When asked yesterday on ABC’s This Week about Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) accusation that the White House engaged in a “shakedown” of BP, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel noted the remark was “not a political gaffe,” but rather a statement based on “prepared remarks.” He linked Barton’s comments to the GOP’s “larger philosophy,” saying it “is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here is BP, not the fisherman. And remember, this is not just one person.”
Conservative pundit Sarah Palin quickly blasted Emanuel’s comments on Twitter, calling them “shallow” and “irresponsible.” Parroting Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) rant against Obama, Palin said “Rahm, u lie”:
The right-wing echo chamber was quick to back Palin’s assertion. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said Emanuel’s statement that Barton reflects GOP philosophy “couldn’t be more wrong.” On Fox News this morning, conservative pundit Andrea Tantoros said “Palin is absolutely right” that Emanuel “has not a leg to stand on.” Watch it:
Despite the conservative howls, some in the media have failed to note that Emanuel’s assertion is evidenced by the Republican Study Committee (RSC). Composed of over 115 Republican congressional members, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Chairman of the House Republican Conference Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the RSC presented a collective view of what it saw as a White House “shakedown”:
BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.
If a chorus of over 115 Republican members agreeing with Barton isn’t a reflection of GOP philosophy, what is?
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and member of the RSC, even described how he would put that philosophy into action. As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes, Issa said in a recent speech to fellow conservatives that, were the GOP regain a majority in the House and should he get the power of subpoena, he “won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.”