Rush Limbaugh springs to Joe Barton’s defense
Remember Thursday when I asked how much money Rep. Joe Barton will raise off of his apology to BP and declaration that the President Obama had set up a ’shake down’ when it persuaded the Gulf of Mexico-fouling company to set up an escrow account to pay out settlements for oil-spill related damages?
Today, Rush Limbaugh gave Barton his gold star of approval:
“It was a shakedown pure and simple,” said Limbaugh, echoing the words for which Barton later apologized. “And somebody had the audacity to call it what it was and now everybody’s running for the hills.”
“All you have to do is look at the polling,” Limbaugh continued. “We’re talking about Republicans inside the beltway. All you have to do is look at the polling data and media coverage and find out what they are going to do.”
“Let’s just slither away under the rock here,” Limbaugh said, mocking the Republicans’ approach to Barton. “We’ll let Joe Barton get eaten by the Democrat lizards on this to protect ourselves. This is politics and this is the reason why true believers have such a problem with politics. It’s just that simple and no more complicated than that.”
So, who is going to be the first to set up the Barton moneybomb? So far Republican leaders have stood down, but we are in the era of mainstreaming the unacceptable. Of course, while Democrats are raising money nationally off the issue, Barton lacks a credible Democratic challenger down in his safe red Texas district. But it’s not like Joe Wilson or Randy Neugebauer faced a serious electoral threat. They money will come.
And Limbaugh’s rant on the air reinforces my secondary point – what Barton said is what the Republican Party’s base really believes. They only take issue with how he said what he said – not what the argument he was making. The Gulf oil spill to them is an opportunity to castigate President Obama’s leadership, but not a moment to reflect on our energy economy, which they’re happy to see ruled over by the same handful of fossil fuel giants that hold far too much sway in this country than should ever be acceptable.