Ben Stein's Diary

Points of Interest

As if Obama could just press a button on a computer game and “reset” relations so we are all friends.

By From the November 2012 issue

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WHERE THER HECK AM I? I awakened from a night of terrifying dreams of being kidnapped and having someone take over the steering wheel of a car I was driving and other people keeping me from getting work in Hollywood and then my showing up at the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, being shown to my old office from 1972, and being shown a towering stack of cases I was supposed to be working on. I often have that dream. I was upset and confused.

But where the heck am I? I am in a hotel room and it’s nice and cold and the air is clear. From where I am in my bed, I can see old brick buildings nearby. What are they? Where am I? This is happening more and more. I awaken from a deep sleep and I have no clue where I am.

Wait a minute! Over there. In the corner. There is an air purifier humming away. Plus, again, the air is super pure and cool.

Now I know. I am in room 1214 on the “Pure Floor” of the downtown Marriott Hotel in Portland, Oregon, and it’s a beautiful thing. In fact, it’s so beautiful and my speech is not for a few hours, so back to sleep I go. What a great idea this pure, no-smells floor is. Marriott is retaking over the Essex House and I cannot wait. However, right now, back to sleep.

Ooops. Guess not. There is a rapping, rap-tap-tapping at my door. It’s the housekeeper to clean my room. “I’m still here,” I said. “I’ll be here a long time.” She grudgingly left.

I got up, shaved, dressed, ate my miserable, pitiful breakfast: leftover whole wheat toast and soft butter. Actually, it was perfectly good.

Then, turn on TV to see what’s happening. Endless ridicule of Mitt Romney. I hate that. It seems as if no matter what he does, he gets ridiculed. Just for example, he said recently that Russia is our number-one geopolitical rival, and whatever we try to do in the international arena, they fight us and balk. So the liberals are mocking him over that.

Why is that ridiculous? In what possible way is that ridiculous? It is obvious that the Russians fight us on Iran, on Israel, and on Syria. They fight us everywhere they possibly can. How can it be disputed that Romney is right on this?

But the media cleverly have their own “experts” say that what Romney has said is ridiculous, then they say that it’s been decided that Romney is ridiculous.

The ridiculous one is Mr. Obama, who said he would “reset” relations with Russia. As if relations are not conditioned on ancient interests and rivalries. As if he could just press a button on a computer game and “reset” relations so we are all friends.

At this point, it’s clear that neither Mr. Obama nor Mrs. Clinton nor Ms. Susan Rice (our esteemed ambassador to the UN) nor David Axelrod has ever taken a course, or much of a course, in American history or European history or Cold War history or World War II history. We can’t just “reset” relations with Russia. They are angry at us (except for the majority who want to leave and come here).

THE RUSSKIS ARE ANGRY WITH GOOD REASON. They did most of the worst fighting of World War II, lost maybe 25 million people, were stupendously devastated, and we came out of the war smelling like a rose. They basically beat the Nazis and we got the benefit of being the only major industrial power left unbombed and with serious but not life-changing losses (except, of course, for the hero families of those killed and wounded).

Then, they want to control Eastern Europe and we fight with them over it and block them and call them names. They are a poor, backward, muddy nation while we have the Cadillac Coupe de Ville and Little Richard. No wonder they are angry.

Then, when the Iron Curtain falls, their leaders realize that what Russians really want is to live a lot like Americans. They want freedom and material wealth, just what Marx said they didn’t want. So, they killed tens of millions of their own people and enslaved the Great Russian People, starved the Ukrainians, murdered the Poles, and for what? They have a lot of shame and self-loathing there in Dzerzhinsky Square.

So, they have a lot to hate us for.

Meanwhile, to think we once had presidents like Reagan, or Richard M. Nixon, who really knew the score, and now we have surfer Punahou grad Barry Obama—well, it’s like, sad, dude.

Never mind. Off to give my speech to a business development group at the Portland Art Museum. I got there in time to hear a fine speech by a software entrepreneur from the subcontinent who made a great point about building up a successful business.

“There is no secret sauce,” he said. “There’s just hard work.”

What brilliant advice. Really, really smart.

It was a smart audience and Portlandia is a super cool place. Lots of parks. Lots of coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but obviously someone does. Lots of wine, and again, I don’t drink wine, but someone does.

I gave my speech and the audience liked it or me or some combination. I signed a few autographs, posed for many pictures, then back to the hotel to pack and head for the airport.

The flight back, on Alaska, was perfect. I did have a strange encounter with a flight attendant, though. She asked me about where I lived. When I told her I probably spent about 60 nights a year in Sandpoint, Idaho, she thought I was kidding.

“Idaho?” she kept saying. “Idaho?”

Yes, and I showed many of my great photos of Idaho. By the time I was done, she said she wanted to move to Idaho. How I miss Sandpoint and the Sandpoint Super Drug Store. That may be my new favorite store on this earth. It is huge and it has a perfect climate—like the “Pure Floor” at the Marriott. I want to be back in Idaho.

MY PAL AL, MY GREETER, greeted me at LAX. As we made our pitiful way through the airport (always like a street scene out of Blade Runner) Al told me I must watch a new show called Person of Interest on TV.

So, sure enough, I did. It was HILARIOUS. I don’t think they meant it to be hilarious, but it was. It is about a Bill Gates sort of guy who has invented something like the cell phone that tracks where everyone is all the time and can tell you what cards to play at blackjack. There is also a bruiser of a fighter and a very pretty villainess who loves blood (but this is not a vampire story) and a black woman who is a policewoman and a great shot.

I could not for the life of me figure out what was happening, but I know that part of the plot involves the Aryan Nations, my erstwhile and long-gone neighbors in Sandpoint. A fellow has been investing for (and I am not kidding here) what the writers call “the corporate arm of the Aryan Nations” and has embezzled many millions from them and they are trying to get it back. 

Wait a minute! The “corporate arm” of the Aryan Nations? Where did that come from? What makes the writers think there is a “corporate arm” of the Aryan Nations? There are maybe a few dozen members of the Aryan Nations (except for in prison, where they are VERY strong). How can they have a “corporate arm”?

This is the perfect extension of what I wrote about in The View from Sunset Boulevard decades ago. That was a book about the political views of prime-time TV shows and how they mesh with the political views of the writers and producers. In that book, I document how the TVland world thinks that outside of Brooklyn, America is basically fascist Klan country.

Now it’s gotten worse. Now, apparently, at least some writers want us to believe there is a “corporate arm” of the Nazis here in America that manufactures money.

But it gets better. At one point, the head Aryan is taunted by the bruiser about not being sufficiently pro-American—as if any real Aryan would also be an American patriot. Then, in a perfect quad-fecta, we see that all the members of the Aryan group (or some of them) are former Army men.

So there we have it in a nutshell. In this show’s world, the perfect TV writers’ world, the Aryans are close kin to the Corporates who are also patriots and connected with the Army.

This would be funny if it were not so sad.

I will have to watch this more closely. On the other hand, does anyone really care?

THEN, TO WATCH A BUNCH of Fox News shows about Libya-gate. It is perfectly clear now that the Clinton-Obama State Department left those poor diplomats to be killed in Benghazi and now are trying to cover up by saying it was a “spontaneous mob uprising” over a movie trailer. Now it’s all been shown to be lies, but Mr. Obama does not care. The election is in the bag, so why should he care? With total contempt, he just breezes from talk show to talk show, fundraiser to fundraiser, and waits for the crown to be placed upon his brow.

This Benghazi disaster is the worst cover-up I have ever seen, in that lives were lost and we apologized to the wrongdoers. And Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have still not apologized for their lies. But Mr. Obama rides the crest of media love and off he goes. Four more years of Obama and Biden. Then where will we be? With a nuclear-armed Iran and a disarmed America, where will we be?

I will give you a hint. The man who made this Internet trailer that so inflamed the Muslims was arrested in a midnight raid in his home in Cerritos, near Los Angeles, and is now in prison. His supposed crime? Using an alias while on probation. His real crime? He upset the Muslims in faraway nations and we have to please them at all costs. That’s the future.

God help us.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.