For the longest time, I believed that one political party in the U.S., the Democratic Party, my party, was exceptionally skilled at pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. Like a jilted sports fan, I can go on and on about the various miscues and missteps made by members of my party. But after seeing Joe Barton's performance yesterday - where he APOLOGIZED to BP for the perceived "shakedown" of the Obama Administration, and then had to retract the apology, I have learned that snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is common to both sides of the aisle.
Mere mocking aside, I cannot emphasize enough how damaging Joe Barton's apology was. For the past several months, Obama has taken a beating on his handling of the BP oil disaster. He's a consensus builder, a back scratcher, a strategist, but he's not a great tactician. To use a "Godfather" analogy, he's a Michael - you might be able to spit in his face, but you and your family will be dead within six months. In a disaster, people want the tactician - they want a Sonny (or a George Patton) - and Obama isn't that guy. As a result, bullshit like this statement from Inhofe are coming from the GOP stating that this is "Obama's Katrina." That's ridiculous, but it does play into the idea that Democrats are weak executives. That's a good narrative for November.
But here comes Joe Barton. When Obama finally looks like he's going somewhere, Barton APOLOGIZES TO BP. BP, the FOREIGN OIL COMPANY who's negligence (at best) has destroyed fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for probably a generation, and who promises to look after "the small people." And why did Barton apologize to BP? Because Obama pushed BP to put $20 billion into escrow to pay for its own mess. Um, what?
And now ladies and gentlemen we have a new narrative - the GOP is in the pocket of Big Oil. Every time a Republican criticizes the President, someone is going to bring up Joe Barton. The narrative is completely broken.