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Jewish World Review August 4, 2000 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5760

Greg Crosby

Greg Crosby
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Consumer Reports

Aint Nothin’ But
A Hound Dog -- AS THE DAYS of the Clinton regime dwindle down to a precious few, I would like to offer one additional observation.

It has occurred to me that Bill Clinton wants to be king. I don’t mean king of America (he’s already done that) or the king of any other country, either. No, the king Clinton wants to be is THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL. Clinton wants to be Elvis Presley. He really does. It was about eight years ago when I first realized it.

I was watching television and I heard Al Gore say something that was so bizarre (even for Gore) that it stuck with me ever since. Gore was standing on stage with Bill, Hill and Tipper waving at their adoring, reveling supporters (I was watching either the summer Democratic convention or the Inaugural Ball, I’m not sure which) when suddenly Gore was handed the mike and, as he looked out over the crowd, he said, “Let me tell you something...for me, Bill has always been my Elvis,” or words to that effect.

At the time I thought what an odd thing for Gore to say --- I wasn’t even sure what it meant. It was almost like an in-joke of some kind. One might expect an attempted comparison to a past President or other esteemed statesman -- but a rock and roll superstar? Certainly Gore meant it as a compliment and Clinton definitely took it that way, reacting with that “aw shucks” expression of his at the remark. I wondered if Al Gore really thought of Bill Clinton as Elvis Presley, and if so, why?

But as I continued to watch Clinton biting his lip, acting humbly embarrassed with his head down and his eyes looking up over arched eyebrows, it suddenly dawned on me. WOW! Bill Clinton REALLY DOES think he’s Elvis Presley ... or WANTS to be. The closer I watched him, the more I could see it.

I know it sounds crazy, but just listen to the guy talk, watch his facial movements ... it’s uncanny. Clinton is doing Elvis! Like it or not, we’ve had an Elvis Presley impersonator in the White House for two terms! Remember his appearance on the Arsenial Hall show before his first election? How he walked out in those dark sunglasses, took center stage amid the shrieks of the studio audience and wailed on his Sax with the band? He wasn’t just being a good sport -- he was really in his element. The only thing he didn’t do was wiggle his leg.

Then there was his interview on MTV when the giggly teenage girl asked him what style of underpants he wore. How many serious presidential candidates would have even acknowledged a question like that? But Clinton loved it. It gave him another chance to bite his lip and feign embarrassment (“Aw, shucks, Ma’am”). Then he did what any other rock star accommodating a fan’s question would do, he answered it.

Flash back to the nineteen-fifties to a little town called Hope, Arkansas. Can’t you just see this chubby soft pubescent kid sitting in a darkened movie theater scarfing down a second tub of popcorn (with extra butter) while watching Elvis in Jailhouse Rock or King Creole and thinking to himself, “Oh, man. I love this guy!”

Can’t you see him looking in the mirror practicing the lip-biting humility that came so naturally to Presley (but is so studied with Clinton) and rehearsing twangy Elvis catch-phrases like, “Thaink yew ... thaink yew very much.” Can’t you see him in the kitchen making deep-fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches? “Oh, man! This thaing tastes great!” I’m convinced Elvis has always been Clinton’s idol -- his ultimate yardstick for success.

You can understand why a lower-middle class southern white boy might want to identify himself with Elvis, another lower-middle class southern white boy who managed through perseverance, rock and roll and pure sex appeal to become rich and famous and have virtually any woman he wants at any time (“Oh, man! I love this guy!”).

Of course, the established Clinton story is that his hero and role model has always been John F. Kennedy -- HA! -- don’t let him fool you. Kennedy could never really be Clinton’s idol. I mean, Kennedy did okay, but he never had access to the amount of chicks that Ol’ Elvis did. Girls never squealed and fainted for JFK. They never threw their hotel keys or panties at him.

What Clinton wants, is to have an Elvis Presley lifestyle AND a Kennedy presidential legacy. He’d like to record mega-hit rock and roll records and drive around in gold Cadillac convertibles. He’d like to dress in white jumpsuits with red sashes around his waist, dark sunglasses around his head, gold chains around his neck, and teenage girls around his legs.

At the same time, he’d like to be lionized as the great and beloved presidential martyr who did battle against the evil forces of the vast right-wing conspiracy and triumphed. The brilliant but misunderstood and flawed leader of the free world whose good intentions brought about worldwide peace and equal rights to all people (within certain politically correct groups) throughout the universe. William Jefferson Clinton -- the presidential whore with a heart of gold.

I wonder what he’s going to do once his term is over. Will he retire in quiet dignity to write his memoirs? Will pigs sprout wings and fly to Venus? C’mon -- this is Clinton we’re talking about! Oh sure, he’ll probably continue with his favorite political activity, raising money for the DNC, but that won’t be nearly enough to satisfy him. Mark my words -- I’ll bet he winds up playing Las Vegas. Imagine that huge marquee outside of the casino-- with one name in giant letters, “BILL.”

As the music swells, the lights dim, a hush falls over the audience ... then a spotlight hits center stage ... it’s BILL! The crowd goes berserk, the chant begins, “BILL! BILL! BILL!” He takes the microphone with his bejeweled hand, biting his lower lip ever so slightly, he acknowledges his worshipping audience, “Thaink yew, thaink yew very much.” Then with an outstretched arm and his eyes toward the heavens, he goes into his first number, “L-rd Almighty, I feel my temperature rising ... I’m just a-hunk a-hunk o’ burnin’ love...”

After Las Vegas comes the world concert tour, and then maybe he’ll remake some of Elvis’ classic movies. Many of the titles already fit perfectly: Wild in the Country, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Follow That Dream, Tickle Me, Girl Happy, Double Trouble, Easy Come, Easy Go, The Trouble With Girls. Other titles can be adapted with slight changes: Love Me Intern, Jailhouse Little Rock, Flaming Starr, It Happened at the White House, Viva Lewinski.

The fact is, Mr. Clinton is not only a poor imitation of Elvis Presley, he is a poor imitation of an American leader. Perhaps the best thing this president could do upon leaving office is build a presidential library down in Arkansas, open it up to tours for his adoring fans, and call it “Disgraceland.”

After eight years of what will undoubtedly go down as the most corrupt administration in the history of our country, I can’t wait for that day in January when somebody gets on the White House PA system and announces for good and all, “Ladies and gentlemen ... Bill Clinton has left the building!”

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.


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© 2000, Greg Crosby