Rep. Joe Barton of Texas ('natch) took time out of a public hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to apologize directly to the executives at BP. How sweet of the man.
BARTON:I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think 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 shakedownYes, how dare they be forced to set aside funds to pay for cleanup and to help offset the possible irreparable harm they've caused to the marine economy of the Gulf Coast. What an outrage.
I apologize, 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 shakedown. So I apologize.
Not able to leave Bachmann and Barton out on their offshore shilling rig, Alabama Governor Haley Barbour took time out of his busy schedule of taking oil money and denying that oil spills were a problem or that the oil was even hitting his shores to dance for oil nickels.
BARBOUR:I do worry that this idea of making them make a huge escrow fund is going to make it less likely that they’ll pay for everything. They need their capital to drill wells. They need their capital to produce income.That's right, BP setting aside $20 billion to pay for damages will somehow make it less likely that they'll pay for the damage. Actually, I'm fairly sure that it means they'll be paying $20 billion at a minimum. But no worries, the greater risk is that by setting aside this money to help everyone whose lives they've ruined, that this will make it harder for them to open more rigs and make more money. Christ, I'm tearing up here. poor BP. Why haven't we thought about their ability to make a profit curing this crisis? We're monsters!
Oh, they are making rather large profits even given the costs of the cleanup? Well... they could be making more.
In fact Barbour, Barton, and Bachmann are all just reading off a common script that has arisen in the right wing media over the past few days: namely that this is unconscionable that BP is being held responsible, it is unconscionable that they're being demonized and blamed for actions they caused, and that somehow our Muslim President Hussein Obama X is going to use this independent fund as a "slush fund" to... something something socialism ooga booga liberals. Somehow paying out claims becomes bribery and that's if the black President doesn't steal the money and stash it away with Fannie Mae and ACORN to... I don't know... build a time machine and go back and make white people the slaves, abolish freedom, and rape Ben Franklin.
Why defend a widely loathed corporate entity in the most tin earned manner possible? Because after decades of conservatives fighting for the rights of corporations to do whatever whenever with no repercussions, BP has done the unforgivable: admitted responsibility for a mistake and made some attempt to make it right. We went through an entire economic collapse without the responsible parties even so much as saying "Whoops". If this continues, other corporations might have to issues apologies, *gasp* pay to fix problems they created, and the unfettered right of business to be allowed to do anything to make a buck might be challenged. So thus the attempt at restitution and the government has to be made to seem worse than BP the giant Gulf of Oil they've created.
Funny how it always seems to work out like that.