I've noticed that disgraced Republicans tend not to remained disgraced for very long, at least not in the eyes of their fellow conservatives. When Rep. Joe Wilson shouted "You Lie" during a presidential address to Congress, he was quickly forced to apologize. But within a couple of weeks, the episode had morphed from career-defining embarrassment to fundraising opportunity. Today, Wilson is not only a Republican in good standing, but a sort of C-list GOP celebrity. (Maybe he'll get an infomercial.)
When Joe Barton issued his apology to BP last week, Republican leaders jumped on him as quickly as they had Wilson and forced an apology (it took a couple of tries). I happened to be talking with a buddy at the time, and bet him that Barton wouldn't remain a pariah for long. I admit to having had a twinge of doubt when I read that the GOP leadership was considering forcing him to step down. But it looks like my original hunch is going to be vindicated--and that the half-life of a Republican gaffe is becoming even shorter.
The Miami Herald reports that Barton will be a "Special Guest" at a fundraiser next week for Florida Republican Cliff Stearns. Wow. It's been less than a week and Joe Barton has already been laundered.