Powerful Republican suggests to colleagues he’d shoot at Obama
‘Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it,’ GOP Rep. says of Obama Administration
The former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee may have just destroyed his chances to lead that committee again — if close attention is paid to a slideshow he’s circulating to his Republican colleagues.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who’s vying for the Committee chairmanship with Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), is the most senior member of the committee. But because of self-imposed term limits, he’ll need a special dispensation from House leaders to regain his gavel.
The Washington Post‘s Al Kamen revealed late Monday that Barton was circulating a slideshow in which he promises to declare war on the Obama Administration if he’s reinstated as chair.
“If the Obama administration was hoping to see hints of bipartisanship from the Hill, it might want to skip over the House Energy and Commerce Committee,” Kamen wrote in a brief posting.
“The committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Joe L. Barton (Tex.), has a slide presentation that he’s e-mailing to colleagues, pledging to do for the administration what Gen. George Patton and company did for Germany,” Kamen adds. “The first slides are standard campaign material, with Barton asking to be elected by the new House Republican majority to be chairman of the committee.”
Barton purportedly boasts of a bona fide conservatism in his initial slides and references his prior leadership.
“I know the ropes and can hit the ground running immediately,” he scribes.
“He especially appeals to the newly elected members, saying he would make sure they are represented on the powerful committee,” Kamen adds.
But it’s the next slide (reprinted below) that’s sure to set Washington aflame. Kamen notes that Barton promised a war with the Obama Administration, but the words of the slide itself are more revealing.
Then comes the money slide, titled: “What’s in Store for the Obama Administration,” with photos of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Generals Omar Bradley and George Patton in uniform.
“Speaker Boehner is our Dwight Eisenhower in the battle against the Obama Administration. Majority Leader Cantor is our Omar Bradley. I want to be George Patton – put anything in my scope and I will shoot it.”
Barton is perhaps best known in recent political history as the congressman who apologized to BP for the creation of a fund to help the survivors of the Gulf oil spill.
During a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in June, Barton called the $20 billion escrow fund that BP has promised to establish a “shakedown” and apologized to then-BP CEO Tony Hayward.
“I’m speaking totally for myself and I’m not speaking for the Republican Party and I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Barton remarked.
“I think it’s a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown,” he continued, “in this case, a $20 billion shakedown with 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 — 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 that I think sets a terrible precedent for the future.”
“I’m only speaking for myself,” Barton repeated. “I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong and is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had a different take Monday night.
She posited that Barton’s appeal for the chairmanship of the Committee effectively likened Democrats to Nazis.
This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Nov. 29, 2010.