David Isenberg points to a constructive response to the Robertson inanity, and the idea comes from Hugo Chávez himself (I’m not talking about the “rather mad dogs with rabies” part of the remark, for which I can offer no intelligible explanation. I thought “mad dogs” were by definition rabid; and what’s with the qualifier “rather”? Unless that’s in for the Guardian’s English readership. Rather!) .
Chávez has been using Venezuela’s oil resources as a policy tool, enlisting doctors from Cuba in exchange for discount oil and offering oil to Jamaica at a cut rate. “We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States,” he says.
So far as I can imagine, there’s no way to swing that. “Poor communities” in the U.S. still obtain oil from the transnational corporations that import, refine, and distribute petrochemicals. A tanker of Venezuelan crude might make a nice present, but it wouldn’t provide any very direct benefit to, say, East St. Louis or Camden. Still, it’s more edifying to hear Chávez talk about helping the needy than to hear Pat Robertson bumble through his attempted justifications of his oafish bullying. “I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the US is out to kill him” — so (if Robertson is being honest) he thought that the way to respond to someone who (groundlessly?) feared U.S. assassination squads is to. . . kill him? Open your mouth, Mr. Robertson, and insert entire leg.