Why is this criticism of Obama different from all other criticisms?

Rep. Joseph Barton of Texas said to BP CEO Hayward in a congressional committee hearing yesterday that Obama had done a “shakedown” on BP by extorting $20 billion from it, and suddenly the entire political world goes haywire, especially the House GOP leadership, which threatens to strip Barton of his position as ranking minority member of the Energy Committee. I must have seen 20 articles about this great affair today on the Web. What is the big deal? Why did GOP leader Boehner and GOP whip Cantor regard Barton’s comment as a capital political offense? I don’t get it. Neither does Investors Business Daily. They think the Republican leadership should be aiming their darts at Obama, not at their own.

UPDATE (June 19)

Charles Krauthammer said about Barton’s comments:

I think that wins the award for the most politically stupid statement of the year—and we can retire it right now in June. It’s absolutely astonishing. The guy apologizes and then he apologizes for his apology in one day. I think that’s the world indoor record.

You don’t express sympathy for a corporation that’s soiled and destroyed, practically is destroying—the Gulf Coast. What you can say is that we don’t like the precedent of the federal government using its leverage and threats of prosecution to force companies into acting against what might be their own interest. It’s not a good precedent.

But Barton did say (in a part of his remarks that was not quoted widely) that BP is responsible for this disaster and must pay for it. He was objecting to the lawless manner in which Obama pushed BP to hand over $20 billion.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 18, 2010 11:00 PM | Send

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