It’s Sunday night, the Democrats are debating on CNN, I’m waiting for the Red Sox/Yankees to start and

half-listening to Wolf Blitzer grill the candidates on high gas prices. Sen. Chris Dodd starts talking and I think I hear him say:

“…when the price of a barrel of oil gets beyond $40 a barrel, where there’s plenty of profit here, that those dollars ought to be returned to the consumers in a rebate or plowed back into the research that would allow us to develop alternative technologies.”

Huh? I reach over and crank up the TV. Did I just hear a presidential candidate in the year 2007 say we need price controls on oil? I wait for Wolf to pounce, for some CNN fact-checker to follow up. A major party candidate just called for Soviet-style price controls and…

Nothing.

After the debate, I check the transcript and, sure enough, those were Sen. Dodd’s words, verbatim. The price of oil SHALL be $40 a barrel, and if you sell it for more than that, evil Exxon, the government will confiscate every penny.

Radical. Idiotic (more on that in a moment). And nobody even noticed.

Being a naïve idealist, I live under the delusion that some statements are so obviously nonsensical that, if spoken on national TV in the presence of journalists, news will ensure.

I need to spend more time with Democrats.

Sunday night, former U.S. Sen. John “Rich? Who’s Rich?” Edwards announced that the War on Terror is a sham, a bumper sticker invented by George W. Bush. It was a dopey statement when Edwards first made it two weeks ago. But it was a gutsy one to make the very same day American newspapers trumpeted a foiled plot to detonate the jet fuel system at JFK airport. Kennedy isn’t too far from Ft. Dix, N.J., where a plot was uncovered just weeks ago to murder hundreds of American soldiers.

Al Qaeda’s battling in Lebanon, Islamists attack troops in Thailand, terrorists are rounded up in Spain — all in one week — and John Edwards says the war on terror is just a bumper sticker? How does he explain all these people trying to kill us — guerrilla marketers?

In the same debate, Sen. Barack Obama suggested that America let Osama bin Laden slip away from Tora Bora because “we were distracted” by war with Iraq. We invaded Iraq in March 2003. Tora Bora was December 2001. I don’t think even our special forces guys are equipped with psychic powers…

These are just a few of the ridiculous-yet-unchallenged assertions made by Democratic candidates for president. A room full of reporters, millions watching at home, and nobody spoke up to say, “Uh, excuse me, Senator? About that math…”

Which brings us back to Sen. Dodd and his $40 a barrel price caps. The idea, at least as expressed by Sen. Dodd in the debate, is dumb beyond belief. Chris Dodd can set the price for a barrel of oil at 32 cents and a jug of Granny’s XXX ethanol squeezin’s and it won’t make any difference.

Why? Because no oil company is going to sell a barrel of oil in the U.S. for $40 that it can sell in China or India for $60. Think about it: Would you? In fact, Dodd’s dopey plan would actually drive the price of gas to new highs, because refineries that can’t buy gas have a hard time making gasoline.

This is Econ 101. This is common knowledge. And, apparently, this is beyond the grasp of a candidate for President of the United States. Isn’t that news?

How does someone like Sen. Dodd get away with being this clueless?

The same way Sen. Obama could say he only supports amnesty for illegal immigrants who “play by the rules,” (if they played by the rules, Senator, they wouldn’t be illegal); or Sen. Edwards could promise to pay for his socialized medicine program by getting rid of “George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich,” even as those lower tax rates generate record amounts of new tax dollars; or Dennis Kucinich could casually comment that “people want to love America again,” without a single Democrat replying “I love America right now, Dennis. Don’t you?”

I’m not suggesting anyone — especially the media — should start taking Dennis Kucinich seriously. I just want to know how far into La La Land a Democrat must wander before anyone in the media, or in his own party, will intervene with the facts.