Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 18, 2010

SOMETIMES, ALL POLITICS REALLY IS LOCAL.... Responding to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) public apology to BP yesterday, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), whose Pensacola district is already feeling the brunt of the spill, announced that he'd like to see Barton step down as the ranking member of the House Energy Committee. Today, another House Republican followed suit.

Rep. Jo Bonner called on fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton to step down as ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Friday following the Texas Republican's controversial statements to BP chairman Tony Hayward on Thursday.

"Earlier this morning, Rep. Barton called me to offer his personal apologies for any harm that his comments might have caused," said Bonner, whose district covers much of Alabama's coastline.

"It takes a big person to admit they were wrong and I appreciated Joe's call," Bonner continued. "However, as I told him, I believe the damage of his comments are beyond repair and, as such, I am today calling on Joe to do the right thing for our conference and immediately step aside as Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee."

In his statement, Bonner called Barton's apology "stupid." As for Barton's walk-back, Bonner called it "at best a half-hearted apology" intended to "save his position on one of the most influential committees in Congress."

In case it's not obvious, it's worth noting that both Bonner and Miller represent Gulf Coast districts. This isn't ideological -- Bonner and Miller aren't moderates -- this is a classic all-politics-is-local moment. Gulf Coast lawmakers, even conservative Republicans, are reluctant to look like BP toadies right now. Barton made the entire Republican Party look bad yesterday, so it's not surprising that lawmakers like Bonner and Miller would take the opportunity to impress voters back home, party be damned.

The end result, of course, is another round of headlines about the controversy, which is the last thing Republican leaders hoped to see.

Steve Benen 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Posted by: puravida on June 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm impressed and he's not even on the committee.

Posted by: John Henry on June 18, 2010 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: mr. irony on June 18, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

A round of tar balls for the "House"

Pass the popcorn. What fun...

Posted by: Stevio on June 18, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I know you're focused specifically on the Barton fallout for ReBPublicans and beyond, but since it's about the Gulf tragedy, a note on the possible future of that is in order. The essay below is disconcerting and refers to a possible, not certain catastrophe (rupturing of the well casing for its entire length, or enough to spoil relief well efforts.) However, it is worth reflecting on the international effort that may be needed if this thing is even worse than you thought:


Posted by: Neil B on June 18, 2010 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'd really like to see another commercial highlighting all the other GOBP politicians and prominent wingers expressing the exact same sentiments (albeit without the apology). The Dems need to reinforce to the low-info voters that this is a common view amongst the modern Republican mainstream, and not a fringe view.

Posted by: Kris on June 18, 2010 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Gah. That was supposed to be in the thread about the new DNC ad.

Posted by: Kris on June 18, 2010 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

"I believe the damage of his comments are beyond repair ..." - Oh dear _____ I hope so! Yeah, "Go-BP!" I sure hope the damage from BP's spill is not beyond repair.

Posted by: neil b on June 18, 2010 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Barton is breaking into the mainstream bigtime. From the opening sentence of an ESPN article:

"The horrific call that forced Team USA to settle for a 2-2 tie with Slovenia was so bad that I'm surprised Texas Rep. Joe Barton hasn't already called Malian referee Koman Coulibaly to apologize for the harsh criticism the official undoubtedly deserves."


Posted by: MCD on June 18, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

My god...it almost sounds like...people before politics! And all it took was millions of gallons of oil.

Posted by: Cazart on June 18, 2010 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, so sad for the GOBP.

life is a bitch!! (weeps crocodile tears)

Posted by: fourlegsgood on June 18, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

You can talk about hypotheticals but the fact is that this Barton Bozo was the chairman of the Appropriations committee for Energy for years. The appropriations committee that was the bottle neck when it came to appropriating funds for alternative energy research and development. Why the budget for research and development of advanced energy technologies has been a pathetic fraction of the overall expenditures coming out of that committee. One of the primary reasons that our clock is being cleaned in this area by countries that are a fraction of our size.

Posted by: SW on June 18, 2010 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

RepoTaliban keep trying to make Obama responsible for all the BP gusher issues, but then turn around and say or do something that underlines the fact that the political problems that lead to this filure are the result of the RepoTaliban's attitudes that go back to Duhbya.

Posted by: Marnie on June 18, 2010 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Not good enough. The only way Miller and Bonner can show true cred is if they help pass a robust energy reform bill.

As it stands, they're just doing a different kind of CYA dance than Barton.

Posted by: bdop4 on June 18, 2010 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

today media &journalists are totally controlled by politicians As a rule, when politicians are seen fleeing from journalists, they're either under indictment, have been caught doing something scandalous, or cowards.What a political train wreck.
but it should be avoided.
Home Insurance

Posted by: Home Insurance on June 19, 2010 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK
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