Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) unwitting apology to BP last week revealed a philosophical divide among conservatives. While many in the Republican Party were quick to distance themselves from Barton, other conservative pundits leaped to defend the Texas congressman.
On Thursday night, Bill O’Reilly said, “Obama was correct in bringing pressure on the company to pony up the money,” adding, “I’m happy there’s $20 billion in play and more to come.” The next evening, in an interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), O’Reilly said the fund was “the best thing” Obama has accomplished, and emphasized that he doesn’t agree with “words like shakedown and extortion.”
O’Reilly’s approval of Obama’s work on behalf of Gulf Coast victims was simply too much for right-wing radio host Mark Levin. On Friday, Levin took aim at O’Reilly, who he calls the “8pm’er” (for his 8 pm show on Fox News), while defending Barton:
I’m sick and tired of this idiot on cable. I’m just sick and tired of this phony populist idiot, the 8pm’er on cable. … Congratulate Obama for getting this $20 billion fund to ‘help the folks, to help the little people.’ Really? … Let me explain something to you, Mr. Cable TV. British Petroleum was in the back pocket of the Democrat Party. [...]
Somehow, Joe Barton — who speaks the truth — has become the issue. As I said, he may have been inarticulate about it. There was no need to apologize to BP, I got that. But if you have an IQ over 12, you understand his point. And his point is we cannot have a President with the power to decide when a company has to cough up tens of billions of dollars without authorizing legislation. [...]
This is not an acceptable position for somebody who poses for the folks as a populist, as a journalist. … To keep pandering and pretending, ‘I stand with the little people against the big company.’ No, you’re screwing the little people! … I’m so sick and tired of the cowardice and the ignorance. I’m so sick and tired of the play to the little guy.
Listen to Levin’s rant (audio courtesy of The Right Sccop):
Levin — who serves as an inspiration for Michele Bachmann and is the author of a New York Times best-seller — has taken aim at other Fox pundits. Earlier this year, he ripped Glenn Beck for being “mindless,” “incoherent,” and “pathetic.”