It feels like just yesterday that we were treated to a half-baked but ubiquitous Democratic talking point, including from the White House podium, that went something like this: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was using illegal immigrants from Venezuela as 'pawns,' cruelly sending them to one of the most affluent vacation communities in America, as they sought to escape a terrible Communist regime. We thought Republicans hated Communism, they cried, indignantly alleging hypocrisy. Let's set aside the point that asylum-seekers, even bona fide ones, must follow our laws and protocols, which the migrants in question did not. Democrats and their media echo chamber were attempting to claim that Republicans had suddenly gone soft on Communism because they were 'exploiting' some migrants -- who happened to be arriving from a country run by an illegitimate left-wing regime -- to help illustrate a raging border crisis that Democrats and their media echo chamber had been studiously avoiding for months on end. These poor people are fleeing Communism for goodness sake, but Republicans don't care.
That all might feel like yesterday because it practically was yesterday. They were all chanting this supposed point in unison less than a month ago. Fast forward a handful of days, and the Democratic administration has reportedly decided to...enrich that very same Communist regime, in order to alleviate a domestic political problem they've created for themselves:
The Biden administration is preparing to scale down sanctions on Venezuela’s authoritarian regime to allow Chevron Corp. to resume pumping oil there, paving the way for a potential reopening of U.S. and European markets to oil exports from Venezuela, according to people familiar with the proposal. In exchange for the significant sanctions relief, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would resume long-suspended talks with the country’s opposition to discuss conditions needed to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024, the people said. The U.S., Venezuela’s government and some Venezuelan opposition figures have also worked out a deal that would free up hundreds of millions of dollars in Venezuelan state funds frozen in American banks to pay for imports of food, medicine and equipment for the country’s battered electricity grid and municipal water systems...If the deal goes through and Chevron, along with U.S. oil-service companies, are allowed to work in Venezuela again, it would put only a limited amount of new oil on the world market in the short term.
Defenders of this embarrassment will harp on the supposed 'concessions' the regime would be agreeing to -- namely, the resumption of 'talks.' Meanwhile, sanctions get eased, so the oil can start flowing again. This will help fill the coffers of the regime (which the US government doesn't even recognize as legitimate), of course, but it will also allow oil production to ramp up at a time that energy prices are a bit sensitive for America's ruling party. The president has been frantically emptying the strategic reserve here at home, which is meant for real emergencies, not political ones. And now he's apparently prepared to let Maduro and his Communist brethren ramp up their production, too. This White House has been openly hostile to US production from day one, and that dogmatic intransigence is having an impact. They're trying to blunt the resulting political fallout by abusing our reserves, begging OPEC members to keep their oil flowing, and pursuing sanctions relief with the fanatical anti-American cabal that has ruined Venezuela. I guess those emissions don't count, or something. Evidently, the only thing this administration is not willing to do is unleash American energy production, entirely for political reasons. Decisions have consequences:
Keystone XL was scheduled to open in a few months. Seems like a such a thing might have been useful!— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) October 5, 2022
In an exclusive interview on my radio show last evening, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reacted to OPEC's significant announcement about curbing oil production overseas, and remarked on the folly of the administration's backward energy policies and priorities:
RICE: If ever we had a wake-up call about the need to fully develop the North American platform from Canada to Mexico through the United States, the gift that it is to be able to be energy self-sufficient and oh by the way, to produce enough energy to export to other countries. If ever we needed a wake-up call, Vladimir Putin has given it to us. And there’s a second jingling of that call by what OPEC has done. I have to say I’ve always known the Saudis to do what they need to do for their budget, so I wouldn’t read much into this from the point of view of the Ukrainian events. I think this is really the Saudis saying, here’s where the price of oil needs to be for us to do what we need to do. Do you really want to be dependent on the Saudis in that way? Do you really want to be dependent on the Russians and the Iranians? Or would you rather have U.S. be the source of those hydrocarbons?
I know everybody who believes that climate change is a problem -- and I do believe that it’s a problem -- wants to get as much as we can to a cleaner set of sources of energy. That would be called natural gas. And it would also say that that transition is going to take some time. You are not going to be able to get rid of hydrocarbons in the near term. I would rather those hydrocarbons come from the United States and stable places like this. And you can’t send mixed signals to the producers of oil and gas who have long-tail investments. I was a Chevron director in the '90s. The investments that these companies have to make are long-tail investments. So don’t tell them, well, produce for seven years and then we’re going to move onto renewables. They have to have some predictability. And --
BENSON: And by the way, you're greedy right now and we want to put you out of business --
BENSON: -- but produce, produce, produce.
RICE: But produce, produce, produce. And oh, by the way, we’ve given you leases, but not permitting. So the energy policy is, I think, the core of where we have to go if we want to have both a sensible energy policy and energy security.
Instead, as noted above, we're getting this:
This wouldn't be as big of a deal if Democrats hadn't actively opposed refilling the reserve when oil prices were very low. Now we are basically eliminating our reserve just so Biden can pretend he is doing something while his admin refuses to actually help expand production. https://t.co/hHsu4KsMqu— AG (@AGHamilton29) October 5, 2022
Incidentally, Rice is right about the shell game Team Biden is playing with their misleading claims about domestic production. They keep pretending as if the greedy oil companies have a green light to produce more, but they just don't want to. Part of the story is that these companies are dealing with the business-based uncertainty of America's ruling party openly wanting to kill them off, which makes planning major investments rather difficult. Another part of the story is simply the White House hoping nobody knows about this:
“The Biden administration has leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and on federal land than any other administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II”https://t.co/Nkj4JA3eph pic.twitter.com/Rf2GzoYJRf— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) October 4, 2022
This is an ideological choice being made by the Democrats, and in order to try and avoid political blowback from the results of this choice, they're importuning autocrats and despots around the globe to do what they won't allow Americans to do here at home, more reliably and safely. Perhaps voters will take note.