Special Report

Good Night, Sweet Rose

Such a contrast between Rose Friedman and our rule-by-decree President.

By 8.20.09

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Another glorious day in Sandpoint, Idaho. My wife has broken her ankle so my pal Phil DeMuth is keeping me company at our home up here. I awakened and, as usual, said the Shema, a Jewish prayer of thanks to God. Then I turned to my e-mails. There was one from a man I had thought of as my friend at a major newspaper. It was an angry, venomous letter about what a terrible person I am for making a commercial peddling credit reports to consumers while I simultaneously wrote about investment banks.

Wow. I was shocked. I had done a lot of favors for this hombre. I was stung by his rage. The conflict of interest charge is baloney -- as if I were guilty as a movie critic for endorsing popcorn. What could I do about his anger? I got to my knees in front of my window overlooking Lake Pendoreille. I asked God to bless this person and all his hater pals on line and to take away their frenzy and replace it with peace.

After that, I felt a lot better. I made breakfast for Phil and me, and then wrote a magazine article about history. Then Phil and I went for a fun walk through town. I got a whole bunch of photos framed -- all of sunrise over the lake. Then Phil and I just sat and watched people walk by. They were all friendly except for one silly lady from Brooklyn -- the only one I have ever met in Idaho, and decidedly un-Idaho like.

After that, a fabulous pizza while watching the Sand Creek flow by. Then a long, super fast ride in my little Thompson out to Bottle Bay. About three weeks ago, my smart mechanic, Tim Farmin, replaced my aluminum prop with a much stronger stainless steel prop from Michigan Wheel in the great city of Grand Rapids. That steel prop makes the boat get up on plane faster, lets me handle her better in rough waters, gives a whole new firm control and dramatically more speed. Michigan Wheel, stand up and take a bow. I feel the steel.

An early dinner at Bottle Bay, watching the boats come in and out of the Marina, then a long ride back to town under the railroad bridge, under the highway, then back to my berth at the Sandpoint Marina.

Then a two-hour nap, and then a snack of salmon and a chocolate milkshake. I hope the neo-Darwinists had as good a day as I did.

Then, a cruel shock. An e-mail telling me that Rose Director Friedman, 98-year-old widow of Milton, had passed away. I have known this wonderful champion of freedom all of my life. She and Milton were frequent guests at our home and I can still recall my parents laughing with them about Jacob Viner and Frank Knight and the days at Chicago, then arguing politely about economics.

Mrs. Friedman was startlingly smart (her brother was the genius economist Aaron Director, an even closer pal of my parents). Outspoken without ever being rude, patient but unyielding in her love of individual freedom and dignity. Milton could not have been Milton without Rose. The modern uber-rude woman powerhouses of today could learn much from her.

In her later years, she was the guiding light of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, which works tirelessly to improve education by giving students choice in where they attend school. It is a far better deal than Barack Obama gives kids. Mrs. Friedman was a hero of liberty and freedom. She will be missed.

By the way, as a total contrast, is anyone keeping track of the whoppers that Mr. Obama has told recently?

My favorites of course are his saying during the campaign that he would read every line of the budget to weed out wasteful spending. There are millions of lines in the budget. I will bet he has not read ten. He did not even read his own stimulus, cap and trade, and health care bills, or so I am told. And he claims to be against wasteful spending? Is that a joke? This man is to spending what cattle are to manure. He invented wasteful spending on a scale no one ever dreamed of.

Then there was his promise to protect and defend Israel. What? By allowing Iran to get The Bomb? By taking the Hamas's side against Israel? How was that again?

But my latest fave is his telling us over and over during the campaign that he would bring America together. "There is not a red America or a blue America, there is just one America and what unites is bigger than what divides us."

Well, it would be pretty if it were true. (Paraphrase of Hemingay.) But instead we get Rahm Emanuel and the ultra-divisive health plan, pitched, forced down the throat of an America that overwhelmingly does not want it. The most divisive issue imaginable. Just to please the ideologues of the left. How is that bringing America together? No, this is a Presidency by decree. Not good. Not what he promised, but I never believed him anyway.

Well, I pray for him, too. But he's not fooling anyone anymore. We have his number. Statist, central planner, control freak. Not a friend of Israel. Jury is out on whether he is a friend of America. I pray that he is but I have my doubts. Needs prayer. We all need prayer.

Good night from Idaho.

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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.