“Weep not for BP”

Posted on by Karina

Editorials across the nation call out the BP Republicans for siding with Big Oil over the American people:

New York Times Editorial — Serial Apologies, No Contrition:

House Republicans had their chance to do the right thing and remove Joe Barton as the ranking Republican on the energy committee. Instead, they applauded him…

After Mr. Barton tried apologizing again before his party's private caucus, John Boehner, the Republican leader, said “the issue is closed.” Mr. Boehner showed his clear loyalties — protecting party hacks and the oil industry — when he decided that Mr. Barton should keep his central role in the Republican Party's energy policy.

Mr. Boehner cited Mr. Barton's “poor choice of words,” as if it were an oratorical gaffe and not a glimpse at deeper outrage that government dared to call Big Oil to account. Mr. Barton of Texas spoke a day after the Republican Study Committee caucus of House conservatives denounced Mr. Obama for applying “Chicago-style shakedown politics” against poor, defenseless BP.

Sioux City Journal (Iowa) Editorial — King takes the wrong side in standing up for Barton:

Once again, 5th District U.S. Rep. Steve King has left us shaking our heads in disbelief.

The latest puzzling pronouncement from our congressman came during an exchange on Monday with syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. King said he agreed with fellow House Republican Joe Barton of Texas, who stirred controversy last week by saying BP’s $20 billion escrow fund for damage claims made by Gulf oil spill victims amounted to a “shakedown” by the White House.

Incredibly, King said: “I think Joe Barton was spot on when he called it a shakedown.”

Seriously, congressman? Expecting BP to pay innocent men and women for the devastation to their lives wrought by the oil giant is a “shakedown”? Demanding BP cover the costs for cleaning up this massive mess is a “shakedown”? Protecting taxpayers from having to reach into their own pockets is a “shakedown”?

Waco Tribune (Texas) Editorial — Whatever else, BP showed good faith with its $20 billion compensation fund:

Last Thursday, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, sparked controversy by publicly apologizing to BP for its being the victim of a “shakedown” in creating a $20 billion compensation fund for those whose livelihoods were harmed or destroyed by the growing oil spill in the Gulf. Others chimed in, as well, including possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who said the fund was the result of “extortion” by the White House.

Balderdash…from what we read in The Wall Street Journal, BP and the White House conducted civil, businesslike discussions in hammering out terms for the $20 billion compensation fund, which we consider a remarkable act of good faith…

And while this was obviously neither shakedown nor extortion, judging from the conservative Journal, aren't politicians supposed to put some shame into entities to assume responsibility for their actions? Can we not allow a president the power of the bully pulpit when the purpose is to do some good in a crisis?

Tuscaloosa News (Alabama) Editorial — BP can easily afford to pay for damages:

The corporate-friendly reactionaries in Congress and their political and media enablers who were critical of the $20 billion fund oil giant BP agreed to set up to compensate victim of the ongoing gusher a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico, have been trying to walk back some of their most outrageous comments made last week after President Barack Obama emerged from a meeting with BP executives to announce the compensation fund.

The one who has the greatest distance to travel is, of course, Texas Republican Joe Barton, who made a jaw-dropping apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward and other company officials in a House hearing last week…

But Barton was not the only one to defend BP against the indefensible.

Rand Paul, the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, criticized the heat being put on BP as ‘un-American.’ Part-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Obama is being led astray by ‘Chicago thugs’ in the White House, and the estimable radio personality Rush Limbaugh called the $20 billion ‘a little miniature slush fund.’

But the best advantage of an escrow fund with a single administrator is that those seeking help for lives on the brink of ruin from the BP disaster is that the process avoids the court system, where even the most legitimate of claims can be tied up for years, thus providing for much quicker justice to be done…

Weep not for BP.

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