Excellent op-ed from the Denton Record-Chronicle.
We should all cut U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, a little slack. When he apologized Thursday to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the harsh treatment BP was getting for causing the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States, Barton was simply following a cardinal rule of politics: Once bought, an honest congressman stays bought.
Barton has been in the vest pocket of oil, gas and other polluting industries since the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. In Congress, he is the champion of any industry that can erect a smokestack, befoul a free-running stream and write a fat check to a political campaign.
God Damn that liberal media.
House Republican leaders backed away from Barton and his “apology” like a mess of crawdads. They reportedly took Smokey Joe to the woodshed even as the hearing was still in progress and threatened him with expulsion from the House subcommittee should he not retract his statement.
Which, of course, he did, with one of those patented nonapologetic Washington apologies.
We feel a measure of sympathy for Joe Barton. His lickspittle pandering to the head honcho of BP on Thursday was no worse than what he had done for much of his congressional career. It was as though he did not know that the object of his fealty had just inflicted grave harm upon this country through greed and neglect. It was as though he were pimping for Typhoid Mary.
And I left out some of the best parts.
In other apology-related news, Barton has taken to hiding in his basement:
The day after Rep. Joe Barton became a household name -- and a source of ridicule for late-night comics -- by first apologizing to BP and then retracting his apology, the Texas Republican appeared to go underground.
A phone message said his Washington office was closed, although press secretary Sean Brown eventually e-mailed that aides were, in fact, at work, but that there would be no further comment.
Barton is in a safe Republican district, although his Democratic opponent, David Cozad, mocked Barton in a web page, joebartonwouldliketoapologize.com, that has the lawmaker apologizing for many things, including bad World Cup calls.
If you're feeling generous, throw a few shekels at Cozad and let's see if we can't make Barton's district a little less safe.