Showing posts with label Congressman Joe Barton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Congressman Joe Barton. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Congressman with Guts Takes on Obama -- Doug Patton

Few members of the United States Congress are willing to risk their careers to state the truth to the American people. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is one, but unfortunately she has announced she is calling it quits after four terms in the House. 

In the ten years I’ve known him, Iowa’s Steve King has never shied away from the truth for the sake of political correctness. 

Texas Congressman Joe Barton had the courage to call Barack Obama’s extortion of $20 billion from oil giant BP after the Gulf oil spill exactly what it was — a shakedown. Sadly, the GOP “leadership” slapped him down for it, threatening to strip him of his committee position if he didn’t apologize. 

Rep. Joe Wilson told the world the truth, albeit somewhat crassly, when he called out “You lie!” to Obama during the State of the Union speech.

South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy (who should give serious consideration to challenging RINO Lindsay Graham for his senate seat) lit up the Twitter universe after telling IRS official Lois Lerner that she had waived her right to plead the 5th Amendment by making an opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee. This is just one of many bold acts that have made Gowdy a hero to freedom-loving Americans.

But few congressional statesmen in our time have emerged to so utterly speak truth to power — the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth — as did U.S. Rep. Jim Brindenstine, a courageous Republican from Oklahoma who, in a little more than a minute on the floor of the House, summed up the corruption and lawlessness of the President of the United States. 

Here is the text of Rep. Brindenstine’s remarks:

“The president’s Justice Department sold weapons to narco-terrorists south of our border, who killed one of our finest. The president’s State Department lied about Benghazi with false information provided by the White House. The president’s attorney general authorized spying on a Fox News reporter and his family for reporting on a North Korean nuclear test. The president’s Justice Department confiscated phone records of the Associated Press because they reported on a thwarted terrorist attack. The president’s Treasury Department uses the IRS to target political opposition. The president’s Health and Human Services secretary pressures insurance companies she is supposed to regulate to promote ‘Obamacare,’ which is the same law she uses to force citizens to pay for abortion-inducing drugs against their religious liberties. The president’s dishonesty, incompetence, vengefulness and lack of moral compass lead many to suggest that he is not fit to lead. The only problem is that his vice president is equally unfit and even more embarrassing.”

Of course, since Brindenstine calmly delivered these blistering words on the House floor, more scandals have emerged from the most scandal-ridden administration in history. For example, we are learning that communications giant Verizon handed over to Obama’s NSA the phone records on as many as 100 million Americans, allegedly to fight terrorism. 

We learned during House Judiciary Committee hearings that the IRS deliberately leaked the names and addresses of the donors to a pro-marriage group in order to help the fanatical leftist bullies in the gay mafia (otherwise known as the Human Rights Campaign) harass their political enemies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (even Bill O’Reilly figured it out) to deduce that the Obama administration now has the goods on every member of Congress (or anyone else they would like to blackmail) who uses Verizon cell phone service. Do you believe they would hesitate to use such information?

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder defiantly announced that he has no intention of resigning. And why should he? He and his boss, Barack Obama, have spent the last four and a half years making the Congress of the United States largely irrelevant. And other than the handful of House members already mentioned — and perhaps a few senators like Ted Cruz — it is hard to imagine anyone in the congressional leadership who is willing to take the steps necessary to reclaim the constitutional authority they have allowed Obama to steal from them.

© 2013 by Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at and/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Objective/Practical Conservative vs Dogmatic Conservative and the Republican Party - Gerald Florine

It was with some concern that I read last week’s column (Monday, June 21, 2010
God Bless Joe Barton, So Long GOP -- Doug Patton) by O.C. contributor Doug Patton regarding his decision to part company with the Republican Party over the issue of Congressman Barton’s apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward during Congressional hearings on BP’s role in the gulf oil disaster. In such a decision, one has to determine one’s personal balance between values and objectives, and the impact of one’s decision on contemporary circumstances. Mr. Patton obviously determined that his values overrode pragmatism, and some unfortunate timidity on the part of Republican Congressional leadership regarding comments by Mr. Barton. I can certainly understand Mr. Patton’s frustration with what has occurred, and with some in the Republican Party hierarchy. But in the opinion of this hopefully, pragmatic, hopefully “objective” conservative, there is both right and wrong in what Congressman Barton said, in the reaction of the Republican House leadership, and that Mr. Patton’s approach might be somewhat self defeating in his reaction to what has transpired.

Let me begin with Congressman Barton. Yes, I fully agree that BP was the victim of an Obama “shake-down”, and that the Obama Administration is guilty of gross hypocrisy when it comes to the rule of law!

When it comes to trying or retaining “terrorists”, the Administration portrays itself as sticklers for human rights and the rule of law (as contrasted to the alleged “war crimes” of the Bush Administration!). When it pertains to corporate entities, they completely ignore established law and choose to rule by decree and intimidation! In the case of BP, the company had agreed to meet the financial obligations of the oil spill. But that obviously wasn’t enough for the Administration! Obama wanted to show that he was “in charge” after negative public reaction to date to his leadership in the aftermath of the blowout, and he was going to deal vigorously with BP. Unfortunately, the Administration’s reaction to and handling of the oil spill has appeared to have been derelict and bordering on irresponsible. At the same time, there appears to be every indication that BP carelessly attempted to minimize expenses and cut corners in its attempt to bring Deep Horizon quickly on line. Congressman Barton’s error, in his frustration with the Administration’s handling of the situation, was to apologize to CEO Hayward! It would have been constructive for Mr. Barton to question the process by which BP was to cover the costs of the disaster, and question why the Administration thought it was necessary, other than for political reasons, to badger BP into establishing the escrow account. Mr. Barton should NEVER have apologized to Mr. Hayward! It merely added to the elitist media’s ongoing charges that the Republicans are in bed with the evil capitalists! Congressman Barton was correct with much of his commentary. But an apology was absolutely not required, and was a political faux pas!

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership then went into full panic mode. Realizing the potential political damage of Barton’s apology, and rather than using the situation to make the necessary rational points, they succumbed to the fear of the media and populist rebuke (forget MSNBC & CNN, etc. - even Fox’s Ted Baxter (one has to listen to Rush on this one!) was on his bully pulpit!), and forced the Congressman to recant his apology and apologize himself for fear of losing his seniority! This points to at least two major problems with current Republican Congressional leadership. They appear to be frightened of the Beltway and Big Apple pundits, even to the point of being unwilling to occasionally stand up for their principles in the face of the Administration’s onslaught on the very foundation of law, government, and social institutions! It literally sent chills up my spine recently when Nebraska Republican National Committeeman Pete Ricketts, whose conservative credentials certainly are not in doubt, stated that we don’t like to use the term “capitalism” any more because of its growing negative connotations in the elitist media! Which essentially means that we are allowing the Administration and elite media to set the “definition” agenda!

Redefining that agenda will require a pragmatic approach based upon the basic ideals that we understand to define our governing principles. At a time when there is a populist fervor emanating from multiple directions (Tea Party groups, anti-incumbency movements from both left and right, righteous indignation from both socialist left and libertarian right), the Republican Party must seek to form a coalition of voters that will potentially lead to control of at least one, if not both, houses of Congress this November, in order to stem the statist tide that threatens to destroy this nation economically, as well as undermine every basic principle upon which this nation was founded! So, yes, there needs to be more backbone shown by the Republican Congressional leadership. It does come, in fits and starts, from individual members of Congress, as well as a few Republican governors (or Ex’s!). At the same time, the leadership was probably correct in coming down hard on Congressman Barton for his ill-timed apology, albeit in a manner that reflected poorly on themselves, rather than pointing the finger back at the Obama Administration, where the focus should have been!

The next question is how should concerned Republicans / conservatives react to all of this? Mr. Patton, certainly a principled man, chooses to leave the Republican Party because of its timidity and failure to reflect the “purity” of Mr. Patton’s conservative beliefs. Personally, as a self proclaimed pragmatist, I also strongly believe that it becomes incumbent upon Republican Party activists to work to apprise their Party officials and elected representatives of their concerns, and, if necessary, dramatically lobby to demand that those representatives more vocally and effectively represent the basic ideals that have made this nation strong for over two centuries, overcoming, at the most critical moments, various monumental hurdles.

How else than through the Republican Party can this be accomplished? Certainly not by an assortment of fringe groups with various and sundry goals! Would not a third Party effectively give permanent control to the Democrat Party, controlled by the most extreme leftist elements?
A political Party is necessarily a coalition of relatively like-minded individuals, who nevertheless provide a spectrum of thought, which ultimately will coalesce around ideas and ideals that are functional AND idealistic! The political ideological pendulum swings back and forth. When it swings too far in one direction, as it has now, it becomes necessary to be vocally active, and, in some cases, to sacrifice what is necessary to achieve those goals! It has become necessary to attempt to shake Republican leadership out of their Beltway lethargy, and provide a rallying point for their constituents. At the same time, it is incumbent upon individual members of the Congress & Senate (i.e. Representatives Terry, Fortenberry, Smith, and Senator Johanns) to also provide that leadership to their constituents, and reflect that to their leadership! Let’s bring our concerns to them! Let’s let them know that they must be that first line of defense against the horrors of what we see emanating from the White House and the Democrat Congressional leadership. Perhaps Mr. Patton believes that leaving the Party will draw the necessary attention to achieve those goals. It is my considered opinion that the ONLY organ we have available to defeating the leftist onslaught is the Republican Party. Let’s do everything we can to help it get the job done!

Monday, June 21, 2010

God Bless Joe Barton, So Long GOP -- Doug Patton

June 21, 2010

Mark Bradley and I have been friends for 25 years, and we have worked together on more than a few Republican campaigns. He's the issues wonk; I'm the word guy. For years, Mark and I have been daring each other. I've been challenging him to put his name on a ballot — something I recommend all Americans do at least once in their lives (yes, I've had my turn) — while Mark has been daring me to change my political affiliation from Republican to Independent. I'm still waiting for him to run for something, but last Friday I made the leap from "R" to "I."

I don't remember which of the GOP congressional leadership's insipid, cowardly acts finally drove Mark from the party. For me, it was watching Rep. Joe Barton, R-TX, being thrown under the bus by House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor during House Energy sub-committee hearings last week. They even threatened to strip Barton of his committee assignment. His crime? Telling the truth about the Obama extortion of a private company.

"I'm speaking now totally for myself…but I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton told BP CEO Tony Hayward during the hearing. "I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown — in this case a twenty billion dollar shakedown — with the attorney general of the United States conducting a criminal investigation…participating in what amounts to a twenty billion dollar slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got no legal standing, and which sets what I think is a terrible precedent for the future.

"If I called you into my office…and said, 'If you put so many millions of dollars in a project in my congressional district,' I could go to jail — and should go to jail," Barton continued. "Now there is no question that BP owns this lease…BP made decisions that objective people think compromised safety…[and] BP is liable for the damages. But we have a due process system where we go through hearings and litigation to determine what those damages are and when those damages should be paid.

"So, I'm only speaking for myself…but I apologize," Barton concluded. "I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure, that again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize."

I have no sympathy for BP. Eleven people died when the Deepwater Horizon exploded. There can be little doubt, whether due to negligence or pure bad luck, that BP is responsible not only for the original accident but also for the cleanup and the damages to coastal businesses. It was BP's rig pumping BP's oil for BP's profits. They took the risks for the profits, and there are penalties on the books for such calamities as this one.

But let us also never forget that this is not Venezuela and Barack Obama is not Hugo Chavez, much as he may thirst for that kind of power. To bring in BP's chairman and board members and order them to fork over $20 billion is exactly what Joe Barton called it: a shakedown. The President of the United States is tasked with enforcing the laws, not making up new ones as he goes along. We live in a constitutional republic, not a dictatorship nor an oligarchy. He has no authority to do what he has done. But then, that has rarely stopped him in the last year-and-a-half.

Obama's actions should outrage every American, but it should have the Republican congressional leadership absolutely up in arms. God bless Joe Barton and the handful of courageous House conservatives like Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa, who have defended him. Shame on the congressional cowards who are condemning him.

I believe passionately in the principles spelled out in the Republican platform, and I have been a registered Republican for most of my adult life, but until the GOP leadership stops tinkering around the edges and starts defending this nation against the Marxist tyranny of this president, I will remain a proud, independent conservative.
© 2010 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton is a former speechwriter and public policy advisor who now works as a freelance writer. His weekly columns appear in newspapers across the country and on various Internet websites, including Human Events Online and, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers can e-mail him at