“That’s it. If I’ve lost Ben Stein, I’ve lost middle America…”

Just in case you don’t know, the above is an altered quote from Lyndon Johnson after Walter Cronkite went on national television and spoke about his doubts about success in Vietnam. 

While coming into work this morning, I was listening to “Marketplace” on NPR and Ben Stein (yes, the “Bueller…Bueller?” Ben Stein) had a two minute commentary on the Iraq war and the Dow Jones average.  Even though he was generally speaking in his usual laconic tone, Stein was clearly angry.  He wasn’t angry about the lack of tax cuts, or women who get abortions, or groups trying to regulate guns. Nope.  He was angry that as the Dow rockets past the 13,000 mark and investors are shown on TV with big smiles, the grunts in Iraq and Afghanistan were dodging bullets and putting their lives on the line for the benefit of those smiling investors.  He went on to call for a general draft so the sons and daughters of the wealthy class will know the cost of war on their families. 

Who is this guy? Is this the same Ben Stein who was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon?  The same Ben Stein who is a ardent Republican? The same Ben who makes his money from that liberal bastion of Hollywood as an actor, but seems to have nothing but contempt for his fellow actors who have political views that run counter to his.

And now?

Now he sounds like many of people he often argues with. So, if Ben Stein is railing against Bush’s wars, then you know it’s bad.  Ben Stein is no Walter Cronkite, but if his views mirror many of those on the Right (i.e., Bush’s political “base”), um, well, let’s just say that Bush is very lucky that he’s not up for re-election.

–PK

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