Top 10 Ridiculous Oil-Spill Quotes From Congress

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If we were to hold a contest for most tone-deaf oil spill comments by members of Congress, it’d be tough to top Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who actually apologized to BP yesterday, for what he called a “shake down” on the part of the Obama administration to get the company to compensate affected Gulf coast residents, then tried to backpedal (sort of). Oof. But he’s far from the only one: I sure hope our Congresspeople are buying offsets, since there have been an awful lot of gaseous emissions coming from them in the wake of the largest offshore oil spill in US history. Luckily, MoJo reporter Kate Sheppard has been there to document it, tweeting the absurdity live from Washington, D.C. Here, culled from Kate’s tweets, are the top 10 most ludicrous, out-of-touch, and generally embarrassing things our Congresspeople have said in the months since the spill began. Begin cringing…now:

10. John Culberson (R-Texas), 6/15, at a press conference: Argues that the BP oil spill “is an anomaly–like an airplane falling from the clear blue sky.”

9. Joe Barton (R-Texas), 6/15, at an Energy and Commerce hearing: “Chinese oil companies are drilling off the coast of Cuba, which means they are drilling off the coast of Florida.”

8. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), 6/15, at an Energy and Commerce hearing: “If this hearing is not about stopping the leak, then why are we here?”

7. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), 5/4, told reporters:”I mean, accidents happen. You learn from them and you try to make sure they don’t happen again.”

6. Pete Olson (R-Texas) on moratorium, 6/15 press conference: “This is a kneejerk reaction by the administration to address a problem that doesn’t exist.”

5. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) 6/15, at a press conference: “It’s a shame we can’t drill ANWR. It’s a shame we don’t get that energy off the coast of Florida.”

4. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.), 6/15, at an Energy and Commerce hearing: argued that the treatment of oil executives has been “disrespectful.”

3. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), 6/15, at a press conference: “I resent the fact that [Obama’s] trying to blame some of this on Bush. On 9/11 I don’t remember Bush trying to blame this on Clinton.”

2. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), 6/9, at a press conference: “The bridge to that promised land of renewable energy is built out of fossil fuels.”

1. Joe Barton (R-Texas), 6/17, apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward at an Energy and Commerce hearing: “I am ashamed … that a private corporation can be subject to what I would characterize as a shake down.”

Don’t miss a second of Congress’ oil spill hijinks! Follow Kate Sheppard on Twitter. See MoJo’s complete oil spill coverage here.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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