Americans have been laboring under the delusion that we had to travel halfway around the world to find a gaggle of dangerous nut cases. Who knew we could have hung out in the western hemisphere and found all we wanted in Venezuela?

Things are going badly in that workers’ paradise. Inflation is rocking along at 45 percent, and they’re running out of foreign currency to use because their own probably sees its highest and best use in Venezuelan restrooms. So what do the leaders of that fair nation do? In that grim state of affairs with an election looming on the horizon, they kick out three American diplomats, including Charge D’Affaires Kelly Keiderling, the top diplomat in the absence of an ambassador.

Dealing with that bunch, the diplomats are probably about ready for a break.

President Nicolas Maduro assured himself of a nomination for an Oscar in the “Most Worn Cliche of the Year” category in announcing the expulsion. “Yankees go home,” he said in English. (No, he really did; we can’t make up this stuff). Who knew he was a Red Sox fan?

Maduro accused the Americans of conspiring with the “extreme right” and attempting to sabotage the country’s power grid. Really? Why stop there and leave Bigfoot, UFOs and Elvis on the table. But then again, it’s hard to argue about meeting with the “extreme right” when everybody not to the left of Josef Stalin looks right-wing to the Venezuelan leadership. Jane Fonda and Ed Asner would qualify as stodgy conservatives there.

The Obama administration engaged in the necessary waste of time defending its diplomats and denying that it threw squirrels into substation equipment or whatever means of sabotage it was supposed to have used.

There is likely little that President Barack Obama can or should do with the oil rich country that seems to have made tweaking Uncle Sam’s nose its national ambition. He can hope that the Venezuelan people eventually tire of the foolishness and elect sane leadership. Until then, his best hope is to just ignore the yapping little dog nearby and hope that he stays in his own yard.

— Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, Oct. 7

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