More from the damned if you do, damned if you don’t world of professional Bush-bashing and with the usual dose of outright ignorance included. Bush is in Latin America, promoting better housing, health care and education for the region’s poor. This is part and parcel of the Bush administration policy of focusing on Latin America and Asia, instead of the decaying countries of Western Europe. The overall policy runs back to the earliest days of the administration and the first Bush campaign and its quiet, continued implementation is one of the great success stories of the administration. But the Bush-bashers are painting his trip promoting what could best be described as a liberal, progressive agenda as nothing more than an attempt to erode the power base of the left’s newest favorite Marxist popinjay, Hugo Chavez. But I digress…
Today Bush is promoting another leftist plank – biofuels. Specifically he’s announcing an agreement with Brazil to share and promote new ethanol production techniques. This should be cause for some celebration at places like CNN, right? Perhaps even a grudging admission that Bush is doing something right is in order? Nah! He’s just trying to start an “OPEC-like cartel on ethanol.” Here’s Bush doing something that liberals ought to be praising and instead they come up with a completely nutty assessment of what he’s up to. An OPEC-like cartel on ethanol? Where to begin…
Okay, how about with the easy part. For a cartel to work there have to be barriers to entry, conditions which prevent new competitors from entering the market. A cartel on oil production is relatively easy since oil production has to happen where the oil is and there are at most a couple of dozen countries with enough excess oil to export it after meeting their own needs. Ethanol on the other hand? It takes a source of sugar or, with a bit more work involved, starch, water and yeast. Is there a country that produces beer, wine or vodka? That country is already making ethanol. If wine can be made in a bathtub by a college student, ethanol for fuel isn’t enough of a challenge to allow for a “cartel.”
Aside from the ridiculous notion that a “cartel on ethanol” is even possible, if Bush were starting one, I doubt it would be “OPEC-like”. What are the two main characteristics of the OPEC cartel?
- Nationalizing the oil industry
- Production quotas set by an international organization
Do Bush’s professional detractors really imagine a Republican President elected by “red state” farmers implementing a program of nationalizing farms and surrendering regulation of farm output to a supranational “government”? Even if the concepts didn’t run against the philosophy of the Bush team, the farmers would likely show the liberals pretty quickly that there are good alternatives to impeachment when you don’t like a President.
And they haven’t even started the contortions to explain why Bush would do this when they claim (ludicrously if they actually read his bio) that he’s got a financial interest in “Big Oil”. This conspiracy theory is going to be a tough sell, but if the left is successful, it will prove what H.L. Mencken said about democracy – the people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard.