Investors Business Daily notes that however much Democrats like Charles Rangel may try to distance themselves from Hugo Chavez, many have had a history of playing footsie with him.
Democrats who've been cozying up to the Venezuelan dictator in the past few years are the ones who deserve the spotlight.
They have, like Rep. Bill Delahunt, D—Mass., Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R—R.I., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D—Fla., gone on junkets to Venezuela to admire Chavez's "revolution" in his dog and pony shows.
Worse, they've willingly gotten themselves into Chavez's political debt by accepting subsidized heating oil for their supposedly underserved residents. Rangel had nothing but praise for Chavez in February upon taking low—cost heating oil for his Harlem district.
But none have been as involved with Chavez as Delahunt, who brokered Chavez's cheap—oil program. He called Chavez's attack "silly," but then told the Boston Globe it was all Bush's fault.
Earlier this week AT's Richard Baehr covered Delahunt's Republican challenger Jeff Beatty, and prospects for a GOP pickup in the least blue of the Massachusetts Congressional Dicstricts.
IBD also shrewdly notices that these Democrats have created a very awkward problem for themselves.
Disturbingly, the U.S. Energy Department's Sam Bodman dismissed this Chavez oil program as "corporate philanthropy."
It doesn't look like that when we see these same friends—of—Chavez congressmen vote against every single offshore drilling bill and proposed natural gas pipeline when those bills come up in Congress. Chavez desperately wants high oil prices, and to see pro—Chavez congressmen voting against bills that would cut energy prices not just for the poor but for everyone is, frankly, suspicious.
Not all Democrats are as craven as Delahunt & Company, though. The Chicago Democrats of Richard M. Daley, who had the wisdom to veto a bill imposing pat scales on Wal—Mart, are also a step ahead when it comes to understanding the energy market.
These actions contrast sharply with those of Chicago Democrats who told Chavez to beat it with his offer of $4 million in cheap transport fuel, and then started probing Chavez's bid to penetrate their city's electoral apparatus through voting machine contracts.
IBD has been consistently a leader in covering Chavez. The winning streak continues.
Thomas Lifson 9 21 06