A Sorry Excuse for a Congressman


BP CEO Tony Hayward [was] in the midst of a harsh grilling today on Capitol Hill, where he [was] testifying House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on “The Role of BP in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill.”

But not long after the hearing began, Hayward got something not many expected from lawmakers: An apology.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the committee, apologized to Hayward for what he described as a “shakedown” at the White House yesterday. He was referring to the deal worked out between the Obama administration and BP to set up a $20 billion fund administered by a third party to pay for damages from the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Original DVD cover

“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Barton said. “I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown.”

He complained that “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, [is] 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.”

“I apologize,” Barton told Hayward. “I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is — again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”

“I’m speaking now totally for myself,” he noted. “I’m not speaking for the Republican Party.” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) later said he disagreed with Barton’s characterization, and GOP leaders put out a statement calling his comments “wrong.”


Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican, has called for Barton to resign as the ranking Republican on the committee, Politico reports.

“I condemn Mr. Barton’s statement,” Miller said. “Mr. Barton’s remarks are out of touch with this tragedy and I feel his comments call into question his judgment and ability to serve in a leadership on the Energy and Commerce Committee.”

According to the Associated Press, Barton has taken more than $100,000 in political contributions from oil and gas interests since the beginning of 2009, more than all but one other member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


Rep. Ed Markey (D – MA) said at the hearing he “could not disagree more strongly” with Barton’s initial comments.

“Not only is the compensation fund that was created yesterday at the White House in an agreement reached between BP and President Obama not a slush fund and not a shakedown, rather it was the government of the United States worked to protect the most vulnerable citizens that we have in this country right now – the residents of the Gulf,” he said.


“The families of the Gulf will be crushed financially unless this compensation fund is put in place,” said Markey, arguing that the history of Gulf families will be “permanently altered” without action.

Markey added that the creation of the fund reflected “American government working at its best” to ensure that families do not become “roadkill” as a result of corporate practices.

As Markey spoke, Barton leaned back in his chair reading what appeared to be the newspaper Investor’s Business Daily.


Rep. Joe Barton of Texas has offered an apology for his comments this morning apologizing to BP CEO Hayward for what he described as a “shakedown” at the White House to set up a BP-funded $20 billion fund to pay for damages from the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


“I want to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident,” he said. “And if anything I said this morning has been misconstrued to the opposite effect I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction.”

In a statement he made his apology more explicit.

“I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP,” he said. “…I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident.”

Not good enough for some Rethugs. From The Caucus at The New York Times:

A day after he took awkwardly to center stage on Capitol Hill, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas is still getting heat from some of his Republican colleagues for sounding too cozy with BP.

On Friday, Representative Jo Bonner – whose Alabama district takes in the Gulf Coast – called for Mr. Barton to step aside as ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


[…] Mr. Bonner […] said that he believed Mr. Barton’s retraction Thursday afternoon was an insincere attempt to save his ranking slot on the committee.

“Joe’s comments were stupid and extremely insensitive to the hundreds of thousands of people who live along the Gulf Coast – many in my district – who are literally watching their way of life be destroyed by this catastrophe,” Mr. Bonner added.

On Thursday, according to news media reports, Mr. Barton was told by Republican leaders in the House that if he didn’t apologize for his comments, he would get the boot as the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

What’s with the South and their names?  Jo is a girl’s name, short for Josephine.  Would it really be that difficult to add an e to the end to make it Joe, a good manly name.  A macho name can really help in the South with a political career.  If you don’t believe me, ask Haley Barbour or Lindsey Graham.

And by the way, kids, is it just me, or does Joe Barton remind you of someone, too?

Original image

A tip of the hat to Tapestry58 over at the Big Orange for correcting what Porky Joe would say.

And just one more thing–if anything I said has been misconstrued to the opposite effect I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction.


Filed under Barack Obama, Democrats, Florida, House Energy and Commerce Committee, humor, John Boehner, Lindsey Graham, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, snark, Texas, Wordpress Political Blogs

30 responses to “A Sorry Excuse for a Congressman

  1. writechic

    Great work on the piggy. Barton’s voice and cadence reminded me of that pedophile on Family Guy…not to mention a description of a child serial killer from a novel I read a while back.


  2. writechic

    Love your Shakedown poster, too! You caught the subtle “you gotta be fucking kidding me, i think i’m embarrassed for you” look on Haytard’s face.

    • i had to stick 2 different pix of tony together and then fudge over a microphone, because i really, really wanted to use that expression on his face.

      over at the big orange, tapestry58 just commented that the porky pic should have read ‘that’s oil folks.’ that’s so perfect, and it never occurred to me. i really should change it, but i’m debating whether or not i’m too lazy.

  3. The sad thing is that Barton will win his re-election in a landslide because he stood up to the eeeeeevil President and the harsh words and the heckling of the poor innocent corporations and such, also.

    If Barton had lost a family member on that rig, or if he had personal/business interests in the Gulf that were affected by this disaster, I’ll bet he’d be screaming for government help and crying like a newborn baby. None of that “oh we’re so sorry they treated you like the scum that you are, BP!” crap.

    • even if he does win reelection, he’s still given the dems outside of his district bullets for their campaign guns. every rethug will now have to answer questions about what s/he thinks about everything little randy paul, obtuse sharron angle, and smoky joe barton said.

  4. “Misconstrued misconstruction.”


    What do you figure that this buffoon, who has committed pretty tremendous violence against the English language, is an English-only advocate?

    Barton makes a strong case for those NASCAR suits we were talking about … wouldn’t his pretty much show that he’s sponsored by oil in every form?

    I think he should be ID’d as Joe Barton, R-Oil.

    • wasn’t there something in the patriot act that called for the establishment of the language police? i say we report smoky joe and then throw him a bon voyage party before he’s shipped off to gitmo.

  5. kaylaspop

    Wadda DICK!

  6. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight unearthed a really good motivation for Barton’s stunt.

    Top Corporate Donor to Barton Is Partner of BP on Deepwater Horizon

    “Making matters worse for Barton is the identity of the top contributor to his election campaigns. Since 1989, it has been the company Anadarko Petroleum, from which he’s received $56,500 in PAC donations and another $90,000 in individual contributions.”

    Anadarko has a 25% stake in the Deepwater Horizon well. Isn’t that interesting?

    • and anadarko is throwing bp under any bus that happens to pass by. the wsj reports that the ceo of anadarko said the following:

      The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP’s reckless decisions and actions.

      because anadarko has a stake in deepwater horizon, they have some liability unless they can prove that bp is guilty of “gross negligence or willful misconduct,” as stipulated in their contract. smoky joe barton used to work for anadarko before he went to congress. the plot thickens, and smoky joe sickens.

      by the way, smoky joe is the nickname i found for barton online. it seems he lurrrvvves pollution and hates the epa.

  7. Arlington, Texas, the town I grew up in, is the center of the Joseph Linus Barton congressional district. What earth moving things have happened in said district durung the tenure of Joe? Well, lets see: failed oilman G.W. Bush gets a baseball park built for him with city sales tax money that becomes his personal property ($168 million tax dollars). The latest Great Leap Forward is the football dome built for billionare and known swindler J. Jones with public money kicking in 350 million tax dollars to build this palace of luxury in a neighborhood that doesn’t even have sidewalks. And how about running those 50 families out of their house and low balling the compensation for their homes! What’s that smell, you might ask? That is the smell of FREEDOM!

    • arlington is near dallas, isn’t it? for some reason, it’s ringing a bell. i think i might know a couple of people who live there.

      i would think that the people in the dallas area would be a bit more…shall we say, sophisticated and wouldn’t vote for a moran like fartin’ barton.

  8. Barton is one sorry politician.
    Spineless shill, slithering to whichever side is popular.
    But what a sequence of events…. as Barton blathered his sucky apology (damn right this is unprecedented…. which is why the $20 billion is needed)- the Code Pink lady launches into an oily rant about him being a criminal, and by the end of the day, old Joe apologized for his apology.

    Get the hook!

    • because of the way things have been going lately, i have to think that this was orchestrated. rushbo and the teabaggers are singing the same song, so the talking points were sent out. i wonder who it was on the other end of the fax machine.

  9. jeb

    Smoky Joe can apologize all he wants but he’s still as filthy as BP’s accident in the Gulf. Having only one’s own greedy self-interest and no conscience seems to be a preqrequisite for the GOP but especially those from Texas. Texas Legaslative motto should be ‘more nuts than a can of Planters.’

    • why do they even bother to apologize? everyone knows that they’re only apologizing, because someone got on their asses, not because they’re sincerely sorry. still okay with me, because the more negative publicity the goopers bring upon themselves, the better.

  10. the daily sloth

    The only thing than that the GOP could say is that this oil spill is an acceptable collateral.

  11. the daily sloth

    Worse, I meant.

    • some of them have already said that, haven’t they? they keep saying that it’s just one accident. i wonder what they’d say if one of them went to the hospital for surgery, and the doctor amputated their leg instead of taking out their appendix. will they say well, this is just one little mistake among hundreds of surgeries this doctor has done? it’s the magnitude of the disaster that counts, not the number of disasters.

  12. Joanaroo

    If I have to hear one more GOPer say: When an airplane crashes, we don’t close all the airlines down…yada, yada, yada. Geezus! You can tell a GOPer: if somebody -especially the everyman – dies from a corporation-caused incident/disaster, you can be sure the corporation gets the sympathy. The victim gets victimized even more by the no-conscience moneygrubbing GOP!

    • when an airplane crashes and the problem is determined to be a defective part, the airlines are not shut down, but the planes with the same faulty equipment are grounded until repairs are done to correct the problem.

      the vast majority of toyota cars didn’t have accidents. therefore, none of them should have been recalled–that’s the rethuglican argument. nobody shut down the vast majority of oil wells, just the new ones that are very much like deepwater horizon. their argument is bogus.

  13. Pingback: A Few of My Favorite Zings | HYSTERICAL RAISINS

  14. Pingback: Dim Bulb Barton | HYSTERICAL RAISINS