by Max Brantley
Why aren't more members of Congress taking up the consumer cause more vigorously against BP? Because many of them are addicted to oil money. Here's a press clip an embattled incumbent could do without this year (and come to think of it, she hasn't exactly been ripping the offshore drilling industry):
This year, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas and chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, leads all candidates with $286,000 in donations from oil and gas companies.
And while Democrats have pounced on Mr. Barton for accusing Mr. Obama of conducting a “shakedown” by demanding that BP set up a $20 billion fund for oil spill claims, a number of Democratic lawmakers — especially those from oil-producing Gulf states — have struggled to balance their criticism of BP with support for the industry.
Here, by the way, is a pretty good column on the Democrats' dilemma and the president's plummeting support.