Republican congressman on BP’s CEO: ‘He should go’

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, June 21, 2010 1:38 EDT
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Rep. Richard Shelby (R-AL) is no Joe Barton.

Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation this Sunday, Shelby went in the opposite direction of his House GOP counterpart from Texas: Instead of apologizing to BP, the Alabama Republican called for the company’s CEO to resign.

“I thought the fact that the chairman of BP had the gall, the arrogance, to go to a yacht race in one of his– in England, while all of this was going on here, was the height of stupidity,” he told host Bob Schieffer. “I believe, myself, that he should go. I don’t know how he can represent a company in crisis, like BP, and ignore what’s going on in the Gulf of Mexico.”

He added later in the program that he is very much in support of strong oil industry regulation, insisting that the government must not “let the industry run way ahead of the regulators.”

“The regulators have got to be on top of the industry, not the industry on top of the regulators,” he said.

Also appearing on the program was Louisiana Republican Congressman Joseph Cao, who called the oil company’s executives “out of touch” and cited a recent example of a fisherman who attempted suicide because of his financial troubles.

“Its a situation that is quite desperate for many thousands of people,” he said.

Rep. Cao had said days ago that in the Samurai days, BP America’s President BP Lamar McKay would be given a knife and asked to commit ritualistic suicide, a la “harakari.”

These two Republicans represent a position that’s miles from the message spread by many conservative pundits who jumped to Texas Congressman Joe Barton’s aid after he offered an apology to BP for how the Obama administration has dealt with the company.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) similarly criticized Barton’s comment, claiming that BP should apologize to Americans and be made to clean up their mess.

Within hours of Barton’s remarks Thursday, the Democrats had an ad prepared: “Tell Republicans — stop apologizing to big oil,” the ad states. And The Hill reported Sunday that Democrats are going after Republicans on a committee opposed to the president’s $20-billion escrow fund for oil spill victims.

The Democrats are branding them as the “BP 114,” referring to the 114 members of the Republican Study Committee.

And White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel gave viewers of ABC’s This Week a pretty good idea of the narrative the Democrats are building when he told Jake Tapper that Barton’s words were not a “gaffe” but a political “philosophy.”

“That’s not a political gaffe. Those were prepared remarks. That is a philosophy,” said Emanuel.

Barton later apologized for his apology, calling it a “misconstrued misconstruction.”

It may come as a relief to some — especially Americans whose livelihoods BP has destroyed — that not all Republicans adhere to such a philosophy.

This video was broadcast by CBS on Sunday, June 20, as snipped by Think Progress.

With additional reporting by RAW STORY.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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