and their insulting approach, Republicans are apologizing to BP. Republicans could not have this more backward, and it raises serious questions as to why they are on the side of BP and the oil companies instead of that of the American people. The only people Republicans and Joe Barton should be apologizing to are the people of the Gulf who they've turned their backs on to defend BP."

By Greg Sargent  |  June 17, 2010; 11:27 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers  
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Next: Huge majority still wants Obama tougher with BP

Comments

REPUBLICANS SIDING WITH BP IS EXCELLENT NEWS!! FOR REPUBLICANS!!!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington:
Not for McCain? ;-)

Posted by: Calvin_Jones_and_the_13th_Apostle | June 17, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

Rep. Barton (R-TX) introduced the Energy Policy Act of 2005, part of which required MMS to act on drilling appeals within 30 days. Which everyone knew was impossible and meant, in practice, that drilling permits were automatic. Maybe someone should ask him why he did that.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 17, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

One little thing, Greg.

When you mention Bachmann's comment and then that "she backtracked," why bother with that last detail?

If I slap you in the face and then say sorry, does that make it hurt less? Does it make it go away or make it less offensive?

I think it's perfectly fair to report the outrageous claim, when its consistent with someone's positions over time, and ignore the "backtrack." It's just asss-covering anyway, so let's not aid and abet.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 17, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

CSPAN is replaying Barton's remarks again.

How bizarre. I didn't hear it the first time. He's mentioned shake down at least 4-5 times and slush fund a couple.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"This isn't going away."

You can say that again.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@BGinCHI:

It's useful to know when people make statements that they retract them. That way you can legitimately ask them on the next statement "Will you retract this statement too?"

Posted by: rpixley220 | June 17, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, enough of the "both parties" garbage. Call out Republicans.

Posted by: eganfoote | June 17, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

So what do you expect from the gop? Reason is not of any use to their tribal co host.

Posted by: moemongo | June 17, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

The GOP always finds a way to self-destruct.

Posted by: Rokker | June 17, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm relieved to hear Rep. Barton make the claim that the escrow fund amounts to a "shakedown" of BP. It confirms my view of Republicans as puppets of corporate interests. Their born again concern for the environment was starting to alarm me - it wasn't normal.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | June 17, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@BGinCHI

I have to disagree with the idea of not mentioning the backtracking. There are many times that someone can mispeak or say something while caught up in the moment. Granted, many Republicans just say outragous and stupid things they have to walk back later, but that's no reason for the press to ignore their walkbacks.

In fact, it's important to show that they walked it back. This is how people know that they didn't mean it, and that it crossed a line.

I do, however, think that DEMOCRATS should ignore the walkback. They shouldn't get civility credits for a half-hearted walkback after saying something utterly offensive...this is politics. Just keep attacking them for it, and constantly make them keep bringing up the walkback. Everytime they do, it just makes their flip flop even more obvious, gets other GOPers to have to repudiate their own.

Politically, Dems should keep the pressure on the original comments until it's made perfectly clear that the original comments were totally out of line and apologized for. The press should cover both the original comments and the walkback more equally than they do now.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 17, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

EVERY Republican who appears on the teevee for the next 72 hours should be asked whether they agree with Barton's statement.

Posted by: bmcchgo | June 17, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

BBQ, I think we're in agreement on this.

But seriously, don't you think the "backtrack" is meant to provide cover? I don't buy that in this case Bachmann "misspoke." She MEANT to put a meme out there and the cover allows her to distance herself from that discursive tag.

Just look at Palin's "why didn't we ask the Euros for help" idea. It's got so many problems, but there's almost NO analysis of the content.

The GOP, via Fox, are getting away with MASSIVE misinformation here.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 17, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Barton is just the most recent Republican to act out their extreme philosophy of profit and power above all else. Doing the right thing is somehow alien and never contemplated. Except perhaps when all else fails.

Posted by: trailcrawler | June 17, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

There doesn't seem to be a political upside to Barton's statement. BP can pay that $20 billion with the change in its living room sofa.

Dems should get a college student with one of those Flip video cameras to go up to GOP lawmakers and ask if they fully support the Barton Agenda.

Posted by: dkp01 | June 17, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

In an attempt to remain civil, I will only say that Barton and the republicans who agree with him (backtracking or not) sound deranged.

Posted by: cfw0905 | June 17, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Some of the GOP are "out in front" about who they work for: the tax-cheating crony corporate monopolists. They sure don't work for the American people. They seem to think voters just love Big Oil's jackboot on their necks. Hey a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives lot on oil wars, and the biggest ecological disaster in history is not nearly as important as their campaign contributions from their corporate masters.

Posted by: Jihm | June 17, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@bmcchgo

"EVERY Republican who appears on the teevee for the next 72 hours should be asked whether they agree with Barton's statement."

Agreed. It won't happen.

@BGinCHI

Oh, the backtrack is TOTALLY to provide cover. It's definately about getting the meme out there. That's why the PRESS should cover the backtrack with as much energy (actually more) as the original statement. The backtrack should be followed with close scrutiny about WHY it was made and whether they actually do repudiate what they said.

Dems should keep pounding EVERY Republican about the comments. As bmcchgo said, every Republican should be asked if they agree with this statement...and Dems should be the ones pounding them in the press until they get asked.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 17, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Democrats: Why are you not running with this;

Republicans have long bashed Europe, and said that they do not want the USA to be anything like it.

Now we have those same Republicans apologizing to a European Company, because President Obama insisted the pony up for the massive damages they are doing to the Gulf Coast.

In addition;

We have the last Republican nominee for Vice President, criticizing President Obama for not calling in the Europeans, to solve the Gulf Oil Spill disasters, since Europe is far ahead of the USA, when it comes to handling such engineering challenges.

In A Nutshell:

Republicans Hate Europe, do not want to be like them, but now want them called in to rescue us.


Of course, Grizzly Palin might just be asking for us to call in a little Dutch Boy, to block the oil spill with his finger.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 17, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Time for the Dems to get some Brass Balls.

So far all the weight has been on President Obama.

Time for the rest of the Dem party to show up.

Posted by: godwithfire55 | June 17, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Every day brings some new GOP howler, and new wonderment at where the brains of the Republican party are hiding. It is members like Rep. Barton who kill any semblance of intelligence left in the party where dumb seems to be the new smart.

Posted by: 85edwardearthlinknet | June 17, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Barton's covering his old wrinkled white posterior here. He's as complicit in this mess as anyone at BP. What a traitor he is to the people of the Gulf. But on the other hand, hearty thanks to Rep. Barton for clearly showing us what most Republicans are thinking, but are too politically correct to actually say.

Posted by: borntorun45 | June 17, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Unitary executive.

Separation of powers.

Due process.

Just a few matters that no longer matter to Democrats. Only for international terrorists.

Just tell like it is: They made BP an offer it couldn't refuse.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

qb, I have no idea what you just said but it sounds neat!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

When will liberals have the courage to address the admin's false claim that the experts they consulted supported the moratorium when the strongly opposes it? I raises it earlier. Seems timely now that Obama extorted a separate payment of 100 million for the harm Obama himself caused.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

quarterback1: it was voluntary. BP had no obligation to do this, they made a business calculation. nothing leftist about it.

this is delicious. Republicans in the Gulf States not only don't think it's an outrageous shakedown, they are claiming that Obama stole the idea from them!!!!

Bill McCollum (FL AG running for Gov) and Sen. Lemieux both tripped over each other insisting that they demanded the escrow first and that Obama just borrowed their idea. Someone on the Republican side needs to compare notes before opening their mouths.

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 17, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Letter To Joe Barton(R)

Dear Congressman Barton,

Thank you for defending BP, and I hope that I will also soon receive a similar apology from you.

I remain;

Yours Disastrously,

Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 17, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

All, new poll finds that even with the escrow fund, huge majority STILL wants Obama to get tougher with BP:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/huge_majority_still_wants_obam.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 17, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Dearest BP, I'm so sorry that you're having to pay that $20 billion for the shakedown 'compensation fund.' We good oil state Republicans know that BP is GOOD, and that all those small people on the gulf coast are thieves who are just blowing up that tiny bit of oil in the gulf into a disaster to try to steal your profits, and keep you from paying that $17 Billion in quarterly dividends that you proposed to give to your hard-working shareholders! Don't worry, I and my fellow Republicans are hard at work to make sure that you can slip away and hire the best lawyers to tie up in court their thieving claims for twenty or thirty years. Hopefully most of them will die before their cases are resolved, and you can get back to posting record profits in no time. :-) XXOO Joe Barton P.S.--You can make your next campaign contribution anytime--it's going to be a GREAT year for the GOP!

Posted by: lp4819 | June 17, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Think, Mike. It might come to you.

Btw, could anyone be a clumsier clown than waxman? Could it be any more obvious that it no answers to his dumb questions would have changed his grandstanding script? Perhaps if Haywood killed himself waxman would be satisfied.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"An Interior Department spokeswoman agreed that the experts had not given their blessing for a moratorium, and said the department did not mean to leave the impression they had. In fact, she said, the experts were merely asked to review 22 safety recommendations in the report.

"We didn't mean to imply that they also agreed with the moratorium on deepwater drilling," the spokeswoman, Kendra Barkoff, said. "We acknowledge that they were not asked to review or comment on the proposed moratorium and that they peer-reviewed the report on a technical basis. The moratorium on deepwater drilling is based on the need for a comprehensive review of safety in deepwater operations in light of the BP oil spill."

That was back on June 6th.

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/experts_seek_to_clarify_their.html

There, glad we could clear that one up qb.

Next...

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Sure, qb, I'll try my best.

"Unitary executive.

Separation of powers.

Due process. "

Not sure how only international terrorists abide by these laws. Can you site an example?

and...

"Just tell like it is: They made BP an offer it couldn't refuse. "

You mean they did an authentic Chicago-style shake down of BP? A real one?

How'd I do?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If, as Michele Bachmann says, setting up an escrow account to compensate victims of the oil spill is a redistribution of wealth ploy, then I say, let's do it!

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | June 17, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, if BP took the U.S. Govn't to court, would the GOP carry water for them?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 17, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Keeping lawyers hands out of the till is great news! Now, if we can keep the Governments paws out of it, it may get to where it needs to go.

Obama and company have not done well with this thing, except for this.

Posted by: primegrop | June 17, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I would rather have a "Chicago style shakedown", than a "Texas Rollover", to big oil, if the result is 20 Billion for the Gulf coast residents and an apology from BP.

Posted by: challuch | June 17, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

the right wingers have lost their collective minds.

Posted by: calif-joe | June 17, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It is a shakedown, but who freaking cares! BP could have said no, they didn't. To bad so sad.

Posted by: obrier2 | June 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Can we have another shot out having the south break off into its own "confederacy"?

With miscreants like Barton, Inhofe, and a whole host of others walking around, one can only be embarassed by sharing nationalties.......

Posted by: raymond1313 | June 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Time for the Dems to get some Brass Balls.

So far all the weight has been on President Obama.

Time for the rest of the Dem party to show up.

Posted by: godwithfire55

________________________________________

Well said, let's get behind the President and get this done. Show all Americans that actions are what count and not a just lot of tough talk.

Posted by: challuch | June 17, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Last night on CNN I viewed a video clip of Bachmann and a CNN reporter, and Bachmann was questioning Obama on his request for the $20B damage fund. She implied it is an abuse of presidential power. Her claim is that the government should not be telling business what to do. She was very clear on her position. She may be backing down now, but only because people noticed and were appalled with her comments. Absolutely yes, these types of comments should be mentioned and reported. It exposes people for who they are.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | June 17, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Think, Mike. It might come to you.

Btw, could anyone be a clumsier clown than waxman? Could it be any more obvious that it no answers to his dumb questions would have changed his grandstanding script? Perhaps if Haywood killed himself waxman would be satisfied.
----------

Of course BP should be allowed to slide and congress should ignore their little faux pas. What's the big deal if countless small businesses and an entire eco system get trashed? It's not like their as important as a big oil company. Now if the President has sex in the Oval Office, THAT is important and Republicans should spend millions of tax payer dollars and force the President of the United States to divert his attention from running the country towards defending himself against an issue that effects himself, his family, the girl he had sex with, and no one else. I'm glad we can count on Republicans to keep the country focussed on the things that really matter (like BJs from pleasantly plump interns).

Posted by: grantmh | June 17, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

A petroleum company creates an environmental disaster of epic dimensions by rushing work on an oil rig operation and bypassing safety regulations.

The result is dead and dying marine life for miles and miles, ruined beaches that many have come to love and cherish, fishing and shrimping businesses destroyed with many jobs lost and illness and toxic poisoning of workers who try to remove the mess.

And a REPUBLICAN congressman is foolish and brazen to the point that he apologizes to the CEO of the company that created all this misery, trying to make a ham-fisted, dumb bunny political argument about a "shakedown".

This is why Karl Rove was delusional when he thought he could create a permanent Republican majority.

Posted by: marks1940 | June 17, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are lucky that Barton and Bachmann said what they said in June and not September. It'll be interesting to see how long Dems can keep this storyline fresh. They might get assists from Rand Paul and Sharron Angle

Posted by: GoneFromTexas | June 17, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

If an Oil company or workers Job Results in Destroying our Land and Water then you should NOT have your Uninsured butt Drilling in our Waters. Oil Drillers Must Get 3rd Party Insurance to Drill in USA Waters!!!

Homeowners and Car owners get Insurance and so should Oil Drillers. Dangerous Activity that Risks Lives and Hundreds of Billions worth of USA Resources should be Insured.

Get Insurance and Invest in Safety Preparation and Prevention Jobs, in Maintenance and Inspection, Safety Equipment and Oil Cleanup, USA made Oil Platforms and USA Carbon Fiber Drilling Pipelines. There are Thousands of Jobs needed and available now for Clean Up operations, making Sand Sifter machines, Laying Boom, Hay, Smart Sponges, manning Barges, Pumps and Separators and other Oil Cleanup Technologies.

Clean it up, Create Jobs, and Get 3rd Party Insurance.

Posted by: liveride | June 17, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Barton expressed his loyalty spontaneously. His outburst was a glaring example of a Republican politician reaffirming his subservience to a big oil.

Posted by: julianzs | June 17, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

As a military veteran who has served in the Middle East I am deeply offended by Texas Republican Joe Barton’s Complaint about Obama requiring BP set aside $20 Billion for the People and Businesses of the Gulf Coast. His Ignorance will not advance stopping or cleaning up the spill, but it would encourage Oil Companies to keep Drilling without 3rd Party Insurance and Relief Wells knowing they have him watching their Back instead of Protecting the American People.

The Fight for the Victims is not over:

Remove BP from Cleanup Operation and hire Private Companies to do it and Bill all Expenses to BP.

1. Require all Oil Companies Proof of Insurance to Drill in USA Waters. Oil Companies must get insurance to prove their Drilling Safety preparation. Let Private 3rd Party Insurance Companies bring the power of Private Industry to help insure safe operations.

2. Bring in Oil Supertankers to suck in the Oil and Post Smaller Skimmer Boats closer to the Shore to get out of their way. Supertankers sit lower in the water than Skimmers. It worked in the Persian Gulf and it can work here!

3. Hire Barges to serve as Barrier Walls with Suction Pumps and Separators to Suck the Oil off the water and Dispose of it in Refineries along the coast.

4. Mobilize a Massive Manpower effort with Hazmat Suits and Training to lay Millions of Oil Absorbing Hay Bales and Smart Sponges which Absorb Oil while Repelling Water and Float for easy retrieval, Vacuums to suck up on shore Oil and Sand-Sifting machines, which are capable of cleaning long areas of beach in minutes rather than the hours it takes to do the work by hand.

5. Require 3rd Party Insurance and Secondary Relief Wells for all Current and Future Deep Sea Drilling.

Posted by: liveride | June 17, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"His outburst was a glaring example of a Republican politician reaffirming his subservience to a big oil. "

I agree.

It wasn't an accident, error, or gaffe.

It was the cold hard truth... that Republicans care more about the bottom line of the most profitable corporate industry in human history than they do about the PEOPLE of the United States of America.

It really is a stark admission.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 17, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

EVERY Republican who appears on the teevee for the next 72 hours should be asked whether they agree with Barton's statement.

Posted by: bmcchgo | June 17, 2010 12:10 PM
______________________________________
I understand the sentiment, but this is a fool's errand. Every Republican asked this question, even after 72 hours, will respond, "I haven't had a chance to hear/review/study the remarks of Mr. Barton, so to comment on them would be inappropriate at this time."

There. I should work on K Street. ;)

Posted by: schmuckatelli | June 17, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

As a Texas congressman, I wonder how much money he has received from the oil industry. I think this should be determined and they, if true, show his remarks to be selfserving and paid for by the oil industry.

Posted by: frederick2 | June 17, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

How DARE President obama get BP to set up a fund to pay their rightful claims for destroying a thousand miles of US coastline!!!!!! how DARE he say that BP should be held responsible!!!!!!!!!!! How DARE he demand that the oild soaked cash BP has extorted from it's customers over the years be used to pay for damages and people's ruined lives instead of going to stockholders and executive bonuses!!!!!!!!!!!

You go barton. See if you can't introduce new legislation to amend that 30 drilling permit process you pushed through in 2005, and shorten the permit process to 15 minutes.

Posted by: John1263 | June 17, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I suppose Michelle (let's investigate congress for unamerican activities) Bachman would prefer to let the taxpayers foot the bill so she can blame Obama for increasing the deficit, since she won't propose spending cuts or taxes to pay for it instead of BP.

or does she think we should just let the disaster unfold and let the free market clean it up?

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Not just for this incident, the Democrats need to make the case of Republican's over the top rhetoric generally and use this as example just how out of touch with mainstream America they are.

Posted by: soapm | June 17, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the GOP would prefer to have litigation to determine damages against BP. It would take 5 to 7 years for the cases to go through the court system. And, then the lawyers for the defendants would take 30% to 40% of the damages awards. It's the GOP concept of tort reform, I suppose.

Posted by: drlatham22 | June 17, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Joe Barton career contributions:

BY INDUSTRY

Oil & Gas = $1,448,380
Electric Utilities = $1,361,985

BY SECTOR

Energy & Natural Resources = $3,261,430

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00005656&type=I

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 17, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's a shake down... does anyone remember Exxon set up a billion dollar fund when their tanker leaked oil in Alaska?? It's a big deal for a company to step up and take responsibilty instead of first calling in the lawyers. BP should be applauded for it. Meanwhile you just know you won't see Obama stepping up and admit he made mistakes...

Posted by: sovine08 | June 17, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Mike, it isn't mysterious. Dems manufactured all sorts of outrage over supposed ultra vires and abusive use of executive power by Bush. Outrage over supposed disregard for laws constraing executive power as well as the independent judicial role in checking law enforcement. Liberals invented a whole distorted folklore about the unitary executive (which is an expression of separation of powers, not about the scope of executive power) to condemn what they viewed as unilateral executive action. Dems were mad for due process for terrorists.

Now that is all out the window. Dems now posture and make threats about Congress' holding BP accountable, even though that is precisely the type of power the Constitution separates from Congress. And we just saw the admin use whatever threats they used to extract $20.1 billion from BP to be turned over to a government appointee. All appear to agree this had no lawful basis.

Perhaps BP's ultimate liability would be that much. Perhaps not. What is remarkable to me is that the left is so comfortable with this complete disregard for the rule of law they so recently claimed was of paramount concern, because any means to the end is justified.

If it came out that they waterboarded Haywood, I expect dems would have no problem with it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

well know we know which party is looking out for taxpayers, don't we?

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 17, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It seems pretty easy to determine if it was a shakedown or not.

What was said by whom in the meeting?

If BP offered up $20B, then fine. If they were threatened into $20B then it was a shakedown.

Posted by: scott3 | June 17, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

And it is a shakedown. BP has pledged from the start of the spill to clean up every drop of oil. How much of BP's escrow fund of $20 billion will end up in the hands of administering bureaucrats who don't give a damn how the money is distributed?

Screw this government, from a third generation American.

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | June 17, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure the GOP would prefer to have litigation to determine damages against BP. It would take 5 to 7 years for the cases to go through the court system. And, then the lawyers for the defendants would take 30% to 40% of the damages awards. It's the GOP concept of tort reform, I suppose."

Actually, BP had a claims-payment system in place and was paying claims. I've seen to meaningfull suggestion claims weren't being paid already.

Nor have I seen any indication that the slush fund will preclude litigation.

There is a cost to this kind of lawless exercise of government power. We are behaving like a banana republic. It leads in the direction of a banana republic economy.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Joe Barton!

It's like a gift from heaven when a Republican actually speaks the truth about their beliefs and loyalties, viz, that the GOP are the goons of big business, and nothing more.

It reminds the "little people" out there who Republican pols really are, and wipes out all the pseudo-patriotic nonsense that is used to quell the seething masses.

I can almost hear the grinding of gears in Republican voters' brains when they are forced face-first into a clear view of what their leaders really stand for.

Posted by: info53 | June 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

It is highly entertaining to watch Republican Congressmen dance all over to distance themselves from Barton's apology. Barton had $1.5 million reasons to do that - BP bought and paid for him. Anybody surprised?

Posted by: withersb | June 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's a shake down... does anyone remember Exxon set up a billion dollar fund when their tanker leaked oil in Alaska?? It's a big deal for a company to step up and take responsibilty instead of first calling in the lawyers. BP should be applauded for it. Meanwhile you just know you won't see Obama stepping up and admit he made mistakes...
_____________________
up is down and down is up. Obama shakes down BP for 20 billion, and BP is supposed to get the credit for agreeing to it while Obama is to be blamed?

there is nothing un- or extra- constitutional about this - it was voluntary, and BP made a good business choice to agree to what Obama was demanding. It's shares are up on the news, by the way. You rightwingnuts can't even get your spin straight. Republicans in FL and elsewhere are claiming the escrow was their idea and that Obama stole it. You want to scorn Obama for asking for it and praise BP for saying yes. get a grip.

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's go into this "shakedown" statement a little deeper.

Republican Senator Joe Barton was not the only Republican insinuating that the Escrow was a shakedown. There were 4 or 5 other prominent Republicans who declared as much.

These same Republicans will chair important committees and control power in Congress if they are allowed to win back Congress in November.

So the question is: . . Now your local Republican is pulling back from the shakedown statement ( He just wants to deregulate so our agencies, so that the SEC and MMS can go back to what they were doing before Democrats came into office. ).

Nevertheless, Congressmen like Barton, Murkowski, and the others will be put incharge, if your local Republican wins.

Posted by: Here2day | June 17, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama largest single BP cash recipient.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36783.html


Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

And it is a shakedown. BP has pledged from the start of the spill to clean up every drop of oil. How much of BP's escrow fund of $20 billion will end up in the hands of administering bureaucrats who don't give a damn how the money is distributed?

Screw this government, from a third generation American.

Posted by: bbwk80a1
_____________________
actually none of it can wind up in the hands of bureaucrats, you idiot. all of it will go to claims, and much less to lawyers. and BP was doing a pretty lousy job of processing claims, and there was no guarantee that they would keep 20 billion available for them. the escrow is simply a way of safeguarding money so it doesn't disappear elsewhere.

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 17, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

JoeT claims a lot of knowledge I doubt very much he has.

"the escrow is simply a way of safeguarding money so it doesn't disappear elsewhere"

Really, is BP still going to be in charge of reviewing and paying the claims?

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love sound bites.

What isn't being mentioned is that Barton is in favor of BP paying thier liabilities but that those liabilities should be handled as legal claims in the court and not as an executive mandated escrow fund.

In other words Barton is in favour of obeying the law. I don't see that as a bad thing.

Posted by: BradG | June 17, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Will you forego donations from BP?

Posted by: dolanster | June 17, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I have to remark on how hard Republican/Joe Barton revisionist cheerleaders are having to work to put SOME kind of positive spin on his reprehensible actions.

Look, boys, he's wrong. His mouth runneth over. Even his teammates are running like rats from the ol' sinking ship. Spare yourselves the effort.

Posted by: info53 | June 17, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Dems intend to paint GOPers as stooges for Big Oil heading into this fall's elections, and these latest attacks on the White House for successfully holding BP accountable obviously will be used to support this case.
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No need to "paint" GOPers as stooges for the Big Oil (and Pharma's) companies....they are and it's obvious.

Posted by: massmedia77 | June 17, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

BradG, political naivete is no excuse for ignoring Barton's real motivation.

And if you don't know what that is you're dumber than you sound.

Though "Texas GOP Congressman defends the law" would certainly be a good headline.

In the Onion.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 17, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

quarterback1 wrote Obama largest single BP cash recipient.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36783.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~````

Quarterback, you're repeating old lies. After all the various possible BP contributions were tallied, McCain/Palin received more money.

Furthermore, 74% of Big Oil’s political contributions go to Republicans. . . . . Why do you think that is? . . It is because Republicans are willing to call an escrow funded with BP oil money, a “Shakedown.” Moreover, Republicans can be counted on keeping clean sustainable energy away from the market that Big Oil dearly loves.

Posted by: Here2day | June 17, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

sovine08 @ June 17, 2010 2:10 PM (and OTHERS) wrote "Of course it's a shake down... does anyone remember Exxon set up a billion dollar fund when their tanker leaked oil in Alaska?? It's a big deal for a company to step up and take responsibilty instead of first calling in the lawyers. BP should be applauded for it. Meanwhile you just know you won't see Obama stepping up and admit he made mistakes..." (leaked oil!!!???)

Of course it is a shake down. And I am very glad of it. Exxon should have gone through the same thing! Contract the difference: The 'tough' Republicans got next to nothing (and the damage from the Valdez is still on-going!); the 'soft' Obama got $20billion, that BP does not control, and that is in addition to their labor costs, and they cannot use any of it for advertising; They have no control over it!

That's as it should be. And if BP has anything left over, we should go after it as well!

I recall that Bush had Cheney make agreements in secret with this breed; and Barton pushed through legislation to fasten the approval of industry's requests. Enjoy the benefits; as should Gov. 'I want a small federal government' Jindhal (who now demands intervention).

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 17, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

GOP= GREEDY OIL PARTY

Posted by: joecoppo | June 17, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It’s funny to hear the congress said something like this “..against the interests of the American people..” I could name a few policies passed by the congress that are against the interests of the American people. One of which was the Illegal phone tapping on the American people.

Was that meant to be good for the Americans? I don’t know.

Joe Barton is an old foe he knew ahead what’s coming to him and he said it anyway so he’ll get another free with no cost to him TV appearance good for a 5 minutes fame.

Posted by: PlanetMars | June 17, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

This politiican put his own personal interest before anything else and forgot to hide it at that moment. If he had already spoken for himself, the retraction of apology forced upon him by the GOP was no more than a lie, or another lie. He has to go PERIOD It is more than one representative now; We just have to see if the GOP is ready to clean house.

Posted by: Dennis423 | June 18, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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