Unbelievably enough, U.S. Representative Joe Barton--the Republican congressman from Texas who’s in line to become head of the House Energy Committee, should the GOP manage to take control of that chamber in this year’s midterm elections--apologized to oil giant British Petroleum this morning for the pressure President Obama put on BP “to put aside $20 billion in escrow to bring relief to those hardest hit by the disaster.” Barton told BP CEO Tony Hayward during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing: “I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.” Not surprisingly, this suck-up to the company responsible for dumping as much as much as 60,000 barrels of oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico has sparked a furor on Capitol Hill. But it’s certainly not the first time of late that Republicans have sided with BP over American citizens.
READ MORE: “On the Offensive--and in Campaign Mode,” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly); “‘Misconstrued’ Barton Got His ‘Shakedown’ Language from a Conservative Caucus Press Release,” by Alex Pareene (Salon); “‘I Apologize’--the GOP Love Affair with BP and Big Business Lives On,” by John Aravosis (AMERICAblog); “An Oily Wave of GOP Pollution,” by Joan Walsh (Salon); “Same Old Song and Dance,” by J.D. Rhoades (What Fresh Hell Is This?); “Barton’s Grovel, GOP’s Emblematic Moment,” by J.P. Green (The Democratic Strategist); “Here Come the Clowns No. 2: Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a Clown Among Clowns,” by Frederik Pohl (The Way the Future Blogs).