Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2000 / 12 Kislev, 5761
"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."
"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."
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!"
Wouldn't you love to hear President-elect George W. Bush paraphrase that quote with: "Mr.
Clinton -- hand over those
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