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Van Hollen: Joe Barton revealed GOP's true stance on Big Oil

In another sign that Dems will stop at nothing to keep the Joe Barton story alive, the chief of Dem efforts to hold the House just said in an interview that Barton had inadvertently revealed the GOP's true posture towards Big Oil -- and vowed Dems would hammer this point relentlessly in the weeks ahead.

DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen also told me that the retraction of Barton's apology to BP was meaningless, because his original statement was "passionate and heartfelt."

"Joe Barton said publicly where the majority of Republicans stand on energy -- protecting the big oil companies," Van Hollen argued, pointing to the fact that the Republican Study Committee, which has over 100 members, has called the BP escrow fund a "shakedown."

"Michele Bachmann has also been critical of the president for holding BP accountable," Van Hollen argued. "This goes way beyond Joe Barton. It's part of a larger pattern where Republicans in Congress are on the side of big corporate interests."

Van Hollen said this isn't going away: "We're going to be making the point again and again that Joe Barton's comments on big oil [show] Republicans in the House stand on the side of big corporate interests against consumers and taxpayers."

I pointed out that John Boehner has come out in support of lifting the Big Oil liability cap. Van Hollen replied: "He's also been leading the charge against our effort to move this country in the direction of clean energy policy."

Van Hollen also insisted there was no significance to the fact that GOP leaders had condemned Barton's remarks as "wrong." He said: "What Barton said expressed the views of a huge chunk of the Republican caucus."

Asked to respond to claims that Dems were using Barton to distract from Obama's failure to stop the spill, Van Hollen said: "I've not heard one idea from any of these Republican criticis about how they would plug the hole."

Asked if the spill would remain a serious political liability for the president until it were stopped, Van Hollen demurred: "I think the question will be, Is the president taking charge of making sure that the mess is cleaned up? Is he doing everything humanly possible to stop the leak? That's the test."

UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responds:

"Rep. Van Hollen and Washington Democrats stand with BP in supporting a 'cap and trade' national energy tax. House Republicans are standing with the American people against them. Boehner has been crystal clear on our priorities: we want to stop the leak, clean up the Gulf, and make sure BP pays the entire cost."

By Greg Sargent  |  June 18, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: New attack on Kagan: She compared NRA to KKK
Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

The fundamentals of the economy are strong.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 18, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Is "plug the whole" DC speak?

Posted by: Papagnello | June 18, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Joe Barton and Michelle Bachmann -- apologists for Big Oil.

BTW, Bachmann's Dem opponent in MN-06 is Tarryl Clark. Here's a link to her ActBlue contribution page:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/entity/22728

Posted by: jzap | June 18, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

He dialog is one sided and confrontational;. The company says "We will pay.." and the political leaders say "That is not good enough. You must pay..."

An apology was appropriate and for a moment it seemed like sanity was returning.

But the enforced rudeness came back in force.

This is just more of the same.

There should be no reason to turn a technical problem into a show of bad manners.

I will tell you a story.

A friend of mine worked in Vietnam during the war and was living in a compound in Nha Trang. One evening as he was waiting to pull into the compound, a jeep driven by a drunk Vietnamese soldier hit his car. The officer stumbled out and said "You pay me!"

Now the USA is looking at anyone it can focus on and saying "You pay me!"

Lots of luck.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 18, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Boehner has been crystal clear on our priorities: we want to stop the leak, clean up the Gulf, and make sure BP pays the entire cost."

Except for that little incident last week where Boehner initially agreed with the Chamber of Commerce that taxpayers should foot the bill, before the outrage made him clarify his remarks.

And Rand Paul's comments, and Michelle Bachmann's comments...and nobody's denouncing Rush, I've noticed.

Oh, and if Republicans are so supportive of getting rid of this cap...why hasn't it happened?

And is anyone repudiating the comments of the Republican Study Group?

Posted by: theorajones1 | June 18, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

You almost seem to be implying that Democrats should stop pouncing on this story.

Why should they stop?

Given the endless spewing of criticism and hypocrisy and mindless drivel from the Fox News crowd, why would Democrats be so stupid as to let the Republicans off the hook for this incredibly disgusting, yet revealing moment, from Joe Barton....especially since the same talking points have been put forth by several other Republicans.

My question for you, and the entire legitimate media is, why aren't you doing your job and reporting more about the other culprits in this disaster, like TransOcean and Halliburton?

While Fox News is focusing on President Obama's "fancy pants" and how often he goes to church, why don't the rest of you concentrate on the real reporting? Van Hollen is right -- the thinking behind Barton's apology to BP is just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by: elscott | June 18, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

More from Tarryl Clark from her website:

The (Michelle) Bachmann Agenda: Whose Side Is She On?

It's hard to know, since Bachmann missed an opportunity to take action when she missed a vote to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, authorizing advances from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund - financed by the Oil companies - to address the spill. While the bill passed 410 - 0, Bachmann didn't even cast a vote. (Roll Call vote 354, S.3473, June 10, 2010)

During her Heritage Foundation speech, Bachmann accused the President of "voting present" on the Gulf Oil disaster - turns out Bachmann herself didn't vote at all.

"Once again, the Bachmann Agenda is crystal clear," said Zach Rodvold, Campaign Manager for Tarryl Clark's campaign for Congress. "While Congresswoman Bachmann is concerned about the ‘fleecing' of BP, she's a no-show when it comes to cleaning up this mess. Whose side is she really on?"


http://tarrylclark.com/node/640

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 18, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"I will tell you a story."

I will tell you a story. The Alaska victims of the Exxon Valdez disaster waited 20 YEARS for payment, a good many of them just getting restitution last year. Obama made sure that the Gulf Coast families and business don't have to have the same experience.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 18, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Do not be surprised if Joe Barton Apologizes to Rush, Fourth Traditional Marriage, Limbacile, for having apologized, for having apologized to BP.

Will Joe Barton go for the apology 3peat?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 18, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse


Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner (R) has just called for Joe Barton to step down from the House Energy and Commerce committee, because of his apology to BP.

When will those Republican Politicians stop trying to keep The Joe Barton BP apology Story Alive?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 18, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"I will tell you a story."

I will tell you a story. The Alaska victims of the Exxon Valdez disaster waited 20 YEARS for payment, a good many of them just getting restitution last year. Obama made sure that the Gulf Coast families and business don't have to have the same experience.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

However, claims should be processed through the courts as required by law. Forcing claims to be paid through executive power is abuse and neglect of the law.

If you don't like the law then change it through congress don't bypass congress and the courts and just ignore it.

Posted by: BradG | June 18, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/happy_hour_roundup_32.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 18, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are the Party of Big Oil. That's a fact, Jack!

Posted by: thebobbob | June 18, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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