Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | Steve Malzberg Show | Ben Stein | Paris | Obama | smart

Ben Stein: Paris-Skipping Obama 'Just Not Very Smart'

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 04:36 PM

Economist and former White House speechwriter Ben Stein told Newsmax TV on Tuesday that President Barack Obama's decision to stay home — while several of his peers joined in a historic peace march through the streets of Paris — prove that the leader of the free world is "just not very smart."

"It's hard to tell what moves this man," actor, author and Newsmax columnist Stein told host Steve Malzberg. But he asserted — "and I'm going to get a lot of hate mail about this," he said — that the president's reputed intellect is actually "nonsense."

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How else, Stein wondered, to explain Obama's failure to grasp the obvious symbolic import of showing solidarity with the French after last week's terrorist attacks?

The White House itself conceded on Monday that somebody high-ranking should have attended.

The impromptu rally on Sunday drew more than 1 million people and produced stirring images of world leaders walking arm in arm through the stricken city — where, days earlier, Islamist gunmen had slaughtered journalists, police officers and patrons of a kosher grocery store in a wave of violence.

"If he were very smart … he would have gone to that march," Stein said of the president.

"And all he had to do was just say to himself, 'Look, I don't know if I should do that or not, but everybody else will be there so I guess I should be there.'

"So he's just not a terribly smart man," said Stein. "So that's one thing.

"By the way," he added, "please don't have anybody write to me and say, 'Oh, but he was head of the Law Review at Harvard.' That's all nonsense. That was all a political gimme because of his ethnicity and his political skills."

Stein also suggested that Obama's absence might have been borne of his "contempt."

"He has contempt for just about everybody," said Stein.

"I mean, I don't think it's just contempt for dead Jews; it's contempt for people murdered everywhere," he said. "I mean, I don't think he has much regard for the people killed by the Islamic State [ISIS]. I don't think he has much regard for the people killed by al-Qaida fighting other Arabs and fighting other Muslims. I just don't think he's much of a guy in terms of having human empathy."

Stein also challenged another meme that has emerged in the post 9-11 era — that France, which opposed the Iraq War launched by President George W. Bush, is as weak and prone to appeasing terrorist enemies today as it was when the Vichy regime collaborated with Nazi Germany.

"The French are tough as nails," said Stein. "One of the great myths of all times is that the French are weak. The French are tough as tough can be, and if they would make the determination that they're at war — as President François Hollande said — with fundamentalist Islam, they would get it done."

Stein said the effort to root out the "dangerous subversives in your own country" — who, in France's case, could number as many as 100,000 — means spending the money to track suspected radicals and using all available surveillance technology.

"We can watch these people," he said. " We can keep a close eye on them. Will we do it? Do we have the guts to do it? Do we have the willpower to stand up to The New York Times when The New York Times says, 'Boo hoo, you're violating these civil liberties?' That's the question. Do we have the willpower?"

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Former White House speechwriter Ben Stein said hat President Barack Obama's decision to stay home - while several of his peers joined in a historic peace march through the streets of Paris - prove that the leader of the free world is "just not very smart."
Ben Stein, Paris, Obama, smart
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2015-36-13
Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 04:36 PM
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