Ben Stein's Diary

Dream Sequences

And Bush 43 looked great. Not so Mrs. Clinton.

By 4.26.13

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Thursday
Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley....where does that come from? Some famous movie. Rebecca? I think that’s it. Rebecca.

Anyway, last night I dreamed I was in Miami Beach, helping Tom and Kitty move out of a small house in South Beach. My father was still alive and he was helping, too. There were immense tropical insects, just monstrous crickets who breathed fog onto the windows where they landed. Now that I think of it, maybe I was in Palm Desert, California.

We had our dog, Susie, deceased, but alive in the dream, and she ran away. I chased after her and came to an immense department store, a bit like the Istanbul Grand Bazaar in Skyfall and a tiny bit like the Jelleff’s Department Store on Colesville Road next to the Silver Theater, where my sister Rachel used to shop in the 1950s.

There were woman fortunetellers and snake charmers and a whole host of glamorous looking people, sort of like the Beverly Hills Hotel when Phil DeMuth and I go there for brunch. It was wildly technicolored and gorgeous and lush with immense palm trees inside like the courtyard of the Pan-American Union long ago. Now it’s called the OAS.

I caught up with Susie and brought her out to our car, a pale blue 1955 Chevrolet 210 four-door sedan, which had been my family car through much of my youth.

(Finally, I persuaded my father to buy V-8 Fords, Chevies, and a Dodge -- that was pure kindness on his thrifty part. He was a kind man.)

Then Phil DeMuth appeared to tell me I was not going broke after all, despite my fears and worries, and that I need not live in fear of poverty. He had charts and graphs to back up his claims.

As I talked to him, I noticed that Tom Cruise had pulled up next to him in a pickup truck. He talked to me in a friendly way, thanking me for the kindness I had shown him by writing so well about him in his role in Tropic Thunder. He told me he had been a fan for a long time. I was happy and walked with him as he walked into the huge store… maybe it was the Saks in Palm Desert… and then I told him I would stop following him and he walked away.

When I got back to our car, I saw that now Dustin Hoffman had pulled up next to our poor old Chevy, and he was in a pickup truck, too. He smiled and waved at me, and I felt happy.

I went back into our son’s former home and realized my father had left his sport jacket there. But my father was gone and that was when I woke up.

I cannot tell you how excited that dream made me. It was mostly the immense, gaudy store that did it. Also somehow, somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that my father was there to help me.

Also, it was exciting to be friends with movie stars.

But I knew it was not real and so, back to sleep. When I awakened, to my shock there was Bush 43 speaking at the dedication of his library at SMU. He looked great, sounded great, deeply unpretentious, just a fine figure of a man. I felt deeply sad that he’s not in the White House any longer, although he made some horrible mistakes that he should have seen coming: mostly ignoring Afghanistan while he pursued a futile course in a sideshow in Iraq. Far worse that a mistake… a blunder. Who said that? Talleyrand? He also should not have allowed Lehman to fail. That had catastrophe all over it.

Still, it happened and it’s history now. Eventually, he bailed out Wall Street and saved the economy. So kudos for that. And mainly, he’s just a super likeable guy.

Mrs. Hillary Clinton looks decidedly unwell. I wonder how her health is. I hope she is all right. She needs a long rest, dry out her weary brain.

How brave Bush 41 is. Just looking at him is deeply moving. Hero in so many ways.

As to Jimmy Carter… well, he’s gotten the face he deserves.

The weather here in D.C. is perfect today. Alex and I sat out on our deck and watched the clouds go by and the planes land at DCA.

Relaxing. Almost too good to be true.

I came inside and watched the news. Chemical weapons in Syria. But the rebels are worse than Assad. He’s a killer and a butcher, but not totally out of control like the fanatical Islamists. What a nightmare Arab Spring has become. IT WAS SO AMAZINGLY EASY TO SEE IT COMING. Who did we think would replace Mubarak? Mohammed Thomas Jefferson and Ahmed James Madison? And the media was praising the rebels as if they were John Adams and Tom Paine. THE REBELS SAID THEY WANTED TO KILL ISRAEL AND AMERICA! What did we think they would be like in office?

Now, it’s all turned to mud and it’s going to get a lot worse.

And there is poor Obama. He drew a “red line” for Iran. They evacuated their bowels on him. He warned North Korea and laughed. He was going to “reset” relations with Russia. They are in a total mess. Honor the Russians’ incredible courage, but they are not our pals.

Have we ever had a more pusillanimous foreign policy? Have we ever shown ourselves to be weaker?

When in history did weakness win the day? What kind of dream world does Mr. Obama live in?

I heard Senator McCain on the C-Span network say that we could no longer defend the nation. This is serious business. Is Mr. Obama listening? And what a cruel blow that Sen. McCain lost in 2008. What a different country this would be if he had won. Does Mr. Obama even bother to listen to his generals and admirals? Or is his goal to end America?

“Nothing matters now but Obama’s subconscious,” said Phil DeMuth in 2008. What is the subconscious of a man abandoned by both father and mother? Actually, maybe that was a good thing given who they were. And this country has turned itself inside out for Mr. Obama for his whole life. Maybe he likes America. But should we have a President about whom we say “maybe”?

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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.