Ben Stein's Diary

Bad On You, Mr. Obama

A few mixed days in Chicago, amid some good thoughts about RN.

By 12.9.11

Send to Kindle

Wednesday
Here we are in Chicago. It has been an eventful day. Both Alex and I felt dazed when we got up. I could barely drag my fat old fleshy carcass downstairs and into my pool. But once I did, I felt a lot better. Swimming is like flying, as my smart nephew, Paul Landau, pointed out.

Then breakfast, shower, get dressed, rush to bank. "Qui dit 'banco'?" as the croupiers used to say at the Nassau casino when it was right out of a James Bond movie and I went there in 1966 with Alex in black tie. At the bank, I was notified of a breathtaking overdraft caused by some mischief scam from the Bank of America. Luckily, I could cover it but to think that B of A stoops to cheating good customers like us is really depressing.

Then off to LAX with our trusty driver, Mr. Yakubov, from Uzbekistan. Then through security with all of my pals from TSA. They are the nicest guys and gals on the planet. Then, rush, rush, rush over to the gate and onto the plane.

It was all going fine except that I had idiotically bought Alex a huge iced tea at Starbucks. She opened the top to put in Sweet-n-lo exactly as I opened my briefcase. She took off her coat with a huge swish and knocked the whole iced tea into my briefcase. Twenty ounces of iced tea and ice cubes on my speech, my anti-colitis meds, my Bose headphones, my passport.

I went into shock. The attendants helped but it took a long time to get the water and ice cubes out and I was hysterical.

"I guess it would have been worse if I had had a heart attack and died," Alex said helpfully.

My gift from Pop -- I just closed my eyes and soon I was asleep just as he used to do when stressed. Next thing I knew, I was having a fabulous cheese enchilada and rice and beans. Then more sleep.

Then, I read an article about President Obama blaming the lingering unemployment and problems for the middle class on rich people. That sneaking politician. There is just no necessary causal link between some people being rich and other people being poor in our society. It’s just Marxist nonsense to say there is such a link. People getting rich make other people employed and better off in general. (There are exceptions.) However, attacking the rich as causes of poverty just shows extreme ignorance and a malicious wish to make trouble. It’s the kind of nonsense we expect from dopey college kids -- not from the President.

Plus, what a HYPOCRITE!!! Mr. O gets a ton of money from rich Wall Street tycoons and always has done so. How dare he pretend that he’s fighting them (and why would he want to?).

Plus, if you’re passing out blame for the recession, how about Tim Geithner, who was President of the NY Fed and agreed with every wrong move by Treasury Secretary Paulson that caused the crash? Why is he your Treasury Secretary when he had a huge hand in killing Lehman Brothers, which really started the downhill slide? (And how about the U.S. giving the Europeans advice on how to cut their deficits? That’s actually funny.)

Well, bad on you, Mr. Obama, for taking money from the rich as fast as you can and also stirring up the crazies with your class warfare nonsense rhetoric. I really, truly thought Mr. Obama was better than that. Shows how stupid I am. Stupid and insanely trusting. That’s me.

In Chicago, we checked into our hotel and went rushing out for dinner at Coco Pazzo. The chicken livers were amazingly good.

Then on the way back to the hotel, my wife’s shoe lost its high heel. I took it to the concierge to get it fixed. As I talked to him, an astonishingly beautiful standard poodle, black with a large white collar, came in with a woman wearing a similar outfit. Like an old New Yorker cartoon.

Then a malicious e-mail from some psycho about my wife and me. I wrote back, "We have been together for 45 years and we’ll still be together when you are rotting in hell all alone."

Toast and herbal tea, and now it’s time to sleep.

Good night, moon. Tomorrow I am speaking in Lake Forest, where my dear friend John Hughes sleeps for all eternity. Talk about a genius. He wrote Ferris Bueller in one 48-hour stretch. I miss him.

Thursday
A mixed day. I got up at the Peninsula in Chicago, ate my stale toast, dressed, and my wife and I went downstairs to join my pal John R. Coyne, Jr., for lunch in the hotel lobby. John was his usual lively and insightful self. The food was so-so, but the service was just a cruel mockery. That place is beautiful but needs a manager who will get it running right.

We talked about politics mostly. Plus lots of reminiscences of the Nixon days, when John, Aram Bakshian, Ken Khachigian, Dave Gergen, Ann Morgan, Jon Hoornstra and many others and I worked shoulder to shoulder to save the Peacemaker. It didn't work. He was just on the wrong side.

Jon, if you're there, I love your e-mails.

What a great President RN was -- ending the war in Vietnam, opening up China, setting up serious environmental protection, the first nuclear arms reduction treaty with the Soviet, saving Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and trying to get universal health care through.

All with the vicious leftists attacking him night and day. I love him.

We talked about the brilliant Lee Atwater and how much he is missed. Then, after much struggle trying to get my wife her food, we left.

Long nap, then out to Lake Forest to speak to a delightful group of physicians. Lovely men and women. Intelligent. Thoughtful. Caring.

One of them, though, made a point that saddened me immensely. She said that hundreds of thousands of soldiers were coming back from the wars with disabilities. She said that the money burden would be enormous. "However bad it is now," she added, "it will be worse."

Suddenly it dawned on me. It will be worse about EVERYTHING. Too much of the younger generation has minimal education. Minimal decent work attitudes (generally, not always). Minimal ability to get along with others. The nation's intellectual capital, self-discipline capital, is vanishing. That's a catastrophe. That's it for the USA. Gar-nicht, as my sister would say. When the middle aged who have decent abilities leave the scene, good night nurse. Too sad to dwell upon.

My audience was fantastic and I stayed for a long time with them. The great joy of speaking is meeting the audience. I hated to leave. They were literally locking up the room when I left. Then my driver took me back to my hotel. On the way, he told me how his kids had talked him into spending the last of his savings on a cruise to Belize with them and it was so expensive he also had to put some of it on his credit card.

A cruise to Belize? Is he kidding? Why not just drive to a really nice neighborhood and park his car there and go for a walk? Putting a cruise on a credit card? Well, I should not throw stones. I make every kind of mistake there is. Every kind.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
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.