REPUBLICAN DECRIES OBAMA ‘ARROGANCE’ OVER FIGHTING FOR GULF COAST…. Ever since Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) public apology to BP, Democrats have been desperate to characterize the Republican Party as siding with the foreign oil giant over U.S. interests. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but it amazes me to see so many Republicans help Democrats in this endeavor.

In some instances, this has meant a direct endorsement of Barton’s sentiments, as well as the argument from the 114-member Republican Study Committee. In other instances, we see Republicans pushing the line that President Obama shouldn’t have been aggressive in urging BP to set aside money to help victims of the spill.

“It’s my opinion that Mr. Barton and Mr. Price’s comments were more of a reaction to the arrogance in President Obama’s speech, where he said he was going to ‘inform’ BP that they would set aside this separate compensation fund to be controlled by a third party,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). “Under our laws and Constitution, the president does not possess the power or authority to make such an arrogant command to a private company.”


Well, at least Franks resisted the urge to say “uppity.”

Comb though that rhetoric, and you’re left with a bizarre conclusion: Obama took a firm stand in the hopes of securing funds for devastated families and small businesses, and succeeded. Republicans don’t like it, Trent Franks said, because the president was “arrogant” about it.

Substantively, “under our laws and Constitution,” presidents have the ability to stand up to private businesses and fight for struggling Americans. We’re better off when presidents do exactly this. This may be an unfamiliar concept to Republicans, but that doesn’t make it illegal.

Likewise, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told CNN he’s concerned that the talks between the White House and BP weren’t “fair,” because BP was the “very weak party in terms of public relations.”

Notice, Coburn isn’t happy about this. Some of us might be inclined to think this was a good thing — the foreign oil company responsible for the worst environmental disaster in American history was weakened, making it easier for the president to get funding for victims — but Coburn is worried about whether BP was treated fairly.

There’s no doubt whose side Obama is on — he’s the one fighting for the Gulf Coast. Oddly enough, there’s also no doubt where Republicans’ loyalties lies — they’re the Party of BP.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.