Oh, how that sneaky Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) toys with our emotions! We never know how we're gonna feel about him (okay, pretty sure we love the guy--but he sure can bum us out) on any given day. He's always so full of surprises!
Earlier this week, during BP America President Lamar McKay's public shaming congressional testimony regarding the Gulf oil spill, Cao said what we're sure lots of people are thinking, but would never say aloud:
"Mr. Stearn asked Mr. McKay to resign. In the Asian culture we do things differently. During the Samurai days, we would just give you a knife and ask you to commit Hari-Kari [sic]. My constituents are still debating on what they want me to ask you to do, but that being said, the cleaning up process has been a disgrace and the claims process has been dismal..."
Of course the comments were extreme and Cao has since stated that they were meant only to convey his level of frustration with BP, but dayum! We couldn't have scripted his words better if we tried ( okay, we did try, but it wasn't any better).
Rep. Joseph Barton (R-TX), on the other hand, did the opposite this week. When it was his turn to speak during BP CEO Tony Hayward's public shaming congressional testimony, he said what nobody else would say aloud, and uh, NOBODY ELSE WAS THINKING:
"I think it is a tragedy in 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 -- 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 American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation's future."
"I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize."
We happen to think it's a tragedy when a politician feels the need to apologize to a big oil corporation when people and and an ecosystem are suffering at the hands of said corporation's shitty mistake and shoddy attempts at a solution... but uh, we'll leave the commentary to Barton's own party (who scattered so fast after he made his apology that you'd think somebody dropped a Commie in the room)--its leaders condemned his statements and forced him to apologize for his apology later in the day. VP Joe Biden also had some choice words on the matter.
Okay, so ritual suicide may be a little much. But political suicide? It happens every day.