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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Another circus was presented on Capitol Hill yesterday when the CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about his company's role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

I use the word "testify" advisedly because I don't have a better word to describe it, but if you think that what happened yesterday has anything to do with the dictionary meaning of testify:

1 - to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief
2 - to express a personal conviction
3 - to make a solemn declaration under oath for the purpose of establishing a fact

You would be wrong.

Rush Limbaugh

None of those things happened.

Tony Hayward was either hypnotized by his lawyers into forgetting everything he ever knew about the oil business, including how to fill his car with petrol; or, he is the most disengaged executive of a major corporation since the late Ken Lay was unclear about the financial condition of Enron.

In addition to Hayward using every possible combination and permutation of "I don't know," "I don't recall," and "I can't answer that," the ranking Republican on the Committee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tx) had a brain freeze and apologized to Hayward for President Obama getting Hayward's agreement to put $20 billion into an account to pay for the damages Hayward's company may have caused, had Hayward been able to remember the name of the company he works for.

Joe Barton's statement was so outrageous that the Republican House Leadership demanded he apologize for his apology which is a little like looking into a mirror with a mirror behind you so you end up looking at an infinite number of images of yourself.

Congressional Democrats are attempting to make the case that the Obama Administration has not had the time to fix the problems at the Minerals Management Service which (according to them) grew during the Bush Administration.

It would be useful for Congressional Republicans to point out that the Ds have Controlled Congress since January 2007, with the responsibility to oversee Executive Branch operations which you might have thought they would do gleefully during the last two years of the Bush Administration.

If the Democrats had spent a little less time trying to find a way to haul Karl Rove up under oath, and a little more time doing the job we are paying them to do, maybe some Congressional staffer would have realized that walrus don't live in the Gulf of Mexico.


All of that overwhelmed the release of some polling numbers which may add to the woes of Democrats running for re-election in November.

CNN released a poll showing that, although the President remains at about a 50 percent approval rating overall:

"58 percent said they were 'not very confident' or 'not at all confident' that his administration could prevent another spill like the one in the Gulf of Mexico, and 68 percent doubted the Gulf could be restored to its former condition.

Earlier in the day, the Pew organization released a poll of non-US citizens' view of President Obama which, overall, showed much higher numbers than his approval here at home. However, among Muslims, support is faltering in spite of a major speech to the Muslim world he gave in Cairo last year.

The Washington Post reported:

"According to a new poll, the Muslim world has not exactly grasped [Obama's] extended hand. In fact, Muslims have lost confidence in Obama over the past year, the poll found.

"In Egypt, the Arab bellwether nation where Obama chose to deliver his speech, the U.S. standing today is worse than during the final year of the Bush administration."

Congressional hearings are like USA Network's summer replacement series: Lots of fun to watch, but nothing much memorable happens.

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