The BP oil spill - millions of gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, coastal businesses from Houston to Tampa shuttered, the potential for higher energy costs across the country and untold ecological damage. But according to Mother Jones magazine's David Corn, there is a silver-lining in all of this - that is, if you're a Democrat.
MSNBC's June 21 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" deviated from its usual efforts to blame the previous administration for the oil spill and instead gave thanks that the spill led to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
"I think it's every single Democrat in America - they're saying, ‘Joe Barton, you go for it,'" Corn said. "You keep that ranking member position. Don't - you know, stick to your guns. I mean, after all, I mean, you made this point, I've written about this, others have made this point - It wasn't a gaffe. Joe Barton said what he believed."
And although it has been shown Barton's comments weren't a consensus mainstream GOP philosophy, Corn was certainly giddy over the prospects for Democrats come November in the wake of these remarks.
"In the face-off between the Obama administration and BP, he saw good and evil," Corn said. "And the good was BP and the evil was the Obama administration. And that comes out of a hatred or, you know, or an antipathy towards Obama and out of bias in favor of corporations and giving them, you know, personhood and letting them have rule of the roost in Washington. So, right now, I mean - I mean, the Democrats don't want this to go away. Rahm Emanuel made that point very clearly yesterday as you just showed. And the more that Barton stays in the focus, the better off the Democrats are because they need something to run on in November, and it's very hard for them with unemployment being 10 -- nearly 10 percent."
"Countdown" host Keith Olbermann asked if there was any downside to politicizing this tragedy. Corn said he didn't see one.
"If there is, I don't see it. You know, maybe amongst, you know, the large block of votes amongst BP lobbyists," Corn replied. "But other than that, I mean - I mean, it is, as Rahm said, a reminder - the whole Democratic strategy before BP was we want to remind voters that while we're working on financial reform and health care reform, the Republicans, when they were in power, you know, gave corporate power, you know, free reign. They didn't look out for the middle class and we've done this and there is a choice in this election."
Corn said Democrats should apply Barton's apology to all Republicans during the 2010 election cycle.
"Joe Barton came along and made that abstract concept very real and personal," Corn said. "And I don't know if that's going to carry through into November. You know, these things come and go very quickly. But right now, there's no downside for the Democrats beating up on BP and pointing to Joe Barton and the House Republicans as being, you know, the handmaidens of industry."