Thursday, June 17, 2010

We're so sorry, Tony Hayward

BP's CEO Tony Hayward was called to an investigative hearing before the House Energy Committee for the traditional slice and dice today. Most of the member obliged but not ranking Republican Joe Barton who instead apologized to BP. He told Hayward, "It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown." [video here].

Of course Barton has received about 1.5 million in campaign donations from the industry during his tenure. And shockingly, his largest donor is a corp directly connected to BP and the exploded rig.

Barton apparently thought he was just pushing the standard party line. Certainly he's one of many GOPers echoing the "slush fund" and "Chicago-style shakedown" narrative. Or trying to frame a voluntary agreement as an unprecendented circumvention of the law. And their usual right wing media spokesmouths reliably lended to the effort.

Still, it's hard to figure why they think sticking up for BP over the Gulf coasters is a good strategy. Certainly the White House jumped on Barton within minutes, along with various leading Dems. And the rapid response turned the storyline. Even though the usual witless wingnut bloggers leapt to Barton's defense, within hours, Barton turned toxic. Several big name GOPers, including Boehner, turned on him with a Florida Rep calling for him to resign his committee assignment. Nice to see the wingnut wurlizter lose a round for a change.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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