JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Why I am not a Republican: Volume 432,542,321,643,321

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If you’re an American citizen or, more specifically, you’re a person directly impacted by the Gulf disaster, and you’re wondering whose side the Republican Party is on, here’s your answer.

Earlier today Rep. Joe Barton, Republican from Texas, gave the opening statement at the BP hearings—and apologized to the company for what the government is doing to it. “It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown,” said Barton, “in this case a $20 billion shakedown.”

Let’s review that: BP has, literally, poisoned the Gulf of Mexico. Contaminated it. Changed it, frankly, forever. It did so not deliberatelBP-Plc_biggery, but lazily. By being arrogant and taking the road most profitable (and least careful). It has destroyed a way of life for hundreds of thousands of people. That’s no exaggeration—hundreds of thousands of people. And now, because the White House has demanded as much payback as humanly possible, BP is owed an apology? Really?

Though she barely deserves credit as a functioning human being, Michele Bachmann, the nutty Republican representative from Minnesota, echoed Barton’s take at the Heritage Foundation luncheon. “If I was the head of BP,” she said, “I would let the signal get out there—’We’re not going to be chumps, and we’re not going to be fleeced.’ And they shouldn’t be. They shouldn’t have to be fleeced and make chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest—they’ve got to be legitimate claims. The other thing we have to remember is that Obama loves to make evil whatever company it is that he wants to get more power from. He makes them evil, and what we’ve got to ask ourselves is: Do we really want to be paying $9 for a gallon of gas? Because that could be the final result of this.”

Hmm, jacknapes, maybe the final result of this is a poisoned Gulf of Mexico? Maybe the final result of this is my kids swimming in clumps of oil; is cleanup crews vomiting blood; is the continued destruction of our environment.

Good God, can someone please explain to me how folks like Bachmann and Barton keep their jobs? Are rural Republicans so stupid that they’ll fall for this crap?