[O]nly 6 percent have a favorable rating of BP. In the history of the NBC News/Journal poll, Saddam Hussein (3 percent), Fidel Castro (3 percent) and Yasser Arafat (4 percent) have had lower favorable scores, and O.J. Simpson (11 percent) and tobacco-maker Philip Morris (15 percent) have had higher ratings.
And he went on to quote from the column, calling defenders of the fund "useful idiots." Gohmert is in as much danger of losing re-election as I am of spontaneously combusting -- the Cook Political Report gives his 1st district of Texas an R +21 rating -- but for the record, here's a Republican endorsing this argument that I thought was un-endorseable.
I'm in the Senate right now, where there is no appetite -- really, none -- for criticizing the BP fund. The gap between conservative intellectual leadership and Republican politicians on this issue is as wide as we've ever seen it during the Obama era.
In Colorado, it was an aide to once-frontrunner Jane Norton (Ken Buck now leads in some polls for the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination) who called the escrow account a "slush fund." I'm not seeing a massive trend here, but I'm not sure that local reporters are all posing the question. Plenty of conservative candidates agree with Rush Limbaugh that the fund amounts to "thuggery" or a shakedown -- something the Gulf Coast Republicans who favored the fund disagree with.
Republicans can appeal for exceptions to this rule, and occasionally, they get them. But as of today, based on the conversations I've had with Republicans, there's no appetite for waiving the rule to protect Barton. It's possible that Barton, who is 60, could lead this committee again someday. But the odds of him leading it if the GOP wins in November are very, very slim. And that's one reason you're seeing Democrats try to move their focus from Barton to other Republicans, including members of the Republican Study Committee, who agreed with the "shakedown" part of his comments.