Patterico's Pontifications

6/23/2010

Poll: Texas Think Barton’s Apology Was a Major Mistake

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 pm

[UPDATE 6-24-10 8:20 p.m.: Shockingly, Jeff Goldstein has lied about my position yet again. Let me make this clear: see that P.S. below where I say I am NOT advocating surrendering principles for power? I wrote that BEFORE he dishonestly and selectively quoted the below post to suggest that I advocate surrendering principles for power. I wrote it precisely because I knew how he would twist my words, and so I wanted to go on record saying the exact opposite so it would be clear what a shameless liar he is.

Which, it is.

Original post follows.]

Public Policy Polling reports:

Only 18% of voters think that BP deserved the apology Barton sent its way last week to 65% who think it did not. Barton doesn’t even get much support from Republican voters on that front- only 23% of them say it was right to apologize to BP. With Democrats and independents the numbers are even lower at 17% and 12% respectively.

. . . .

This episode is having a negative impact on how voters in Texas perceive Barton overall. Only 21% have a favorable opinion of him while 28% see him negatively. 42% of voters in the state think he should resign from his leadership position to 31% who think he should remain in it.

The poll also reports that Texans agree with Obama’s actions in pressuring BP to set up the escrow fund.

If only Republicans had doubled down on the apology and backed Barton to the hilt! What a missed opportunity!

. . . to completely fuck ourselves.

Let’s say it together, outlaws: persuading the public doesn’t matter. Elections don’t matter. Only principles matter. Precious, precious principles that can’t be put into effect because we have nobody in power.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go write another post about how angry I am at something Obama did.

P.S. And no, I am NOT saying abandon principles in favor of winning elections. That would be stupid and would make elections pointless exercises in achieving power for its own ends, which would be ridiculous. I am saying we need not face a choice between adhering to principles and persuading voters. We should be able to do both — if we’re smart about it, and willing to admit when our brethren are being stupid about it (rather than doubling down on their stupidity, as some seem to advocate).

Sincere thanks for SPQR for alerting me to the need to clarify this for the benefit of others who might seek to willfully misread me. Tough to imagine that could happen, I know . . .

UPDATE: OK, I think this is slightly less compelling than it seemed at first blush. The .pdf of the full results is here. The question asked certainly doesn’t give Barton’s side of things:

Do you think BP deserves an apology for being asked by the president to compensate the oil spill victims?

The results would be more convincing if they could have found a neutral way to convey Barton’s concerns, the Obama response, and let the respondent decide. (Feel free to tell me how you would word such a question concisely and neutrally for a telephone poll.) Admittedly, this question is fairly one-sided as posed.

Me, I think the results would not have been much different unless the question were loaded in Barton’s favor. But it’s tough to know until they ask a better question.

111 Responses to “Poll: Texas Think Barton’s Apology Was a Major Mistake”

  1. Yes, I know. If only Republicans had backed Barton, public perception would be for him.

    Yes indeedy. And if only we had run someone against Obama who had the courage to stand up and proudly proclaim that he intended to provide the country four more years of Bush! Because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what the country wanted. It’s just that McCain was too much of a PUSSY to sell that message.

    That’s right: I said PUSSY. I talk tough on the Internet, brother. A lot tougher than you.

    Sign me: Anonymous.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  2. Texans think that Barack Obama’s right and Joe Barton’s wrong when it comes to BP’s responsibility for cleaning up the oil spill,

    Did Barton ever question whether or not BP was responsible? I hope their polling question was better than the lead on their blog.

    JD (23a165)

  3. Oh: because certain “outlaws” love to misrepresent my position on this, let me say this clearly right up top. Then the outlaws can selectively quote me and distort my position — an event that is just around the corner, as sure as Obama’s next major screw-up.

    I think Barton was probably right that this was a shakedown. Had he not been such an idiot as to apologize to BP, the company that is befouling the Gulf of Mexico, I would have supported his point that this was thuggery — which it certainly appears to have been.

    Moreover, I never supported taking Barton out of context. I defended Barton against Rahm Emanuel taking Barton out of context. The trouble is that an apology, even when placed in its proper context, is still a fucking apology and is still incredibly poor judgment.

    But words matter. Apologizing (for someone else’s actions, no less) matters. How reasonable people view the words used by the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee matters. It matters to voters, which means it matters to elections, which means it matters to who is in office.

    You can’t take the ivory tower position that elections don’t matter, and that who is in power doesn’t matter, and then bitch incessantly about the results of elections.

    Check that. Obviously you can.

    OUTLAW!

    Patterico (c218bd)

  4. Barton is an idiot. Like an earlier post said, there were ways to ask the questions that would get the message out and not look stupid.

    BradnSA (24ba37)

  5. Meghan’s daddy has significant bravery issues but he gets a pass cause he is not the future cause he’s super old and even he no longer fancies himself presidential.

    But Mr. Barton, I thought he was brave until he apologized for his apology. But still, events might could vindicate the good Mr. Barton I think.

    The more people what are thrown out of work by our hypothetical president the more likely Mr. Barton will be seen to have spoken a troof I think.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  6. we should revisit this question often in the coming years… you know… together, as a party

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  7. If only Republicans had doubled down on the apology and backed Barton to the hilt

    Perhaps you are being sarcastic about the view of some people, but I’m finding the position you’re carving out to be a inaccurate characterization of what I think many have said.

    To me, “doubling down” means simply saying the same thing louder and saying again that you are right. I imagine some people “out there” have essentially said that.

    Others of us have said that while we do not agree with Barton saying what he said in the way he said it, that we agree with his claim, and rather than just apologizing for the apology and everyone saying, “Oh, how could he have said such a thing?!?!”, you apologize for not making your sentiments clear, that you were in no way excusing BP or against their being held responsible, but making the point that our legal system already provides for these kinds of negotiations without the President directly doing anything, and you thought if it really was an important thing to do it should have been done long ago and you were suspicious that the main reason Obama made such a fuss of it as he did was to boost his numbers, not because it was a vital move at a vital time.

    And it is not that persuading the public doesn’t matter; it’s that if we can’t persuade the public by pointing to and claryfing the truth, whatever else we do doesn’t matter, because public opinion will always be at the mercy of who has the best PR campaigns. I do not want to be dependent on having the best message manipulators.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  8. MD, he blew it when the words first came out. He might as well have said nothing at all afterwords.

    BradnSA (24ba37)

  9. to ask the questions
    -BradinSA

    Ah, someone else actually watched the stupid damn hearings, then.

    Barton did not do his job. He could have exposed some serious problems by asking about the shakedown. Instead, we got a foolish expression of a legitimate grievance with no substance.

    And the other fools kinda fell over too. I don’t think they should have cheered the ‘apology’ version of this. They should have simply come out and made the argument better. And Barton wasn’t the only Republican completely failing, in that hearing, to ask informed and informative questions.

    Barton is right that this is something to be ashamed of, but he made it seem like he was ashamed for something someone else did, which comes across as fake and patronizing.

    I really want to defend him for actually spitting out the work ‘shakedown’, especially in the face of the GOP leadership who did no better by threatening his rank.

    In fact, his apparently politically godawful sentence sounds a lot like the crap I say sometimes, trying too hard to talk about ugliness in a nice way. He’s still one of our better representatives, in my opinion.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  10. The problem lies in the Republican Study Group, had essentially the same argument, yet they repudiated
    Barton, and they look silly at it. Rest assured as
    with every initiative, like the mortgage relief that
    went to actual prisoners, the BP escrow will prove to be a sham

    ian cormac (7bb4f2)

  11. Ok, Patterico, I’m mostly on your side in this theme of yours …

    Epic communications fail.

    But I don’t think that the situation is an excuse for Republicans to abandon principles.

    I know that’s not what you meant with the line next to last. I’m just saying.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. I like how MD characterized this.

    JD (23a165)

  13. But I don’t think that the situation is an excuse for Republicans to abandon principles.

    I know that’s not what you meant with the line next to last. I’m just saying.

    Of course that is how it will be characterized.

    But my intent, not that some dishonest people care, is to address those who characterize this as a choice between principle and winning elections.

    As you are saying, SPQR, we need not abandon principle to care about persuading the public. That is a false choice.

    Might be worth a clarification.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  14. Hear, hear. Wasn’t attempting to mischaracterize your comments.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. What was the specific question they asked in the poll? I could not find it at the link.

    JD (23a165)

  16. You don’t have to abandon principles, you just have to have someone charismatic enough to make people understand them. Not some old guy no one relates to that probably doesn’t share them anyway.

    BradnSA (24ba37)

  17. I wonder if Barton focuses closely on people’s ideology — on whether they’re of the left or right (or so-called middle) — the way I do? That’s because I know public sentiment is a big part of the dynamics of politics. If someone like Barton doesn’t understand that, he quite easily can end up a fool, certainly when it comes to strategy.

    Unless he lives in some kind of bubble — like a rightist version of a typical professor in a cozy university setting or a liberal residing in ultra-leftwing San Francisco — he has to be aware that there are a lot of squishy, contrarian people out there. Some of them are closeted liberals on various occasions. He certainly has to be aware that the media is loaded down with “progressives” who will happily play the role of the double-standard phony, in which he’s on one side, his opponents on the other.

    Moreover, BP’s hands are not clean. If their track record on operating the exploded oil rig had been impeccable, then Barton would have had more to back up his comments. But assuming he’s not a total ignoramus on all the negative details that have come out on BP, he should have known better than to craft his POV in such a tone-deaf way.

    Mark (411533)

  18. Ace has been compellingly arguing that principles require a little cunning in application.

    People who are stubborn, or for some reason just plain feel like being high and mighty and superior, often condemn the cunning and calculated campaign to get principles into power. They say they are the truly principled, but really, it seems kinda like a cop out because they know damn well they ain’t ever going to get anywhere politically that way.

    Politics is very much a world of compromising. Especially and mainly on the way you convey your message.

    In fact, we are truly abandoning our principles to the political wilderness if we do not massage how we convey them to the people, which is damn hard work… the hardest work politicians ever do.

    How are we going to convince hundreds of millions of Americans to make do with a government that is less funded to nanny them, feed them, regulate away boogeymen, and give them retirement benefits? I can stand on principle here, but how do I convince at least many of those 52%ers?

    I don’t have the chops to do it, really, but the fate of the nation is at stake if someone else doesn’t do exactly that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  19. Hear, hear. Wasn’t attempting to mischaracterize your comments.

    I know you weren’t. But you and I both know that there are those nominally on our side who will willfully misread me. If I can word my statements more clearly so that I can more easily defend my statements against the inevitable dishonest attacks, so much the better.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  20. JD:

    I am assuming the poll was a dishonest distortion, as it likely didn’t pose the question in the only fair way possible:

    Q. Do you support or oppose the courageous efforts of Joe Barton to hold our Pretender in Chief responsible for his thuggery?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  21. But assuming he’s not a total ignoramus on all the negative details that have come out on BP, he should have known better than to craft his POV in such a tone-deaf way.

    “Pragmatic” conservatives like you, who sanctimoniously criticize Barton after the fact, allow Democrats to frame the narrative and steal our intent, if not our very souls.

    /outlaw

    Patterico (c218bd)

  22. If you are assuming it was a dishonest distortion, why would the results matter? And that is most certainly not the only fair way to pose the question, and certainly not the position I would take.

    JD (23a165)

  23. If I can word my statements more clearly so that I can more easily defend my statements against the inevitable dishonest attacks, so much the better.

    lol, Is it that hard for a lawyer to be concise?

    BradnSA (24ba37)

  24. lol, Is it that hard for a lawyer to be concise?

    Sure.

    Watch:

    What’s your point?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  25. BradnSA:

    If it’s prolix verbiage you’re looking for, steel yourself for the sanctimonious response to this post, due out around 11 a.m. tomorrow. At least one sentence over 100 words or I owe you a Coke.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  26. If you are assuming it was a dishonest distortion, why would the results matter? And that is most certainly not the only fair way to pose the question, and certainly not the position I would take.

    I’m letting my sarcasm get the better of me, and it’s not directed at you, JD. You’re making a good point; a couple of them, actually.

    How could I criticize someone who, according to Joe the Cut-and-Paste Blog Drama Enabler, is my secret ghey pal?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  27. What’s your point?

    errr, I don’t understand your comment.

    What I really don’t understand is how Barton didn’t realize what he was saying wouldn’t blow up in his face.

    BradnSA (24ba37)

  28. Shhhh, that is supposed to be on the downlow.

    Patterico – If the first sentence of the blog post is indicative of the poll question, then you are absolutely correct in assuming that the question was a dishonest distortion.

    JD (23a165)

  29. Patterico – The polling is for crap:

    Do you think BP deserves an apology for being
    asked by the president to compensate the oil
    spill victims?

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  30. If the first sentence of the blog post is indicative of the poll question, then you are absolutely correct in assuming that the question was a dishonest distortion.

    Could be. Kind of like the dishonest distortion involved in implying that I support taking Barton out of context, by writing a post that leaves out the context where I explicitly say the opposite.

    I’d link the post in question for you, but then it might create a trackback that of course would have to be deleted, as all my trackbacks are now deleted by that paragon of honesty and open debate.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  31. Patterico – The polling is for crap:

    Do you think BP deserves an apology for being
    asked by the president to compensate the oil
    spill victims?

    Indeed. If the question didn’t use the word “shakedown” then it was loaded. Using that term would be the only neutral way to portray it.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  32. daleyrocks – I cannot imagine how they got those numbers with that question.

    JD (23a165)

  33. What I really don’t understand is how Barton didn’t realize what he was saying wouldn’t blow up in his face.

    I read your comment 27 as possibly being a criticism of me. If it wasn’t intended that way, I accept that.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  34. I do not recall Barton questioning whether or not BP was at fault, or whether or not BP should be compensating the victims.

    JD (23a165)

  35. Do you think BP deserves an apology for being
    asked by the president to compensate the oil
    spill victims?

    This is a distortion, of course, since Barton was (clumsily) apologizing because they weren’t asked, but forced.

    Even if they weren’t forced, that’s exactly what Barton was sorry about. And of course Texans aren’t sorry they were asked to compensate victims. I do wonder how this would poll if they used the word forced or made clear this was outside the judicial system.

    Barton still should have made the point instead of apologizing for a point he missed a chance to make.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  36. Patterico – Barton apologized for the way BP was treated, not specifically for being asked to compensate victims of the spill.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  37. I apologize for Barton apologizing about his apology.

    JD (23a165)

  38. Barton was probably trying to make a propaganda point, and did it so badly that it became a propaganda point for the otherside.

    It’s what Ace said in the post you quoted the other day–it would have been far better to ask questions and get the facts on the record.

    I’ve heard that the 20 Billion was BP’s idea, and all Obama did was get them to agree to their own proposal, and then take credit for it.

    I’ve also seen speculation that the 20 Billion will turn out to be a liability cap, allowing BP to have a firm figure on what it will have pay out (which does tie in with Obama’s claim that he wants to keep BP stable).

    Ace’s proposed questions would have let us know the truth on those points. Instead we merely have more thermally agitated gas.

    kishnevi (a6ffde)

  39. Goodnight, folks.

    JD (23a165)

  40. Poll link

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  41. daley,

    I found the poll link in the comments at the link post already; thanks for providing it nonetheless. I think you guys have a fair point and I have updated to reflect that.

    I’d be interested to know how others would concisely and neutrally word the question.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  42. Well, that is not all Barcky did, kishnevi. He put one of his czars in charge of it, something I doubt BP had in mind. Plus, his statements and those of his henchmen leading up to the meetings and agreements suggested that they were going to “persuade” BP to do what Barcky wanted. It would be a shame to see something happen to that there company.

    It would be nice if they would release the full terms of the agreement.

    Now, goodnight. I have an early morning.

    JD (23a165)

  43. Barton was probably trying to make a propaganda point, and did it so badly that it became a propaganda point for the otherside.

    I have a different take. And I like Barton, but I think he was being lazy. I think he and his staff failed to do their job and wanted some exposure so they simply did what most of these hearings do: make little speeches and sermonize the entire process instead of using the hearing to investigate some important matter.

    It’s like Judge Ito or Marsha Sharp giving sermon after sermon to OJ about why murder and domestic violence and racist investigators are all terrible, but refusing to allow any testimony. And the jury, the American People, are not convinced by that kind of crap.

    They say you shouldn’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to, but Barton should have asked real questions. An apology has no logical place from a questioner in a hearing, in my opinion.

    I do think some of this reaction is in hindsight. Barton made a goof and I don’t think it’s quite as bad as Krauthammer said it was. It’s one of many stupid things people say. The real mistake is the failure to do the real work of the committee hearing.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  44. The question is dishonest because at least a month before Obama got around to asking them to compensate victims or even talk with BP execs the CEO of BP had already stated that the company would compensate victims.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  45. Patterico – Barton apologized for the way BP was treated, not specifically for being asked to compensate victims of the spill.

    But whether Obama “asked” or “forced” is a matter of opinion, and while this question was loaded, it would also be loaded to ask if BP deserves an apology for being forced to compensate victims.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  46. I really do need to go to bed, but I do not understand how it would be loaded to ask if BP deserved an apology for being forced by the Barcky admin to compensate victims, since that was the crux of what Barton’s words were. Nobody forced them to compensate victims. They were already doing so. They did get “forced” to set up an escrow fund, hand over the keys to Barcky’s pay czar, etc … Whether or not they would compensate victims was simply not in question.

    JD (23a165)

  47. Here is a good concise poll question.

    Barcky OBambi. Douchebag. Yes or no?

    Goodnight.

    JD (23a165)

  48. The question is dishonest because at least a month before Obama got around to asking them to compensate victims or even talk with BP execs the CEO of BP had already stated that the company would compensate victims.

    Sure. And any time a major corporation says they are going to compensate victims, you can bet they will. Just as soon as the litigation is over. Shouldn’t take more than a few years at most.

    Yes, I know, they were paying out claims. To what extent the claims were being fully met is an open question (to be sure, as is the question of whether all the claims had merit).

    There is no easy answer to all this. I acknowledge that the question is somewhat loaded. I doubt the results would have been much different had it been asked differently, and I continue to believe Barton’s apology was a fuck-up, and any attempt to double down would have been disastrous.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  49. Patterico at 48 – While I don’t neccassarily trust Hayward to carry out the compensation I trust Obama at least as little. Is the categorization as an Obama slush fund fair? I don’t know, but many prior financial issues have been poorly handled by this administration in partisan fashion.

    Have Blue (854a6e)


  50. I really do need to go to bed, but I do not understand how it would be loaded to ask if BP deserved an apology for being forced by the Barcky admin to compensate victims, since that was the crux of what Barton’s words were. Nobody forced them to compensate victims. They were already doing so. They did get “forced” to set up an escrow fund, hand over the keys to Barcky’s pay czar, etc … Whether or not they would compensate victims was simply not in question.

    While I personally tend to view this as a shakedown, I think it is an open question and a matter of opinion. As is the issue of whether the company would have FULLY AND PROMPTLY compensated anyone hurt by their gross negligence.

    This confirms what I suspect, however: some of you aren’t really objecting to the question being loaded — just to the fact that it’s not loaded your way.

    Again, if someone can come up with a neutral way of phrasing the question, have at it. I can’t think of a way that is not too verbiose for a poll. Polls generally don’t try to overcharacterize matters but rather evoke the issue in neutral language and rely on the voter’s familiarity with the issue. The only neutral way I can think of would be: “Do you think BP deserved the apology Joe Barton gave to them?”

    And I doubt the results would be much different.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  51. While I don’t neccassarily trust Hayward to carry out the compensation I trust Obama at least as little. Is the categorization as an Obama slush fund fair? I don’t know, but many prior financial issues have been poorly handled by this administration in partisan fashion.

    I agree and I share your concerns. My guess is that aggrieved people will mostly get paid off, but also, people will get paid who were hurt by Obama’s illegal moratorium. Which is not BP’s responsibility. And on the margins, there will be money thrown to his pals and contributors. You can’t have a large fund like this without that happening.

    But all these confident assertions that BP would have taken prompt action to fully compensate all aggrieved parties — forgive me if I am a bit wary of the accuracy of these pronouncements.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  52. I remember when this thread only had five comments.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  53. @Patt,

    no worries about your what’s the point answer, I thought it was funny and have thick skin anyway. I also drink diet coke -).

    bradnsa (4ca520)

  54. allow Democrats to frame the narrative and steal our intent, if not our very souls.

    Speaking of which, that makes me think of George W Bush coining the phrase “compassionate conservative,” probably due to his falling for the stereotype — fostered by all the phony-ass “progressives” throughout society — that the rightist is unkind and ungenerous while the liberal is so wonderful, humane and philantrophic. Of course, Bush may not have been aware of the surveys that I’ve become acquainted with over the past few years that indicate just the opposite is true.

    I won’t mention my also originally falling for the BS that Herbert Hoover — actually a very squishy Republican — was the reason Franklin Roosevelt became one of the great saints of liberal America, because Hoover, unlike FDR, was a cold-hearted cheapskate rightwinger. Ha!

    Returning to Bush again, not much better was the belief of his top advisor, Karl Rove, who somehow fell for the notion that the Latino community in America would be less leftwing if Republicans didn’t antagonize them with anti-illegal-immigration legislation. Uh, Mr. Genius Strategist, how the hell do you square that with all the simpleton, inner-city type of liberalism that has been evident among a huge percentage of Mexican voters for decades and decades?!

    Mark (411533)

  55. Patterico – Why not ask the question along the lines that Barton framed his apology – Do you believe that BP deserved an apology for the way the president treated them at the White House?

    Most people would go Huh? Too bad, but it tracks what he said.

    Btw, does Mrs. P know that JD is your butt buddy?

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)


  56. Patterico – Why not ask the question along the lines that Barton framed his apology – Do you believe that BP deserved an apology for way the president treated them at the White House?

    Most people would go Huh? Too bad, but it tracks what he said.

    It would also track what he said to ask whether BP deserved an apology for the shakedown they suffered at Obama’s hands.

    “The way the president treated them” implies negative treatment. You want a push poll, just one that goes your way.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  57. “You want a push poll, just one that goes your way.”

    Patterico – Wrong. I’m trying to track what he actually said, but don’t let me get in the way of your rant.

    “It would also track what he said to ask whether BP deserved an apology for the shakedown”

    He used the word shakedown after he apologized for the way BP was treated. More neutral my way.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  58. Look all around you, people. There’s a bit of the idiocy and phoniness of limousine liberalism lurking in the hearts and minds of your fellow Americans. Perhaps even in your own brain too.

    online.wsj.com, June 23, 2010:

    Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll…Sixty-three percent support legislation to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of alternative and renewable energy sources, even if it means an increase in energy costs.

    If a large number of people believe the country is on the wrong track, and they want to point the finger of blame, many of them had better start peering in the mirror.

    Greece and Spain, here we come!

    Mark (411533)

  59. huh

    From reading the thread from the beginning I guess what I see to takeaway is that everyone at some point goes off half cocked and then doubles down…

    The real message should have been don’t apologize for “the apology” but instead double down on the message. Change the subject to the one we want to talk about.
    Democrats are pretty deft at it… “$90,000 in cash in my freezer? Racism…” That almost worked for goodness sake

    SteveG (11baba)

  60. Patterico – Wrong. I’m trying to track what he actually said, but don’t let me get in the way of your rant.

    It’s not a rant. I’m making a rational point. You seemingly want to ask the question in a way that suggests that Barton was right. That is not neutral.

    Once again: I would be fine with asking it in a way that sets forth each point of view and asks the question neutrally.

    But if I say: daleyrocks is distorting what I said (not really claiming this, just using it as an example to make the point), it would not be a fair poll question to ask: Was Patterico wrong to get upset at daleyrocks for distorting what he said?

    I mean, it would “track what I said” — but it would also assume the truth of my loaded claim. That would be unfair, wouldn’t you agree?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  61. Again, I’m not saying with that example that you are really distorting what I said. Quite the opposite: I am using that as an example of an unfair claim, for the purposes of analogy.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  62. Btw, does Mrs. P know that JD is your butt buddy?

    As JD said, that is on the downlow. Even more on the downlow: what Joe does to little boys.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  63. Let’s say that you are representing an innocent “Blago” being tried in the court of public opinion and he blurts out some incredible stupidity before you can cut off his microphone.

    1. I doubt you make him apologize

    2. I’ll bet he gets some incredibly contagious virus during the lunch hour and needs to be quarantined for a couple weeks

    3. Since you still have to represent the guy on every TV channel, you have to make something positive out of this… how do you suggest going about making the best of it and not getting stuck in the small story? How do you rewrite this chapter (because if you don’t your opponent will)?
    Probably the simplest thing to do is to articulate truths of the larger story in way that can be commonly understood.. a $20 B deal was supposedly done in an hour… behind closed doors… outside of the rule of law.. by the self proclaimed most transparent; most ethical administration ever…

    Apology? what’s sorry is this bumbled mess in the gulf, what’s sorry is people out of work, what’s sorry is Interior Sec Salazar misrepresenting science to stop all new drilling and putting an entire local industry at risk in an already hard hit region of our country during hard economic times, what’s sorry is hearing nice speeches from leadership about being on it from day one and that this is the number one priority before heading off to play golf and catch a ball game. There’s is a lot of sorry stuff going on that is way more important than Barton. Talk about that.
    Talk about that for the media the big picture may be a gaffe, but to the American people the big picture is how big brother can’t organize a couple extra skimmers much less run the economy or god forbid understand what running an effective counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan entails

    So next time the opposition offers you a turn at the pulpit for what they think is a groveling, maybe finesse it into a bully pulpit instead. Eventually they’ll get snakebit and realize that pointing out minor BS the public really doesn’t WANT to care about just gets them an asskicking.

    Also, ask yourself how much the Republican reaction/response contributed to the numbers collected in this dubiously worded poll… because in my opinion, handled properly, the most popular response to Barton’s gaffe would be “OK that sounded dumb, but why are we talking about that when there is so much other way more important stuff going on?”

    SteveG (11baba)

  64. Proposed Poll Question:

    Question 1: Are you familiar with BP and Obama’s negotiation process over a $20 Billion victim compensation fund?

    If yes:

    Question 2: Do you believe that BP deserves an apology over aspects of this negotiation process?

    I can see someone saying this isn’t fair because ignorant voters are nonetheless turned off by Barton’s apology.

    Perhaps, then,

    Regarding the BP $20 billion oil leak victim compensation fund, does BP deserve an apology over aspects of the negotiation process?

    I suspect most will say no. I say yes, but most say no. Do these questions seem neutral enough?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  65. The key is to expose that whatever those questions are about and thus however they are phrased irrelevant to the larger and more important stories out there.
    Because this whole thing is a tempest in a teapot dome and the quicker we move on to substantive discusions about substantive problems the better…. so why not just move on from minute one?
    It’s not like the Democrats ever apologize for anything Maxine Waters says. It’s not likely they’ll apologize for what they said about General Petraeus the first time around… they’ll just move directly on to whatever their their primary message is. They won’t even address gaffes or hypocrisy

    SteveG (11baba)

  66. I agree that it’s probably best to leave out the comments about the boot on the neck and such.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  67. Hmmm.

    Update: patterico has to backtrack.

    memomachine (24fbc0)

  68. At issue is the media and publi”sound bite” mentality….must get your attention and hold it for the short moment that your attention CAN be held…Americans are impatient, and unwilling to examine rhetoric for FACTS….wanting to BELIEVE the source they go to for whatever prejudicial partisan drivel they drink. Barton could have NEVER explained in the Hearing WHAT he meant…but the other Congressfolk KNEW what he meant…and that is why both parties had to pillory Barton rather than ADMIT that the Obama White House blackmailed the BP executives with threats of criminal prosecution…in order to force them to do under the name of an OBAMA demand for a fund…that which BP was already prepared and willing to do. Obama and his thugs used illegal process to force a private corporation to fund liabilities without going though our LEGAL process….because then more would have to be discussed about the Federal Government’s role and collusion behind the disaster….and Obama is a sound bite hero…nothing more…and he plays to the great ignorance and impatience of the American voters that want someone to tell them what to think, and then how to throw the bums out….NEVER what to DO and WHY without a partisan and campaign spin attached to it.

    Barton is NO FOOL. He got this thing a huge sound bite…and got BOTH parties scared like hell, because the GOP AND the Dems that are incumbents are AT RISK in November as both are complicit in the Gulf disaster.

    NOW BOTH have to do a coverup of the facts and act like the other is stupid and incompetent before the REAL TRUTH is highlighted by Rolling Stone or some other doper magazine that OUR CONGRESS and WHITE HOUSE ADMINISTRATION are INCOMPETENT…and only want re-election and spending power to themselves…and that is ALL they fight for….not for the security and well-being of the nation and the normal average family citizen.

    RUFUS (2e765d)

  69. #

    Btw, does Mrs. P know that JD is your butt buddy?

    As JD said, that is on the downlow. Even more on the downlow: what Joe does to little boys.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/23/2010 @ 11:42 pm

    WHAT KIND OF STUPID LOW CLASS BS IS THIS KIND OF POSTING….IS THIS THE RUDE CRUDE CHILDREN’S BLOG THAT I WANDERED INTO BY A TERRIBLE MISTAKE THINKING MAYBE SOME ONE HAD SOME INTELLIGENCE HERE?

    RUFUS (2e765d)

  70. But the Medellin Chamber of Commerce Journal, I mean Rolling stone, is a party to the Obama and the Cap n trade hoax, and would like to surrender to the Salafi, hence the spin on their stories

    ian cormac (7bb4f2)

  71. RUFUS is the smartest one I think I will just bask in the smartness here a moment.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  72. happyfeet – He used ALL CAPS, he must be SMART.

    JD (d55760)

  73. But all these confident assertions that BP would have taken prompt action to fully compensate all aggrieved parties — forgive me if I am a bit wary of the accuracy of these pronouncements

    Don’t we have an entire legal system in place should people choose to avail themselves of same?

    JD (d55760)

  74. Foreign investment in dirty socialist victim-mentality failmerica is going to be much more carefully structured in future I think. We’ll become more like China where people create shell companies and only take 49% stakes so they can cut their losses.

    America is a bad place to invest.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  75. Update: patterico has to backtrack.

    A little, yeah. Commenters here made a good point about the actual content of the poll question.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  76. I agree that it’s probably best to leave out the comments about the boot on the neck and such.

    I have asked you for a neutral and concise way to word the question, but all I have gotten is a loaded response and/or some sarcasm.

    Maybe you think this really isn’t a matter of opinion?

    Is it also beyond any rational dispute that BP was going to promptly and fully pay off every aggrieved party?

    Are these all “facts” that could be reported on the front page of the New York Times without labeling it a “news analysis”?

    WASHINGTON D.C. — Following an election lost because Republicans lacked the courage to defend the positive legacy of former president George W. Bush, the thuggish Barack Obama today conducted a shakedown of BP, despite the fact that the company was certain to compensate every person harmed by the oil spill in a prompt and complete manner.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  77. everything big
    Texas sky hair graciousness
    now even assh*les

    ColonelHaiku (c2b11b)

  78. The problem is PPP frames the question, with the most advantage for the Dems, and then editorializes
    on how correct they were in the first place

    ian cormac (7bb4f2)

  79. I’m discouraged as I read this thread this morning and just spoiled my appetitie for breakfast.

    For your benefit, Patterico:

    1. Barton made a BIG mistake when he said what he said in apologizing to BP, maybe only a mistake in wording, but it was still a mistake to said what he said. (I personally think it was definitely a mistake only in wording, not as a matter of fact, but I’m wording this in a way I think our host is most comfortable with.)
    Repeat ad infinitum. I say yet again, Repeat ad infinitum.

    2. Patterico defended Barton against Emanuel’s attacks as Emanuel took Barton’s statement out of context and distorted the meaning of what Barton said. (Both what he said and what he intended to say, so there
    Repeat ad infinitum. I say yet again, Repeat ad infinitum.

    Patterico – Why not ask the question along the lines that Barton framed his apology – Do you believe that BP deserved an apology for way the president treated them at the White House?
    Most people would go Huh? Too bad, but it tracks what he said. Comment by Daleyrocks

    It would also track what he said to ask whether BP deserved an apology for the shakedown they suffered at Obama’s hands.
    “The way the president treated them” implies negative treatment. You want a push poll, just one that goes your way.

    Comment by Patterico

    Patterico, I think you’re being hasty about accusing people of just wanting to do a “push poll” their way.

    The poll question clearly did not capture what Barton actually said or implied.

    Perhaps this (off the cuff):

    - Are you familiar with the story about Barton giving an apology to BP? Yes, or No

    - If you are, was Barton apologizing for:
    1. being asked to pay for damages from the oil spill
    2. how they were asked by President Obama
    3. Something else

    - Do you think Barton wants BP to pay for damages for the oil spill? Yes, or No

    - Do you approve of the way President Obama has communicated with BP during this event? Yes, or No
    – If “No”, can you give a reason (or reasons) why?

    I think we’re spending way too much time being agitated over principles about principles or no principles.

    Any conversation that is worth a millisecond of time will admit that:
    1. If you give up all principles you’re good for nothing.
    2. If you don’t care about how principles are communicated you’re good for nothing.
    3. Important dialogue has to do with how to communicate the principle in a way that does not compromise the message, and this is a discussion that not everyone will agree with the details, but if calm heads prevail important things can be thought about.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  80. ,
    If the principles in this instance are free market and energy independence — neither is absolute. As pointed out in another thread they are things mediated by the people. I am absolutely with Patterico’s view of this. It was not just bad politics. It was bad statesmanship.

    nk (f9ce34)

  81. Would this phrasing be neutral enough?

    Do you think Rep. Barton’s characterization of the BP-White House negotiations as a “shakedown” is fair?

    [I think that's a good question. -- P]

    kishnevi (202292)

  82. Posting from Blackberry. Didn’t see your comment until I had posted mine, MD in Philly.

    nk (f9ce34)

  83. “Elections don’t matter. Only principles matter.”

    Yeah, I agree with that.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Better to lose EVERY election than to compromise on that prinicple.

    Dave Surls (24953f)

  84. Dave Surls, you sound like a patriot, and I don’t think you have what it takes to save our country from the likes of Mccain, Obama, and their many friends.

    Maybe that’s the voter’s fault and not yours, but I’m think a lot of people have decided that compromising our principles, at least insofar as we are careful in how things are phrased to the voters, is an acceptable cost of stopping democrats. Only problem is that Mccain types aren’t democrats.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  85. Comment by nk – No probs, nk.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  86. “but I’m think a lot of people have decided that compromising our principles, at least insofar as we are careful in how things are phrased to the voters”

    Can’t go along with you on that one, Dustin.

    A lot of people didn’t like what abolitionists had to say in the years before our Civil War, but the abolitionists were right, and they were right to speak their piece and force the issue.

    If the government is using threats and intimidation to extort money from people without due process, then people need to stand up and speak against it, whether it offends folks in Texas or not.

    Given the record of the Democrat Party, which has used every dirty trick in the book, up to and including enslavement and mass murder to enforce their will, constantly questioning their tactics and motivations is entirely appropriate. And, if that offends folks, that’s just too damned bad.

    I don’t know if BP did something wrong or not, and I don’t know if they ought to be made to pony up or not, but I do know that I wouldn’t trust ANY member of a political Party that in the past championed slavery (just to mention ONE of the many egregious unjust acts carried out by the Democrat Party) and that now pubilically states its desire to use the power of government to “redistribute” wealth, to make that determination.

    If BP did something wrong and/or is liable, let it be decided by a jury in a courtroom setting…not by members of the Democrat Party meeting in a backroom somewhere.

    Dave Surls (24953f)

  87. Dave, you’re right. I think the GOP must stand up for the right of people to settle their disputes in court instead of by force so the government can cynically get the first grab at BP’s wealth before they are bankrupted.

    And the people have a right to a process that answers questions about blame instead of letting a powerful and blameworthy leader assign blame.

    On the other hand, I want to compromise the framing of this to the point where we are saying

    ‘This seems like a shakedown, answer these questions about that:’

    Instead of ‘I apologize to you, BP’.

    I worry that Boehner’s level of compromise is going too far, and Barton’s isn’t going far enough. I don’t ask us to betray our principles so much as sell them with finesse. BP is deservedly hated, the GOP didn’t shake them down, and we need to avoid framing ourselves as the sorry.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  88. Instead of ‘I apologize to you, BP’.

    That might could be the case, provided you do not listen to the words that came before, or after, that little nugget.

    JD (23a165)

  89. JD, that’s true, that’s true. What Barton actually said wasn’t nearly as big a deal as what he did not say (My alternative).

    He choose to go there, to the shakedown issue, by sermonizing. He should have, instead, done his job at the hearing and made the case he seems to know must be made.

    When he sermonized, he did so in a way that would be chopped up and abused. Is that his fault? Good question, and the GOP was insane to threaten him over this.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  90. I buy commas at Sam’s Club in bulk.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  91. “Given the record of the Democrat Party, which has used every dirty trick in the book, up to and including enslavement and mass murder to enforce their will, constantly questioning their tactics and motivations is entirely appropriate. And, if that offends folks, that’s too damned bad.”

    If by “mass murder,” you mean the Trail of Tears, you may want to be careful. This native South Dakotan can assure you that, under that sort of interpretation, the GOP of the 1880s can be held culpable for such atrocities as Wounded Knee.

    Point being this: You’re letting your obvious hatred for all things Democrat cloud your judgement WRT Barton’s egregious apology, and the GOP’s appropriate response.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  92. “A little, yeah. Commenters here made a good point about the actual content of the poll question.”

    - Patterico

    Evidence of how a man handles it when his opponents point out a flaw in his argument – as opposed to spewing endless reams of pedantic bullshit which accuse said opponents of being too stupid to understand his argument in the first place.

    Patterico’s point is that in an era of sound-bytes, Barton’s delivery was bad politics. daley: if you want to argue that an era of sound-bytes is a bad thing, I’m with you 100%; but I don’t think there’s any arguing that Barton’s move was ill-advised – the fact that we’re even talking about it means it was ill-advised.

    [note: released from moderation. --Stashiu]

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  93. “Move” should read “phrasing”. Trying to be consistent here – I think it’s legitimate for Barton to suggest that this might be a shakedown, even though I’m sure that’s a debatable point.

    And, also for the record, I think it’s totally unfair for the media to latch onto Barton’s apology as some sort of BP BJ in light of all the disclaimers he tacked onto it. It’s sensationalized news at its worst, and it’s very very depressing.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  94. “the fact that we’re even talking about it means it was ill-advised.”

    Leviticus – I disagree. We are talking about it because the left has in predictable fashion dishonestly twisted his words and the GOP leadership stepped on their dicks making him take back his words.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  95. What I’m saying is that from a political standpoint the “in predictable fashion” part of things is something Barton should have accounted for if he had the best interests of his constituents and his party in mind.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  96. Which is what I think Patterico is saying (which would mean I’m not saying anything new), but I won’t put words in his mouth.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  97. “What I’m saying is that from a political standpoint the “in predictable fashion” part of things is something Barton should have accounted for if he had the best interests of his constituents and his party in mind.”

    Leviticus – First, Barton made it clear he was only speaking for himself and not for his party. Second, how is it not in the interest of his constituents or party to point out that shredding the constitution through extra-judicial shakedowns of corporations is not the way we are supposed to do business in this country, but par for the course for the Obama Administration. Obama is providing great encouragement for foreign investors in the U.S. Legal system, we don’t need no damn legal system.

    ‘Splain that Lucy.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  98. “First, Barton made it clear he was only speaking for himself and not for his party.”

    - daleyrocks

    Really? I didn’t here about that, because I don’t frequent political blogs. And now I’m pissed off at Barton for bending over backwards to assuage those British sonsabitches, and I’m goin’ fishin’ on Election Day.

    You do get the point, right? If you are saying that it’s better for Barton to make a principled stand and eschew diplomatic phrasing even if it costs his party a bundle of seats in November, that’s fine. I actually agree with you. But I delight in the electoral pain of both parties, and I think this might cause some for the GOP. Do you not think that this will hurt Barton, or the Republican Party?

    [note: released from moderation. --Stashiu]

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  99. liberals know the
    meaning of unspoken words
    kreskin would be proud

    ColonelHaiku (c2b11b)

  100. “here”. yikes. Hear. I didn’t hear about that.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  101. “Barton should have accounted for if he had the best interests of his constituents and his party in mind.”

    Leviticus – I also like to think that not every statement out of politician’s mouth has to be made with a campaign in mind, which is perhaps why Barton added his qualifiers, but I may be deluding myself.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  102. Perhaps it shouldn’t have to be that way – hell, forget “perhaps” – but I think it is, and it’s as much the fault of politicians as anyone. Anyone except the media, anyway.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  103. ‘If by “mass murder,” you mean the Trail of Tears’

    No, actually I was talking about the reign of terror carried out by the Democrats in the post civil war south.

    Although, the Trail of Tears is a pretty good example of just how much Democrats can’t be trusted with power.

    They’re not above perverting the power of government and stealing everything a group of people own and/or running them off to concentration camps, as they’ve proved on more than one occaision.

    Dave Surls (605b72)

  104. Hey, who would have thought that Jeff Goldstein would distort my post in precisely the way I predicted?

    Patterico (49873a)

  105. No, actually I was talking about the reign of terror carried out by the Democrats in the post civil war south.

    I see. The fact that someone’s great great grandfather was a murderer is incontrovertible proof that that person is also a murderer.

    Besides, you don’t want to go back that far if you’re a Republican. Back then the GOP was the party of big government, ready and willing to go to war to impose their idea on the rest of the country….

    kishnevi (437df2)

  106. kishnevi,

    This is off-topic but I recently saw your comment regarding FEMA and natural vs man-made disasters. Thanks for telling me that. It sounds like FEMA is in charge of natural and man-made disasters (such as hazardous spills), but maybe not.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  107. Right, kishnevi, Republicans ought to be ashamed of their party being willing to fight the Civil War …

    sheesh. That’s pathetic.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  108. “Hey, who would have thought that Jeff Goldstein would distort my post in precisely the way I predicted?”

    Weather tomorrow?

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  109. SPQR–the Civil War was over two things that got hopelessly intertwined: centralized federal government and slavery. The Democrats were against the former and for the latter; the Republicans were for the former and against the latter.
    DRJ–do you happen to know what (if any) role they played in the Exxon Valdez? The explanation I heard related more to the fedgov declaring an area a disaster area than to FEMA per se–and was focused more on the rationale that BP should pay than on actual jurisdiction.
    And since we’re wandering offtopic, I found this site, but haven’t dug into it yet (if nothing else, have to find out which counties are on the border, etc.) which has county by county stats going from 1994 to 2007, broken down by crime, and includes property crimes as well as violent crimes.
    http://www.criminal.com/statistics/arizona/
    Those are the kind of stats needed to confirm or refute Maguire’s argument.

    kishnevi (437df2)

  110. Kishnevi,

    I promise I’ll post on it, and it’s my fault we went off-topic — but let’s drop this topic for now. I don’t mind it on posts I write but not on someone else’s posts.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  111. “Those are the kind of stats needed to confirm or refute Maguire’s argument.”

    kishnevi – It was the New Yorl Times’ argument. All Maguire was doing was showing that they did not have the data to draw the conclusions that they did. You criticize him as if he were writing a fresh piece on the subject as opposed to pointing out the flaws in someone else’s work. There is a major difference.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)


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