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Jewish World Review April 6, 2000 / 1 Nissan, 5760

Chris Matthews

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Consumer Reports



Caine should coach politicians -- MICHAEL CAINE should tutor American politicians on how to win.

Before a world audience, he accepted his Academy Award by paying a personal, sincere tribute to each of the four candidates he had bested.

The British actor saved his grandest tribute for his youngest and clearly most-deserving competitor, Haley Joel Osment, who portrayed a kid both cursed and gifted to see the dead in "The Sixth Sense."

"There he is!" he exclaimed, finding the little boy down in front, dressed like his older competitors in black tie. "Haley, when I saw you I thought, 'Well, that takes me out of it!' "

Oh, if this could be the way politicians accept victory!

Imagine if the office-winners paid election-night tributes such as this? If they directed the spotlight, not to their own superiority, but to those who also had the guts to stick their necks out, who also gave of their absolute best?

Better yet to admit, as Michael Caine did before America and the world, to the special advantage that he had enjoyed in the contest in this case, Hollywood's sentimental regard for the sheer endurance of Caine's four-decade film career.

"Really, I'm basically up here, guys, to represent you as what I hope you will be, a survivor."

Speaking of survivors, one of those who watched Caine was that once and future presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

"I thought it was really quite remarkable!" he said.

Would it have been better if George W. Bush had acted in the same manner after wrapping up the Republican presidential nomination earlier in the month?

McCain refused to bite.

"In these campaigns, there's a lot of bitterness, a lot of anger. The one thing I'm not going to do is look back in anger."

McCain said this on a Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, Bush himself showed signs of having watched Caine's magnificent performance on Oscar night. He was on the phone with McCain, trying his best to warm things up between them or, perhaps, simply show some class.

"I think John and I both understand that the past is the past," the Texas governor said after making his goodwill call, "and it's time to move forward."

It would have been more sincere if he, like Caine, had performed his let's-get-together number three weeks earlier, on March 7, the night of all that applause.

JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


04/03/00: No. 2 spots: Woman-to-woman?
03/29/00: Gray for veep and Gore might coast to victory
03/27/00: The secret life of a CIA wife
03/22/00: 'We're suckers for underdogs'
03/20/00: Bush's California dream vs. reality
03/06/00: Scary Gore vs. hopeful Bush
03/06/00: McCain's appeal to 'Reagan Democrats'
03/01/00: John McCain fits a hero's profile
02/28/00: Grading the American presidents
02/25/00: Clinton remains No. 1 issue
02/23/00: Will Ross Perot aid POW McCain?
02/18/00: McCain faces fury of GOP establishment
02/17/00: Citizen Springer
02/14/00: McCainia and the frisky independents
02/07/00: A prime-time primary for California
02/02/00: Clinton's final campaign: Take the blame
01/31/00: Which GOPer is willing to pay for his positions?
01/27/00: John McCain's gay radar
01/25/00: This time, candidates get 'authenticity' check
01/18/00: AIDS dooms 1 in 4 in tiny Swaziland
01/13/00: Complacency might be the campaign key
01/10/00: A choice, not an echo
01/06/00: The role of a lifetime
01/03/00: Dangers in Gore's dirty war
12/30/99: Churchill's fighting words saved the century
12/28/99: Candidate Gore's separation anxiety
12/17/99: Catch 22: Leading candidates don't lead
12/17/99: New Democratic leader on the horizon
12/15/99: Is Hillary clueless?
12/08/99: Taking Buchananism to the streets
12/03/99: Why are we so obsessed with 'spin'?
12/01/99: Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'
11/29/99: Why AlGore will be our next president
11/23/99: After the fall
11/17/99: Our conveniently forgetful president
11/15/99: Next president: Male, WASP, self-selected
11/10/99: Backroom Bill
11/08/99: Please don't feed the 'pander bears'
11/03/99: Battle of the Bubba clones
11/01/99: Pat Buchanan, kamikaze candidate
10/27/99: The year of the woman... voter
10/25/99: The Curse of the Bubba
10/21/99: GOP gives Clinton his finest hour
10/18/99: Clinton's last hurrah
10/13/99: Rough seas for Capt. Ventura
10/11/99: Gore targets Bradley's strength
10/06/99: Bradley's got the right Rx
10/04/99: Buchanan, Churchill and Hitler
09/30/99: Who'll spin political gold in Golden State Gore or Bradley?
09/27/99: Here's a millennial checklist for candidates
09/22/99: The biography battle
09/20/99: Buchanan's new book is a must-read
09/15/99: Don't rule out Beatty
09/13/99: The man with the sun on his face
09/08/99: W. vs. Jr. on dope and the draft
The FALN: Hillary's Willie Horton
08/26/99: Bill's guilt fuels Hill's race
08/25/99: The seemingly inexhaustible strength of America's free enterprise
08/23/99: GOP candidates are weak also-rans
08/16/99: Bubba on Bubba
08/11/99: Hillary's agonizing attempts to understand
08/09/99: With warm regards, Richard Nixon
08/04/99: Weicker: real third party is on the Left
08/02/99: Dubyah's last hangover
07/27/99: Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; capitalism is gonna win

© 2000, NEA