Dear Ben Stein, what am I going to do with you? I love you like an uncle. You're a great pop writer on economics, and have actually done valuable work in the field. You're witty, in your snide yet avuncular way. You have great eyebrows. You hosted the cleverest and most challenging quiz show I've ever seen, a show I love not least because my wife won your money (and I got a spiffy t-shirt saying so in the bargain).
But this year I've stopped wearing the t-shirt, because I'm beginning to feel ashamed of you. You're still like an uncle to me, but you're an increasingly cruel, batty, dare-I-say senile uncle. You talk about the evolution conspiracy at embarrassing times, in front of strangers, embarrassing us both. You hang out with bad people who don't love you the way I do.
Stein continued: "Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that's something the Fuehrer would have done. And I think whoever is advising Senator Obama to do this is bringing up all kinds of very unfortunate images from the past."
Host Beck responded that he has "been saying that we're headed towards a Mussolini-style presidency forever. … I mean it's crazy." Stein then declared, "It's a scary situation. … But 75,000 people screaming in an outdoor arena, that's just too much. It's just — it's scarily authoritarian." He continued: "It's like Juan Peron and Evita."
Ben, I shouldn't have to tell you that it's a great tradition for American presidents to visit Berlin, and to say inspiring things, things like "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." They do this, visiting Berlin and saying these things, in front of crowds. They do it because it reminds the Germans that we own them, and that they'd better mind their P's and Q's if they want to keep selling us Volkswagens instead of losing wars.
And while Barack Obama is not a President, he aspires to be one. Sure he's no Kennedy or Reagan, and "Ja, wir können" isn't as inspiring as "Ich bin ein Berliner," but he's certainly not a Nazi or a fascist. He's a liberal Democrat. That Jonah Goldberg kid is an idiot, and you know that Ben.
So I'm going to have to stop wearing my t-shirt Ben, for a while. Maybe forever, or maybe just until you learn how to behave in public once more, so that I'm not ashamed to be seen with you.
Hat tip: Eduardo X