Rep. Joe Barton's fellow Republicans quickly denounced
his apology to BP, forcing Barton to
retract the controversial statement, but the political damage has been
done. Democrats, eager to move climate change legislation and to
demonstrate action against BP and the Gulf oil spill, have seized on
Barton's bizarre apology. Here are the political repercussions.
- Reveals Ideological Problem for GOP on Oil Spill The
Washington Post's Karen Tumulty explains,
"To some Republicans, their defense of the oil industry has more to do
with their belief in free enterprise and their wariness of regulation.
The debate over drilling has been a core part of their argument for less
government. This may not be the best moment to be making that argument,
- Dems Have Their 'Republican Villain' Politico's
and Jake Sherman write, "In the blink of an eye, Texas Rep. Joe
Barton handed Democrats just what they wanted: a Republican villain in
the oil spill crisis. ... It would have been bad enough for the GOP if a
backbencher had accidentally strayed wildly off message, but Barton,
the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is the
face of the party on energy policy — and his comments were intentional.
So rather than talking about BP’s culpability and the Obama
administration’s response, Washington was fixated on a Texas
Republican’s seemingly tone-deaf comments."
- Dems Paint All
Republicans With Barton Brush The Atlantic's Chris Good writes, "Democrats
have pounced, and they will continue to pounce. Before Barton offered
his apology to Hayward, Republicans were already fighting off a
Democratic message machine eager to paint them as oil-company friendly
and skeptical of full BP liability. Boehner, for his part, has faced
some confusion over his stance on BP liability. That's partly why
Barton's apology was so toxic."
- Putting Oil Spill Blame on GOP
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake and Paul Kane
write, "Almost immediately following Barton's morning comments, the
liberal blogs and Democratic campaign operatives sprang into action and
the White House denounced Barton. Even before Barton's comments,
Democrats had been attempting to connect Republicans to BP, noting the
many contributions GOP congressmen have received from it and other oil
companies. ... Republicans hoping to pin the problems of the Gulf Coast
on Obama were immediately put on the defensive."
Fundraising on Barton's Apology Time's Chris Gentilviso reports,
"A host of both Republicans and Democrats didn't like Barton's apology
to BP CEO Tony Hayward. Now Democratic fundraisers have turned to
Facebook, ready to cash in on the outrage. If you've been on Facebook
over the past 24 hours (who hasn't?), you might have noticed Barton's
face to the right of your profile page. MSNBC reports that the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is responsible for
the Joe Barton-themed ads, which were expected to reel in 20 million
page views yesterday alone.
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