Ben Stein's Diary

A Nightmare Presidency

A titanic failure of government.

By From the April 2014 issue

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Monday

This is a bad morning. I was greeted by a headline in the New York Times that said Defense Secretary “Chuck Mullet” Hagel was planning to submit a budget to Congress to cut the size of the military to a level not seen since 1940, before the U.S. entered World War II.

The article went on to say that the Pentagon realized that this would be an inadequate force for even very small wars and certainly would not allow the U.S. to police the world and keep control of contingencies like a North Korean attack on the South or a Chinese attack on Japan or an Iranian assault on Saudi Arabia or a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. 

The Defense Department officials further said that because U.S. forces would be stretched so thin, the U.S. could not win wars quickly and there would be more casualties in any future war.

So, in other words, the President (of course it’s not Hagel…he’s just a bobble head for Obama and his ultra-leftists) is deliberately disarming America to the point where he cannot guarantee his ability to defend the nation.

Now, my wife says this is just plain treason. I don’t know if she’s right because the Constitution has a fairly strict definition of treason. But it is surely the grossest kind of betrayal of country. This kind of action is the kind taken by a man who hates the country of which he is president. To knowingly lay bare the life of American fighting men to our enemies is something a lot like murder.

In a way, it stuns me. In a way, it horrifies me. 

But in another way, it does not surprise me at all. Mr. Obama has never liked America. He is a part of this ultra-left cabal, especially powerful among certain socio-economic segments in Chicago who also like Minister Farrakhan, that just loathes America for its racist past. Never mind that he had benefited fantastically in his life by having an African father. Never mind that he has gotten every possible kind of preferment on racial bases. He still is part of that little knot who do not love this country. And now he’s in a position to do something about it.

It’s exactly like what Phil DeMuth said about him after he was elected the first time in 2008. “All that counts now,” said Phil, a highly credentialed psychologist, “is Obama’s unconscious feelings about America.” All you have to do is read Dreams From My Father to know that Mr. Obama is not a fan.

So, now we have explicit unilateral disarmament. Next will come nuclear disarmament and then a world basically ruled by Iran, Russia, and China. We’ll be little mice hiding underneath the bed.

Frankly, there is plenty of blame to go around. The GOP theories about cutting taxes to raise more revenue were always claptrap. They have resulted in desperately unfortunate deficits. This is not the fault of the Democrats. Bill Clinton, whatever his flaws, left us with budget surpluses. If we still had them, we would not need to cut defense the way we are doing.

Mr. Bush 43, whom I know and love, got us into a war in Iraq which was not totally his fault in that he was wildly misled by his advisors. But it was a disaster in every possible way: costly in blood, costly in money, a huge help to al Qaeda, and left a massive distaste for war in the U.S. mind and soul. Can it possibly be that we would have been in this position where Mr. Obama would have been elected, would have this budget rationale for his hateful defense cuts, if Mr. Bush had not plunged us into a catastrophic and unnecessary war and massively wrecked the fiscal situation of this country? I don’t think so.

But Mr. Bush at least built up the military. He did not slash it. He did not choose to double the number of people on food stamps rather than adequately defend the nation.

Oh, it gets worse. Mr. Obama, through his henchman, “Chuck” Hagel, is also cutting military benefits and pay and mocking those who offer up their lives for their country. When I read that one, I realized how much Mr. Obama not only loathes America, but is consumed by rage at men and women who are far braver and more morally advanced than he is. 

Tuesday

This is all part of the Obama program for demolishing the America we know and love. I see two other super dangerous parts playing out.

Mr. Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, is hard at work destroying the federal system. I read in today’s news that he’s told state attorneys-general that in his opinion, they do not have to go to court to uphold state laws of which they disapprove. In this specific instance, the cause of Mr. Holder’s passion was state laws barring same sex marriages. In the Obama administration’s view, if a man or woman serving as a state A.G. does not want to enforce those laws, he or she does not have to. That is, as Messrs. Obama and Holder see it, the fact that a law has been duly enacted by a state government means nothing compared with the opinion of a state government official—or compared with the opinion of Mr. Holder or Mr. Obama.

But wait a minute: Isn’t that exactly what it means to have a government of men and not of laws? Isn’t that exactly what it means to have a dictatorship where law is enforced on the basis of one human’s whim rather than on a process of law-making and enforcement?

This kind of Obama/Holder attack on how law is enforced is, of course, also a powerful attack on the federal system. Under that system, within limits, states can make their own laws. As far as I know—and I don’t know everything—there is no Supreme Court case law that says the wishes of a federal attorney general supersede the laws of a state without some kind of congressional or Supreme Court authority.

Can it be that Messrs. Obama and Holder do not know that they are suggesting abandonment of the basic principles of representative government? Can it be that they don’t know that they are attacking the federal system?

Two possibilities: One, they know how subversive they are and they want to be subversive as long as it fits their political-cultural goal of pleasing the gay community. Two, they simply are so ignorant of the Constitution and the history of law that they don’t realize how anti-Constitutional their acts are. Or, maybe some of both.

In any event, it is a terrifying situation. What is the government for if not to uphold the law? And if the high reaches of government are determined to attack the law, who is going to save the Constitution?

It gets even worse: Mr. Obama has appointed a man with a name I cannot even spell, let alone pronounce, as assistant attorney general for civil rights. I will try “Debo Adegbile,” a name as made up and phony as if he were called Princess SummerFallWinterSpring. This man defended the most notorious cop killer in the history of Philadelphia, Mumia Abu-Jamal, when that last creep killed a cop in cold blood. He cannot be blamed for working on a criminal defense case. But he also spearheaded public relations efforts on behalf of the cop killer. As a high official of the NAACP, he led a crusade to get the convicted killer, who never at any time showed remorse for his crime, who taunted and mocked the court and the victim’s widow in court, freed as a purported victim of racial injustice.

This man, who just as an opinion of mine should be in a prison for the dangerously insane, that is, Mr. Adegbile, is now going to be one of the highest officials of the Justice Department.

Incredibly, he was confirmed for that post by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote. (I learned about this in a fine article in the WSJ by Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey.)

So, we have the most virulent kind of anti-white radical now as head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

This is far worse than even my worst nightmares about Mr. Obama.

I knew he was angry. I knew he was highly influenced by the black and white haters of his beloved Chicago, and assorted America haters in the extreme left. But to think that he would name someone at the level of screaming racial rage that Mr. Adegbile is at…that’s terrifying.

What’s the solution? For one thing, a GOP Congress. That’s at least possible. But we will still have Democrat presidents as far into the future as we can see. Unless her health fails, Hillary can beat any Republican. She’s angry too, and she will be beholden to the same interest groups as Mr. Obama. Then there will be Cory Booker, and by the time I am being laid to rest, or maybe sooner, we will see the nightmare of racial score settling—against totally innocent people—and lawless dictatorship that will be the end of America. You can already see the train coming down the tracks. A free society under law is a fragile animal. One might say an endangered species. It isn’t guns in the hands of hunters we have to worry about. It’s the government in the hands of people who make hate their daily diet.

We won’t have to wait for al Qaeda to do it to us. We’ll do it to ourselves.

Wednesday

And one more thing: Why on earth are we rapidly running out of water here in my beloved California? We have seen this possibility for decades. Why didn’t we build immense desalinization plants? We are right next to the Pacific Ocean. It has plenty of water. There is more fresh water than they know what to do with in the Northwest and in Michigan. Why haven’t we built aqueducts to take the water here to sunny Cal? The Romans could build complex, long aqueducts two millennia ago. Why can’t we do it?

This represents a titanic failure of government at the state and federal level.

However, while we wait for the end to come, let’s just enjoy ourselves. Soon, we will be in prison for wanting to be free or else in a pitifully shrunk America or a parched and dry Los Angeles. Last night, Alex and I had dinner at the Malibu Beach Inn on a deck overlooking the waves crashing into boulders on the beach. The air was clear and we could see all the way to Palos Verdes. Not such a bad way to go. I had an immense chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Perfect. I could just barely make out the gaudily lit Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier.

I keep thinking of something my brilliant friend X., a prisoner in a state prison, said about life there. “Nothing is what it seems. Scorpions can help. Bunny rabbits have fangs. But if nothing is what it seems, then what is it?”

Just the basics of human life: fear, courage, deceit, honesty, greed, gluttony, heroism, altruism, and above all, Faith. 

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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.