Ben Stein's Diary

America Laid Low

I wonder if Mr. Obama is really quite right in the head.

By 9.13.13

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Thursday
We are back in Beverly Hills. We left one week ago. My last day there, I spoke to the entire student body of Bonners Ferry High School. Bonners (as we call it) is about fifty miles north of Sandpoint. The students and faculty were cheerful, well dressed, and alert. After my speech, one student asked my religion. Another asked how much money I had. Another asked if I could afford to buy a Lamborghini. They may need a little work there.

These are not the questions to ask a guest speaker who has done them the free gift of a speech.

They did cheer when one of their number made a sneering comment about Obamacare. I am not sure where that came from. But more power to them on that one.

However, as we left the school, we pulled into a gas station very close to the school. A mother and her daughter, both Mennonites, were selling ears of corn from the back of a truck. The mother went into the gas station for some reason. I approached the daughter as she was taking corn out of a bag. She was impossibly beautiful. Blond, clear skinned, blue eyed, hair in a small bun, print dress, no makeup, slender. She was a vision of perfect youthful femininity..

“If I may ask, how old are you?” I said.

“Almost sixteen,” she said shyly.

“If it’s not against your religion, may I know your first name?”

“Yes,” she said. “Savannah.”

That shocked me. I was expecting something like “Sarah” or “Rebekah” or “Hannah” but no, it was Savannah.

I bought an immense sack of corn from her and she shyly took the bill. I have never eaten any form of corn except popcorn in my life. I gave the corn to my pal, Tim Farmin, who had as usual, accompanied me.

Wow. Savannah. Was she beautiful or what?

I hope she never comes anywhere near a big city.

On the way back, we drove to a shooting range and fired our weapons at some old tires. It was a lot of fun. I could not tell if I hit the target, but Tim assured me that I did. Knowing him, he probably just said it to make me feel good. He is a consummate diplomat as well as being about as smart as anyone I have ever met.

On the last night in Idaho for a while, I thought about our summer. It was great. I think Savannah was the high point, but any lunch or evening on the lake would be close to heaven. I loved walking around town and running into people who had baby-sat Tommy long ago and remembered him fondly. I got a super good haircut from a barber named Del at a barbershop that has a Confederate flag as its revolving barber pole. Del was a great talker and I left feeling and looking like a million bucks. Sitting in my boat racing home from Hope under a full moon with Tim next to me to guide me. The stars beaming their blue indifferent gaze on the equally serene lake at dusk.

The morning we packed up, I lay in the sun room looking at the clouds and the lightning and listening to the reassuring deep rumble of Mr. Buffett’s trains.

I know I have said this before but the fact that one man, by sheer genius, by overwhelming brain power, can go from being a caddy at the Chevy Chase Club to being the richest man in America or maybe the second richest, and still be well loved, that’s overwhelming. He owns GEICO, much of many other companies, but it’s the trains that get me: their steel, brute magnetism, their potent metal transcendence, and he got them starting by creating a horse racing tip sheet when he was still in high school.

Warren, you overwhelm my imagination. My mind is simply not big enough to hold you. You are like what Fitzgerald said about the Dutch sailors seeing North America for the first time and for the first time in man’s history, beholding something commensurate with their imagination. Only Mr. Buffett is bigger than my imagination.

Then, after listening to the trains, I got dressed, packed, and we left.

I was already greatly wounded by the news of my cousin’s death and leaving Sandpoint, my haven, was really too much.

So, back to L.A.

The news is staggeringly bad. I am 68 years old and I have never seen any situation as screwed up as Obama and Syria and Russia. Can our President really be that stupid? I guess so, because we had Carter. But Carter was ultra-cautious. Obama is a dangerous combination of overly cautious and riverboat gambler.

But he was a pitiful rube, playing against world-class card sharks named Assad and Putin. Now, he has lost his stash, and he has laid America low. From an inheritance of the USA as the only superpower, he has led us to be spat upon by Putin and Assad. We had the amazing spectacle this morning of Putin lecturing us on morality in (the perfect forum) the New York Times. This man, who has his opponents sent to the gulag or else just murdered, is lecturing us on morality. He is citing the Declaration of Independence and the moral authority of the Almighty to hector us on not starting wars.

Wait a minute. Didn’t he invade Georgia just for laughs? Doesn’t he protect the worst human rights offenders on earth, the North Korean junta, from sanctions? Didn’t he earn his chops in the KGB, and he’s now an archbishop?

Wow. Panem et circenses. How the mighty have fallen. Obama should have just kept his snoot out of the whole madness in the Arab world.

Anyway, everything seems totally screwed up and the worst of it is that Mr. Obama is unilaterally disarming us in this very dangerous world. God help us.

I wonder of Mr. Obama is really quite right in the head. My shrink said it well: you are always going to have problems with a man without a strong father figure. He just won’t know how a man acts. He can imitate a man, but after that, he has problems.

Well, I leave that all to more powerful minds than mine.

Tonight, wifey and I went to the funeral mass for Elena Robles, who was our live-in housekeeper for about 20 years ending in 1997. The mass was in a tiny funeral home in East L.A. It might as well have been on the moon. The mass was entirely in Español. The service was held in front of the open casket of our beloved Elena. Sad, sad, sad that she’s gone. She was the best member of the family.

But, she’s now where we are all going, but the trains will keep running, pounding out their perpetual diesel, iron and steel song. I just won’t be there to hear it. I’ll be in the lake.

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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.