Tuesday, June 22, 2010


"Arch Conservatives Starting to Lose Their Grip" by Deborah Mathis, Washington Informer 6/22/2010

They’re calling it a “gift to the Democrats” – and, indeed, Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton did hand them a handy hammer when he accused the Obama administration of bullying BP and, for that, apologized to BP’s chief executive officer – but, Rep. Joe Barton’s preposterous statement last week has more significance than political utility.

Barton has added to the growing pile of evidence that the cultural changes underway in America are causing some folks to panic and that, in their hysterical states, they are losing their ability to filter, encode and otherwise obscure their true feelings. They open their mouths these days and out comes what used to be only their private thoughts.

For ordinary people to do this is one thing. When this infection strikes politicians, who are trained to think about the consequence of their utterances, you know it’s deep.

I watched Barton’s opening statement as it was happening on Thursday. He started out complimenting House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman of California and committee member Bart Stupak of Michigan, whose opening statements had made it clear that they were disturbed by nearly every aspect of BP’s handling of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and not happy at all with BP CEO Tony Hayward, who sat looking like a whipped puppy before them.

Seamlessly, then, Barton told Hayward that he was “ashamed” of what had happened the day before, when Hayward and other BP execs slogged to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials. The upshot of that meeting was that BP had agreed to put $20 billion in escrow to pay for damages to life and livelihoods along the Gulf coast – Barton’s alleged “shakedown.”

“I do not want to live in a country where anytime 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 political shakedown,” Barton said. “So I apologize.”

Even Hayward looked shocked.

For his unauthorized apology, Barton got his butt handed to him, not by Democrats but by the GOP leadership, which went ballistic. Barton’s own caucus threatened to strip him of his seniority on the committee.

There was even talk about a forced resignation. But not because the man had been publicly disrespectful of the president of the United States and attempted to humble him before a foreigner (Hayward is British), but because the GOP is worried about looking like it’s in the oil industry’s tank - which, of course, it is.

Over the last decade, Barton, alone, has collected $1.4 million from the oil and gas industry. He’s the ringleader in donations from the industry, but if you think that unstoppable well in the Gulf is a gusher, check out the money flow from Big Oil to Republicans on Capitol Hill. Little wonder that Barton soon retracted his apology. No wonder the GOP is spinning as furiously as the oil is spewing.

Still, the more telling thing is not what Barton said, but that he said it. He is simply another prominent conservative who has been stricken by chronic rudeness, disrespect and innuendo that betray not merely fierce partisanship, but a fever of panic that causes them to lose even their self-serving judgment.

Barton’s colleague, Joe Wilson of South Carolina, blurted out the infamous “You lie” during Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress last year. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito shook his head and mouthed the words “Not true” during the president’s State of the Union speech. It has become de riguer for conservative radio talk show hosts to call the president “a little boy,” a “socialist,” “Nazi-like,” “fascist” and “incompetent,” ridiculing him in ways that annihilate the traditional rules about respect for the office, if not the man.

Arch conservatives, who are used to being in charge, are losing their grip. There are brown and black and yellow people not only in Congress, not only in the schools next to their children, not only at the helm of major corporations, but in the White House, for heaven’s sake.

They’re panicking. And, as with the running oil well, they’re throwing everything they’ve got at the situation.

"They’re throwing everything they’ve got at the situation," and all they got to throw is s**t.

No comments: