Ben Crystal Archive
Ben Crystal is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power. Email this author.
All right, kiddies, it’s that time again. Every now and then, Bob Livingston allows me to prod your cerebra with the proverbial sharp object. Actually, every now and then, I turn in one of my clever little civics quizzes so close to deadline that Livingston doesn’t have time to fill my space with old Herbert “Herblock” Block cartoons.
As the parade of potential Presidents of the United States marches toward 2012, I can’t help but notice there’s a scent on the breeze. Watching the Democrats and the corporate media circle the wagons around their idol, it finally occurred to me what the putrescent odor is: fear.
Give President Barack Obama credit. Having proved himself the most domestic policy-impaired president since Jimmy Carter “lusted in his heart” (if not since Warren Harding got his Teapot Domed), Obama has evidently decided to set his sights overseas. Bad luck for the citizens of our best strategic ally in Middle East.
During my older brother’s college years, the Ku Klux Klan planned a march through the sleepy Southern town in which his school tended the delicate young minds in their charge. As the fateful day approached, the college administrators wrung their hands over the best approach to dealing with the potentially explosive mixture of goose-stepping knot heads and a couple thousand college students drunk on school spirit and youthful vigor.
Herman Cain is a fascinating subject. A self-made millionaire, Cain is a deeply conservative man who recently announced his intention to seek the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. Cain is a graduate of “historically black” Morehouse College in Atlanta — the alma mater of famous African-Americans including auteur Spike Lee, actor Samuel L. Jackson, banker Walter Massey and a certain clergyman from Atlanta who made quite a name for himself back in the 1960s civil rights movement — and woe be unto the pundit who denigrates the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
So the economy is not exactly hitting on all cylinders of late. Unemployment hovers around the double-digit mark (the Department of Labor says 9 percent; it’s likely higher). The dollar is showing signs of losing its position in the currency market’s starting rotation (even currencies named AFTER ours — the Canadian dollar is one example — are ahead of our dollar in the batting order). And close to 15 percent of our fellow Americans receive government aid of one sort or another.
As George W. Bush entered the stretch run of his 2004 reelection bid, the national unemployment rate hovered around 5.4 percent. Given that any economist worth his slide rule (sit down, Paul Krugman) would agree that 5.4 percent is barely a Joe Biden hair-plug’s breadth above nominal zero, Bush’s economic “strategery” in the years following the lemming-off-a-cliff dive by the tech sector, the housing and construction markets plunging lower than the necklines at a Vegas working-girls convention and the virtual ubiquity of global Islamofascist terrorism was no small accomplishment — especially considering Bush spent taxpayer money like a second wife.