We know that the primary function of the Republican Party is to protect the interests of the ultra-wealthy and they know this, but they are not supposed to be blatant in demonstrating this. Joe Barton forgot this when he defended BP against what he called a “shakedown” by the Obama administration.
Barton apologized to BP for this “shakedown” to pay those who were harmed by the negligence of BP. This led to negative responses even even one Republican who realized that in such matters they should not really say what they are thinking. David Plouffe didn’t waste any time using this in a fund raising letter from Organizing for America:
When BP CEO Tony Hayward testified before Congress this morning, many expected to hear him apologize for the disaster his company has caused. Instead, GOP Congressman Joe Barton was the one saying he was sorry — to BP.
In his opening statement, Barton, the top Republican on the committee overseeing the oil spill and its aftermath, delivered a personal apology to the oil giant. He said the $20 billion fund that President Obama directed BP to establish to provide relief to the victims of the oil disaster was a “tragedy in the first proportion.”
Other Republicans are echoing his call. Sen. John Cornyn said he “shares” Barton’s concern. Rep. Michele Bachmann said that BP shouldn’t agree to be “fleeced.” Rush Limbaugh called it a “bailout.” The Republican Study Committee, with its 114 members in the House, called it a “shakedown.”
Let’s be clear. This fund is a major victory for the people of the Gulf. It’s a key step toward making them whole again. BP has a responsibility to those whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the disaster. And BP oil executives don’t deserve an apology — the people of the Gulf do.
Barton wound up retracting his apology today. I guess being a Republican Congressman in the pocket of the oil industry means never having to stick to having said you’re sorry. (Joe Barton meet Erich Segal.)