Yesterday Speaker Pelosi made a valuable point that seems to have been overlooked with the dust-up over Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) words of devotion for BP, namely that his response and the earlier letter sent by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) were symptoms of a widespread problem within the Republican party itself, not merely a few individuals. There are over one hundred members of the Republican Study Group, not one of whom voiced disagreement with the following:
BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.
Transcript from the video:
Q: Do you think Mr. Barton should step aside as Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee? And do you think his sudden firestorm that's blown up around his comments represents kind of a turning point for the Republicans, and this attitude you describe of favoring big business?
Speaker Pelosi. A turning point for them supporting Big Business? They've always been on that track.
Q: Is this comment too far?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, let me just say that — that was one comment. I think it's important to note that it was not inconsistent with comments made the chairman of the Republican Study Committee — a part of the Republican leadership, Representative Tom Price. He said: "BP's reported willingness to go along with the White House new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style 'shakedown' politics."
So I think that Mr. Barton's comments fit comfortably among the leadership of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. It's up to them to decide who's in the leadership of their committees. But he is not alone in his association with sympathy for the oil companies.
As I said before, people in the Gulf are suffering from BP's negligence and recklessness. Republicans in Congress are apologizing to BP.