Thursday, June 17, 2010

Barton - Fink

Representative Joe Barton (R-Bowels of Hell) spoke today:

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 could be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown--in this case, a $20 billion shakedown--with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation, and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got no legal standing, and which sets, I think, a terrible precedent for the future ... There is no question that BP is liable for the damages. But we have a due process system where we go through hearings, in some cases court cases, litigation, and determine what those damages are and when those damages should be paid. So I'm only speaking for myself, I'm not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, he's subjected to some sort of political pressure that is again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.
There are so many remarkable things about this statement -- how it conveys a heartfelt apology to BP, which leaves the mind reeling at the variety and number of despicable things Joe Barton has never seen fit to apologize for -- starting with, say, his longstanding, aggressive promotion of oil industry lawlessness; how it speaks of the importance of "due process" only a sentence after its confident declaration that "there is no question that BP is liable," whereas those of us who favor due process even when gigantic corporations aren't in jeopardy realize that it exists to separate mere accusations from findings of liability; for that matter, in how it characterizes this "shakedown" at the White House as though it vitiates BP's rights to due process, when it doesn't -- BP will get its day in court should it come to that; and so on.

Later in the day, Oil's Congressman issued a statement qualifying his depraved, despicable whine on behalf of BP, but no one should be surprised if Barton's view becomes the default right-wing view within a few weeks.

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