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Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2000 / 12 Kislev, 5761

Greg Crosby

Greg Crosby
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Consumer Reports

Vice president Queeg -- "Ah, but the strawberries! That's -- that's where I had them. They laughed and made jokes, but I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist. And I'd have produced that key if they hadn't have pulled the Caine out of action. I know now they were out to protect some fellow officer."
                      -- Humphrey Bogart, as Capt. Queeg on the witness stand in The Caine Mutiny

"Ah, but the dimpled chads! That's where I had them. They laughed and made jokes, but I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with statistical logic, that 13,000 uncounted ballots in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach did exist. And I'd have produced them if they hadn't tried to obstruct, delay and thwart me at every turn."
                       -- Al Gore, as Capt. Queeg practically every day since mid-November

It was hard to watch Al Gore on "60 Minutes" Sunday evening, pleading his case yet again, without the image of Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny coming to mind. I was particularly reminded of the court room scene in which Bogart as Queeg, the obsessed, deranged, and ultimately pathetic commanding officer, takes the witness stand and rants on about missing strawberries, duplicate icebox keys, and how his entire crew plotted against him.

Throughout the interview Gore smiled (he's been doing an unusual amount of that lately) but his face looked tight. Sitting on the witness stand in the court of public opinion, he was on the defensive. As in the movie, I kept waiting for the close-up of Gore's hand rolling those two silver balls. They never did show it, but I would almost swear that I could hear a faint "clink-clinking" in the background as Leslie Stahl asked her questions.

Interesting that real life events such as this conjures up famous moments from classic movies in my mind. While watching the Tallahassee court proceedings on C-SPAN this weekend, I half way expected Gore lawyer David Boies at some point to stand up and signal for dozens and dozens of mail bags filled with dimpled ballots to be brought into court and spilled out on Judge N. Sanders Sauls desk, a la the climatic scene in Miracle On 34th Street. But, alas, Mr. Boies didn't possess John Payne's theatrics in presenting his evidence and so he lost the case. Of course, his client isn't exactly the lovable Santa Claus type, either. I wonder how successful John Payne would have been in his court case had he been the counselor for Captain Queeg as opposed to Kris Kringle.

Watching Gore continue his "fight," another Bogart movie came to mind. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. In this one, greed and gold slowly destroys Bogey's ability to reason and finally drives him to murder. Now, Mr. Gore has not killed anyone yet, to my knowledge, but with each passing day, with each failed court action, it does appear that Mr. Gore is slowly losing his ability to reason. Although for Al Gore it's not about greed and gold, it's about power and manifest destiny.

He knows in his heart that he is smarter than Bush, worked harder than Bush, and therefore, more deserving to win the presidency than Bush. "Ha! They got to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on Fred C. Dobbs." Or, reminesant of another charcter's dialogue in the same movie, "Certified ballots? We don't need no certified ballots. I don't have to show you any stinking certified ballots!"

One other famous quote crossed my mind after the Bush victories in the courts on Monday, and considering the petty political game-playing by President Clinton concerning giving over the keys to the White House transitional offices. This one isn't from a movie, although it was uttered by a former movie actor.

"Mr. Gorbachev -- tear down this wall!"
                      -- President Reagan in reference to the Berlin Wall, 1987.

Wouldn't you love to hear President-elect George W. Bush paraphrase that quote with: "Mr. Clinton -- hand over those keys!"

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.


12/01/00: Here we come a-caroling
11/23/00: Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
11/17/00: Gore’s Desperation
11/10/00: It Ain't Over
11/03/00: Read this before you vote
10/27/00: Democratic Big Guns Shoot Blanks
10/20/00: Generation Duh
10/13/00: And the whiner is ...
10/06/00: The Vicious Hollywood Left
09/29/00: Pop Porn
09/22/00: Put On A Tie, Ya Bums!
09/15/00: A sneak peek at The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library
09/08/00: The Big Mooseketeer
09/01/00: In Honor of Those Who Never Were
08/25/00: Building a Bridge to the Sixties
08/22/00: Leaks
08/18/00: Sour Grapes
08/11/00: But he’s Jewish!
08/04/00: Aint Nothin’ But A Hound Dog
07/27/00: Trick or Treat
07/21/00: Another Golden Moment In Broadcasting
07/14/00: Who eats this, ahem, 'stuff'?
07/07/00: In Your Face Advertising
06/29/00: My Home Sweet Home
06/23/00: Hairs The Thing
06/13/00: The Sweetest Sounds
06/02/00: Another Opening, Another Show
05/22/00: What's next, The Million Mutt March?
05/19/00: Hail the Conquering Hero
05/12/00: Extra! Read All About It!
05/03/00: Clinton’s Transparent Department of Duplicity and Demagoguery
04/24/00: For The Children?
04/19/00: Liars And Cowards And Bums, Oh My!
04/11/00: Gripe, Gripe, Gripe
04/05/00: Counting the Race Cards
03/30/00: Speed Bumps
03/22/00: The Eyes Have It
03/15/00: Academia and Media --- They’re Just Not Right
03/09/00: Sweat The Small Stuff -- It’s Okay
03/02/00: Actors And Other Animals
02/23/00: Campaign 2000 --- Wake Me When Its Over
02/15/00: Who Wants to be Regis Philbin?
02/08/00: Aftermath of a Tragedy
01/31/00: Ask Mr. Politically Correct Man
01/25/00: I’d Like To Thank All The Little People
01/20/00: Merger Mania
01/11/00: Just Say JA-GWAAR
01/04/00: Who Was That Masked Man? My Hero!
12/28/99: New Millennium --- New Rules
12/21/99: Bubba’s Visit From Saint Nick
12/14/99: Call Me Mister
12/08/99: So Much Going On, So Little Time
11/30/99: Sunday Afternoon
11/22/99: The Best Money Can’t Buy
11/15/99: My Peter Pan Generation
11/08/99: Fall Invasion
10/29/99: When my wife was young and Gay
10/22/99: Too Late for Dinner
10/15/99: Pondering, Musing and Supposing
10/05/99: A Message From Your Journalistic Human Interest Commentator
09/24/99: The Getting Away With It Decade
09/17/99: The Scoop of the Century
09/09/99: Important Millennium Advisory
09/03/99: Ask Mr. Politically Correct Man
08/26/99: Broadcasters, Please mind Your Manners
08/19/99: The Golden Age of Jerkdom
08/12/99: Dressing Down...and Out

© 2000, Greg Crosby