Ben Stein's Diary

Now There Is No Hope

And by the way, where is the Change?

By 9.4.12

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Labor Day
I flew to Dallas today to give a speech. The flight was uneventful except for a woman seated in front of me who started talking at about 2 PM PDT and did not stop talking at all -- not once -- for the whole flight. How can she do that? She talked for four solid hours.

I checked into my wonderful hotel, the Gaylord Texan, and watched a show on Nat Geo about a man from America put into prison in the Soviet in 1976 for trafficking in heroin. Scary, but what a dope he was.

Then, a show on MSNBC hosted by my old pal, Chris Matthews, about Barack Obama. It was an extremely laudatory show, about how Mr. Obama tapped into all of young America's wish to have Hope and Change rule the land.

Mr. Obama's shining desire to have Hope and Change guide our politics was -- supposedly -- what got him elected.

Now, I know Chris Matthews. He is a very pleasant, smart, articulate man. Can he really say that Mr. Obama has brought about Hope and Change? What has he changed? We are far poorer than when he took office. Our national debt is far higher. We are still in a hopeless war in Afghanistan. Black people are still very much less well off than white people. What has Mr. Obama done that's good?

Yes, he did get a universal health care law passed. But Mr. Nixon proposed a much more comprehensive, much more comprehensible plan in 1973! FORTY YEARS AGO!!!! Is Mr. Obama bragging that he finished something Nixon started four decades ago? I wrote that message to Congress for RN. The Democrats killed the bill. BAM! Dead on Arrival on Capitol Hill. Killed by Teddy's spite.

So, where is the Hope and the Change? If you are a poor black woman with two kids and no man, where is the Hope? If you are a white woman abandoned with two kids, where is the Change?

For President Obama to promise Hope and Change was cynicism on a big scale. What was he going to do for the poor? For the illiterate? For the two million prisoners in our prisons? What was he going to do? All he could do was give black voters someone to believe in -- and then do NOTHING for them, and (as Shelby Steele points out) make white people feel they are expiating their sins (their imaginary sins) of racism by casting a vote for him.

Mr. Obama's insight -- shaped by a lifetime of experience -- that white voters would vote for him out of shame over the past and maybe even out of a wish to be cool and hip, was historic. But the result for Americans has been a disaster: a national debt approaching the point of no return and a far deeper cynicism than before. The change that has happened, as my brilliant pal John Coyne puts it, is that "....now there is no hope." They are all scoundrels and the more they say they aren't, the darker the tunnel and the light grows fainter.

God help us. I want to be back on Lake Pendoreille.

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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.