Joe Barton

The Odd Couple: How Two Wildly Different Congressmen Made Peace Over Privacy
March 15, 2012

On February 17, three members of Congress sent a concerned letter to Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. They were spurred by a report in The Wall Street Journal detailing how Google had deceptively tracked users of Apple’s Safari web browser “without their consent or knowledge”—and in violation of a Safari setting designed to protect against such tracking.

No Love Gained
January 27, 2011

Cliff Stearns wanted answers. Just not, mind you, complicated answers. Stearns, the Florida Republican who now chairs the House energy and commerce oversight subcommittee, decided to hold a hearing Wednesday on Barack Obama’s promise to snip away outdated federal regulations. In theory, Stearns had the ideal witness: Cass Sunstein, the White House’s "regulatory czar," who, in his past life as a law professor (and frequent TNR contributor), seemed like he published a new book on subjects like cost-benefit analysis every few months.

Is It Time To Reconsider The Light Bulb Ban?
November 19, 2010

When, exactly, did light bulbs become a conservative litmus test? Back in 2007, if you'll recall, George W. Bush signed an energy bill that tightened efficiency standards for lighting. It wasn't a big deal at the time. The bill just meant that manufacturers would slowly have to phase out their old, power-hogging incandescent bulbs in favor of something sleeker, like compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, starting in 2012. (This wasn't technically a ban on incandescents—more on that in a sec.) A few disgruntled libertarians complained, but life went on. Alas, that was then.

High Noon For Climate Skepticism
September 14, 2010

It's been a good year for climate skeptics. Not, mind you, because they've been vindicated at all on the merits. Quite the opposite: 2010 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, Arctic sea ice continues to thin out, heat waves have been torching Russia, and nearly one-fifth of Pakistan has been submerged underwater. The science on global warming is still overwhelming. But politically, skepticism is at its zenith. Consider: During the sweatiest U.S.

Passion Pit
July 12, 2010

Washington—If the midterm elections were held now, Republicans would likely take control of the House of the Representatives. It's as hard these days to find a Democrat who's not alarmed as it is to find a Cleveland Cavaliers fan who's cheering for LeBron James. Worse for Democrats: They face two very different challenges, and addressing one could make the other worse. The outcome of the 2010 elections thus depends in large part on whether they can find a solution to a set of simultaneous equations before November. On the one hand, independent voters are turning on them.

Misdiagnosing The GOP's Ailments
June 24, 2010

Former Giuliani aide John Avlon complains about the Texas Republican Party: What’s the matter with Texas? Congressman Joe Barton’s bizarre apology to BP last week is only the beginning. Ditto the newly released Republican Texas State Party Platform ably solidifying its worst stereotypes—calling for the re-criminalization of sodomy and making gay marriage a felony.

Leaving Global Warming To The Bureaucrats
June 21, 2010

In his TRB column this week, Jon Chait argues that EPA regulation is the best option left for tackling global warming, given the deadlock in the Senate. True, relying on the EPA's regulatory tools won't be the most elegant or efficient way of reducing greenhouse gases—a market-based cap-and-trade system would be far more flexible. But Senate conservatives are dead-set on blocking the elegant and efficient solution.

Birch and Barry
June 21, 2010

Washington—Barack Obama's campaign promise of change did not include a pledge to transform American conservatism.

Be There and Be Square
February 24, 2010

The White House has released some more details about Thursday's Blair House meeting: Who will be there and the shape of the table where they'll all be sitting: The President will be seated in the middle of one side of the hollow square, with the Vice President, Secretary Sebelius, and congressional Leadership seated alongside him.

Can Climate Polls Tell Us Anything Useful?
December 18, 2009

There are any number of ways to read (and, yes, spin) this latest Washington Post/ABC poll on Obama and global warming. Take the headline figure: Americans now only barely approve of the president's handling of climate change, 45 percent to 39 percent, which is down dramatically from his 61-29 approvals back in April. Is that because people genuinely don't want him to deal with the issue?

Pages